Why Ron Paul appeals to Christian Reconstructionists

I think I may have this figured out.

I have been thinking about why New Apostolic Reformation dominionists like Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann but Christian reconstruction dominionists like Ron Paul. We know why they don’t like Mitt Romney (hint – in Christian dominionism of any sort, Mormons can’t implement biblical law).

But back to NAR vs. Christian reconstructionists; the focus of control is different. The NAR folks want to rule America as a Christian nation from the seat of centralized power in Washington DC. The Christian reconstructionists want to deconstruct central government in favor of state or local control of law. Bachmann and Perry promise to govern biblically and impose their view of Christian America on the nation. Paul promises to dismantle the federal government in favor of the states.

In fact, the Christian reconstructionists are afraid of the NAR dominionists. Recontructionist Joel McDurmon wants biblical law in place but he thinks the NAR approach is a dangerous power grab:

Can you imagine John Hagee as Secretary of State?

This is exactly the threat—top-down threat, totalitarian threat, eschatological holocaust threat—that 7MD presents to us.

American Vision is not that; they are not us; we are not them.

Perhaps more should be written on these guys and the threats they pose to society. They may have a few better political ideas, but they are just as dangerous in degree as the most radical of the left.

McDurmon distinguishes his view of government from the NAR (7Mountains) approach:

The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.

We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.

So at least some of the ends are the same, but the Christian reconstructionists want to rollback the central government and allow states and local governments to make and enforce law with the Bible as a guide. Those who didn’t agree could go somewhere else. The reconstructionist desire to locate power away from the central government is what, I believe, brings in endorsements from reconstructionist pastors, like Phillip Kayser.

A very explicit reconstructionist case for Ron Paul was made recently on the Theonomy resources website by Bojidar Marinov. As a reconstructionist, his support for Paul was based not on his personal views but on his overall philosophy of governance. Marinov wrote:

It is not Ron Paul that we are looking at when we vote for him; we are looking at God’s purpose for our generation; at what enemies He wants us to rout in our generation; and at what must be done in our generation to advance the Kingdom of God.

The great Battle of Our Time is the battle against the socialist welfare-warfare state. While the issues of abortion and sodomy – the two issues that Stephen criticizes Ron Paul for – are important, they are to a very great extent subservient to the issue of the socialist state. Sodomites and abortionists are protected by the centralized government in Washington, DC. The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.
Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level. We must join him not because of him but because we recognize the great battle, and recognize where our place is. Once we win that battle, we can move to the next one. But refusing support to an ally for the most important issue we are facing today only because we find deal-breakers in smaller issues is not wise.

The job of theonomists (those who believe the Bible should be the civil law) is to dismantle the Federal government. When issues of morality (sodomites and abortionists) are taken from the central government and put into to the localities can the real Christian reconstruction begin (see this post if you want to know what that means).

Does Paul fit the reconstructionist vision? Given the current political alternatives, I can see why reconstructionists would think so. Consider Paul’s criticism of the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned laws against sodomy.

Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.

Viewed from the lens of state’s rights, Paul’s praise of the voter recall of Iowa Supreme Court judges over gay marriage and his support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, incomprehensible to the NAR dominionist who wants ideological purity, make sense and is actually a plus for the Christian reconstructionist. In Paul’s vision, the people in the states do what they want with various sinners, the Feds will just protect their right to do so. Your civil rights in this kind of world would depend on the state in which you live. If you live in California, then the sky is the limit; if you live in Mississippi then, as recontrustionist McDurmon advises, you better either move, or, as Paul supporter Phillip Kayser hopes, get back in whatever closet you came out of.

Update: Talking Points Memo spoke to Phillip Kayser today and he confirmed my thoughts above. Paul is appealing because reconstruction would be easier in a decentralized America. Now, what will Paul do with that information?

Related:

What Does Ron Paul Really Believe About Gays?

What do Dan Savage and AFTAH’s Mike Heath have in common?

Ron Paul touts endorsement of pastor who defends death penalty for gays, delinquent children & adultery

  • http://slowlyboiledfrog.com David Hart

    Paul has managed to alienate a large swath of our citizenry including, of all people, Matt Barber of the extreme right fringe” who claims that Paul is dangerous: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1504330

    Yet, as Warren points out, there are reconstructionists who are attracted to Paul. It’s ALL a matter of selective observation – for any of his constituencies.

    Indeed, Paul has a cadre of young fans who find a way to dismiss all of the nuttiness because he supports legal weed and isolationism. As a Jew, I see code in Paul’s writings and speeches that Christians may overlook. He really is Father Charles Caughlin. He is just more subtle – a “transmitter.”

