Saturday, August 23, 2008

Church and State


Your main point here seems to be that the Liberal Democratic State is not identical with the Church, but I never said it was. It grew out of the Church and we the Church (mistakenly in my opinion) now seek to distance ourselves from it. I argue that if we reasserted our relationship there would be benefits for the Church. Also you are drawing a distinction between the Liberal-Democracy of other places, Canada for example, and the U.S. This isn’t something I argued. I argued that Liberal Democracy (wherever it now exists) grew out of the church. Maybe Canada does health care better than the U.S. but that is irrelevant. They both have health care as an ideal and that ideal came from the church.

Disparity between rich and poor? Careful now. To urge the state to force the elimination of that disparity is not a Liberal-Democratic ideal. It is a Marxist-Leninist ideal. We believe in equity, giving everyone a fair chance in a meritocracy. Socialists believe in leveling, giving everyone the same thing. We have a responsibility (as the church) to urge the caring for the poor. Raising their living standards is consistent with Christian ideals. Making them rich isn’t.

If Liberal Democracy isn’t doing a good enough job in some areas, murder and theft for example, then we the Church should urge it to do better. We can’t urge it to become the Church. It has taken over the material duties of the Church, not the spiritual duties. And if it attempts to usurp these spiritual duties then we should object. Perhaps Secular Humanism is being preached by the State as a replacement for the spiritual aspect of Christianity. We should object to that usurpation as well.

And yes, Liberal Democracy grew out of Protestantism which grew out of Catholicism. When every man became his own priest and was invited to interpret the gospel for himself then the freedom-genie was let loose from its bottle – and we in the West have not allowed it to be returned. To argue from this that Liberal Democracy wasn’t necessary isn’t a good argument. Since Liberal Democracy did arise and since it grants more freedom to the Church than any of its competitors (i.e., Communism & Fascism) it may have been caused by God. It may have been necessary. God refers to fullness of time. In the fullness of time he sent Jesus to do certain tasks. That fullness can be argued to include such matters as the Roman peace, Koine Greek, Greek philosophy. Now we have more freedom for the church in Liberal Democracy than at any earlier period. This would be a great and full time to use this freedom for evangelism.

If the church isn’t using this freedom, I hardly think that can be blamed upon its child, Liberal Democracy. Yes, it has been argued by Gauchet, that other forms of government did exist and could have existed, but Liberal Democracy could only have grown out of the Church, specifically the Protestant Church. Gauchet being French which had been Catholic doesn’t make a big thing of that.

I have heard the argument that we should never benefit from a state, even if it has grown out of the church, because we should expect to always be a beleaguered minority. That view comes from a defeatist eschatology. I have known people who were uncomfortable at work because they were doing so well. They then pushed their Christianity in an obnoxious way and received the persecution they were seeking.

I believe it is in the best interest of the Church to support Liberal Democracy. And in this war against Islamism it is in the best interest of the Church to support the Liberal-Democracies fighting Islamism. Islamism has declared war against us and if we were to become pacifists and not fight against them, then what is to stop them from taking over the world? Only fighting against them will stop them. We have stood ready to fight for Europe for so long that most of them have forgotten how to fight. Well that’s okay. We fighters know how to do our duty. It is a shame however that in addition to not helping us fight, they hamper us in our attempts to defend them against Islamism.

Lawrence Helm

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