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David Hart

    I think it would be most interesting and useful if you were to expand a little on your comment “I see code … that Christians may overlook.” (I believe you, by the way.)

    I’m assuming that Coughlin was anti-semitic and fascistic. He founded a ‘national socialist’ type party, didn’t he? (I’m not American, but have heard the name.)

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  • Patrocles

    As you all might remember, the first American townships and states were founded by Christian dissenters who left the British monarchy in order to live along their own rules. Which is why the historical constitution and Ron Paul are protecting states’ rights and bottom-up democracy..

    Warren, you obviously don’t want Christian to dominate townships, even if they are formally entitled by being the majority. But would you perhaps allow Christians to retreat and build new settlements of their own – like Hutterite oder Amish (or, in the case of Jews, Haredim) settlements? Or are you against all kinds of self-government for religious communities, presuming that government must be realized top-down by enlightened “scientific” authorities?

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    One obvious question for “states’ rights” Christian reconstructionists: Suppose they come to power and manage to reinstate anti-sodomy laws in (say) Mississippi. And suppose, further, that I’m a gay Mississippian who wants to be out of the closet, but I’m too poor to “emigrate” to a more liberal state like California. So, when agents of Mississippi’s state government come to arrest me for sodomy, I appeal to the federal government to protect my rights.

    Presumably, the reconstructionists would argue that my status as a “citizen of Mississippi” trumps my status as a U.S. citizen, and that the federal government should have no power to intervene in Mississippi’s legal harassment of me, except perhaps to escort me out of the state.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    @Richard Willmer: The wikipedia article on Father Charles Coughlin has two quotes that seem especially pertinent:

    We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited.

    I have dedicated my life to fight against the heinous rottenness of modern capitalism because it robs the laborer of this world’s goods. But blow for blow I shall strike against Communism, because it robs us of the next world’s happiness.

    So, although Coughlin described himself as both anti-socialist and anti-Communist, he was in fact somewhere between “shocking pink” and “flaming Red” — presumably he would have supported Soviet Communism had it not been so oppressively atheistic, because on matters of economics, he totally supported centralized planning, nationalization of industries, etc.

    Of course, he certainly wasn’t the only American public figure who was offended by Soviet attacks on religion (something bad in itself, obviously) without fully grasping how badly Soviet Communism sucked in practical terms as an economic system.

    Also, he blamed International Jewish Bankers for the Great Depression, and enthusiastically promulgated The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in America…

  • StraightGrandmother

    Throbert, you are so funny,”So, although Coughlin described himself as both anti-socialist and anti-Communist, he was in fact somewhere between “shocking pink” and “flaming Red” ”

    Shocking pink and flaming red, LOL!

    You really can turn a phrase.

  • stephen

    Ugh.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Patrocles = “As you all might remember, the first American townships and states were founded by Christian dissenters who left the British monarchy in order to live along their own rules.”

    StraightGrandmother = True, true. But then once over here didn’t they get together and voluntarily band together and formed a Republican democracy? All the colonies agreed to a “United” States and agreed to a set of laws that would be for ALL people regardless of which colony they were a citizen of?

    Patrocles = “allow Christians to retreat and build new settlements of their own – like Hutterite oder Amish (or, in the case of Jews, Haredim) settlements? Or are you against all kinds of self-government for religious communities, presuming that government must be realized top-down by enlightened “scientific” authorities?”

    StraightGrandmother = I would say no, religious communities cannot buy a piece of land and make their own religious laws and ignore civil law. Or claim that civil law does not apply to them on the religious commune property. Remember Warren Jeffs (not mainstream Mormon) and all those young girls? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWG-vxyajsk

  • stephen

    We’re emigrating.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Please note the difference between STATE rights and those of local communities.

    The US constitution only refers to a loose Federal set of principles that all states must abide by, then it’s up to the STATE, not cities, counties or what-have-you to set up laws within that state, and only within that state. They may, if they wish, choose to reticulate their powers to lower levels of government, but may reverse that if they so choose.

    It took the 14th amendment to make slavery illegal de jure, remember.

    Various SCOTUS decisions have greatly expanded the Federal Government’s power well beyond anything envisaged by the founding fathers. The latter were wise enough to realise that the world of 1880 would be very different from that of 1780, and different again in 1980. They put in a method whereby the system could adapt to change, trusting that it wouldn’t go too badly awry.

    A decision in the 1930′s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn I think destroyed this system, giving the Federal Government effectively limitless power by bending the rules till they snapped.

    I think it was a terrible decision, on a par with Dred Scott. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott

    Ron Paul wants to reverse this. However, the world of 2012 is different from that of 1932, and I think the idea of a loose confederation of independent nations – states – as was the founding fathers intent, wouldn’t work today. See the EU for example.

    With the current makeup of the SCOTUS, and possible future makeup, a confederacy of nations, some theocratic, some loony left, is the most likely outcome. The 14th amendment prohibits slavery, but chattel bondage may be permitted, (under biblical strictures, of course). Due Process might be a 1-hour hearing before an ecclesiastical court, such travesties already happen today in many areas. The prohibition on “Cruel and unusual punishment” already allows spraying restrained prisoners with pepper spray, if the state so permits, even if it kills them. Solitary confinement for more than 3 months is not permitted as a punishment for bad behaviour, but is allowed for “administrative reasons” for years, if the prisoner is Intersex or Trans, with no conviction required. Some are still waiting years later for trial for an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 2 days in jail. It’s pretty bad in some places. This has all been deemed allowable by various court decisions, so I have no faith that things wouldn’t get out of hand.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Please forgive my hubris here, I’m not even a citizen of the US. But Australia’s constitution borrowed heavily from yours, avoiding some of the mistakes (and sometimes making new ones).

    It’s important to every person on the planet to know what’s in the US constitution. It may be our only defence against you, if you put Nehemiah Scudder in power.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehemiah_Scudder

  • StraightGrandmother

    Zoe = “Ron Paul wants to reverse this. However, the world of 2012 is different from that of 1932, and I think the idea of a loose confederation of independent nations – states – as was the founding fathers intent, wouldn’t work today. See the EU for example.”

    StraightGrandmother = One huge difference is language. European nation states have different languages, whereas the United States has one language, English. So there is a reason Europe is not nearly as “united” as the United States. It is true that our common language does more closely bind us together as “One” nation.

    I concur with Zoe Ron, Paul’s idea of unfrettered States rights scares the heck out of me, especially on social policies and laws that the majority would impose on the minority.

  • Richard Willmer

    I seem vaguely to recall that something akin to ‘unfettered states’ rights’ was tried by some states in the early 1860s. That was hardly a ‘joyous, peaceful and prosperous time’ for much of eastern North America, was it?!

    SGM is quite right: ‘unfettered states’ rights’ would not work in the USA, just as it will not work in the European Union. It is true that the signatories to the EU Treaty have considerable ‘sovereignty’ (though certain key elements of anti-discrimination legislation are a treaty requirement, as is the non-use of capital punishment except in time of war or serious social unrest [though some of us have grave worries about how these scenarios are defined]), but that sovereignty must have clear limitations if the common good is to be best served. Exactly what those limitations should be is a matter for debate (e.g. how far should EU member states’ fiscal policies be harmonized?), but limitations there must be, and their existence is no bad thing.

    Limitations to nations states’ sovereignty stretches far beyond such ‘treaty pacts’ as the EU, of course. Such us the interconnected nature of the world as it is. When, for example, Ugandan politicos complain about others ‘interfering in their internal affairs’, they fail to recognize that supposedly ‘internal’ policies have effects far beyond their borders … which is why things like the Bahati Bill – which could be debated in just a few weeks’ time, according to a couple of sources – is the world’s business (and Bahati himself sees it that way too, of course: he isn’t interested just in Uganda; he wants to influence what happens beyond Uganda’s borders: http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2010/08/10728/).

    Is Ron Paul a serious contender, by the way? From the little I know about him, he strikes me a thoroughly loopy.

  • Richard Willmer

    Mind you, Paul is opposed to what he terms ‘the Federal death penalty’. Mind you, I’m a bit puzzled by the ‘Federal’ bit (surely executing somebody is executing somebody, regardless of who the ‘killing authority’ might be). I also thought he had an interesting take on DADT, where he seemed to say that sexuality should not be issue for service personnel, only ‘disruptive sexual behaviour’, whether ‘hetero’ or ‘homo’. Prime facie, that sounded fair enough to me, thought I may have missed something.

  • ken

    Patrocles# ~ Dec 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    “Warren, you obviously don’t want Christian to dominate townships”

    The discussion was about states not townships

    “even if they are formally entitled by being the majority.”

    While the US is a democracy, it is not a “pure democracy” were majority rule is the law. The constitution was designed to protect the minority from the “tyranny of the majority”

    “But would you perhaps allow Christians to retreat and build new settlements of their own – like Hutterite oder Amish (or, in the case of Jews, Haredim) settlements? Or are you against all kinds of self-government for religious communities, presuming that government must be realized top-down by enlightened “scientific” authorities?”

    What about muslim settlements are you okay with that as well? How do you feel about Warren Jeffs’ settlement? If a group (religious or not) wishes to form their own community no one is stopping them. However, they must still abide by the constitution and laws of this country.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Richard Willmer wrote:

    Is Ron Paul a serious contender, by the way? From the little I know about him, he strikes me a thoroughly loopy.

    Compared to Santorum or Bachman, a model of sanity.

    The problem the Democrats have (yes, the Democrats) is that the quality of the opposition is so low, they have no pressing incentive to raise their game. It’s a race to the bottom now.

    Example – Perry thinks that “laws are for the little people”, that he’s so important, trivialities like Virginia state law shouldn’t prevent him from being in the GOP primaries. State law required that he obtain 10,000 valid signatures. He only put in 6,000. Now he’s suing to be put in anyway.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/in-lawsuit-perry-challenges-his-exclusion-from-virginia-ballot/

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each failed to collect the 10,000 signatures required to be placed on the ballot for the GOP primary scheduled for March 6.

    It was good news for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, the State Board of Elections certified their ballot petitions. Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum did not hand in ballot petitions and as such will not be included on the ballot as well.

    Paul a serious contender? Heck, yes! His only competition is one of them heathen Mormons.

    10,000 signatures is 0.2% of registered voters, not exactly a huge hurdle, and Perry and Gingrich had 3 months to get them. incompetence or arrogance? Pick any two.

    I better state at this point that I think Obama would be out of his depth in a paddling-pool, I’m no fan. Just that the GOP candidates are worse than merely hopeless, they’re dangerous.

  • stephen

    Richard W,

    Ron Paul is only a serious contender for the title of dumbest and most embarrassing American politician; a crowded field, it’s true, but he’s up there with Inhofe and Bachmann. Paul’s defining moment came in Bruno, Sasha Baron Cohen’s movie, in which his credulous ignorance was put on display to great effect. He is a sentimental ‘independent’ who has lived most of his life off the public purse. This has convinced him that the government of the people/by the people must be dismantled to be replaced by… ? He’s a utopian fabulist who has confused his own extremely limited experience with the way the world works. His ‘candidacy’ is only viable among Iowan evangelicals and college kids who find Dungeons and Dragons too intellectually taxing. He’s the Ken Dodd of American politics: some of us find him charming but no one is going to pay for a ticket. Here in New York he’d be laughed off the stage – which is why he never comes. Mind you, the same could be said for all of them apart from Huntsman. That the one candidate with experience and ability is hardly mentioned speaks volumes about our privatized politics.

    The views expressed in Paul’s newsletters came as no surprise to me. What I think is being overlooked is that he made a handsome living off them. Which demonstrates his complete lack of morals. His politics compare with third-tier sic-fi.

    Let him put his money where his mouth is: let him give up his government pension and health insurance. Of course he won’t, and neither will his illiterate son. Let him experience a free-market and then see what he has to say.

    Here in the States, ‘States rights’ is code for racism.

    Patrocles, if by ‘first Americans’ you mean the Plymouth colony they did not flee England. They left from Leyden where they’d lived for some 11 years. They left to stop their children growing up Dutch and to find a place apart to wait for the end of the world which they thought was immanent. I would suggest that the Mayflower Compact was the founding constitutional document of the US. It was made because at least half the passengers didn’t belong to the congregation and demanded protection from their communistic ideas. The Mass Bay Colony tried to institute mosaic law and found it to be an impossibility. Theirs was the toxic example from which the writers of the constitution tried to protect the new nation by looking to Lucretius for his ideas on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: or, as he expressed it, the Pursuit of Pleasure.

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  • Teresa

    Let him put his money where his mouth is: let him give up his government pension and health insurance.

    Stephen, if I’m not mistaken, Ron Paul has publicly stated he will not take his Congressional Pension. I’m not sure about what he uses in the way of getting medical treatment; but, I could make a guess, he doesn’t use the Federal System, he’s entitled to.

    I must add, that I do not support in any way, the current crop of GOP candidates, except perhaps Jon Huntsman, guardedly. But, it bothers me, that most of the Commenters here are taking media short-sightedness to judge these people, and their lives. I may disagree with some of their political approaches; but, I must say, in my opinion, that besides Newt Gingrich (who may in fact, be moving to a position of more emotional health … coming from a screwed up background) this current crop of GOP contenders exemplifies some very wholesome, decent lives.

    Santorum, Bachman, Romney, Huntsman, Perry, Paul … we’re talking here good personal lives lived in seeming accordance with some decent faith beliefs. Decades long married lives with large families mixed with generous charitable deeds to others. Honest lives, lived I’m sure with their share of joy and sorrow, amidst the difficult mix of being a politician … which, I might add, is a good and not evil. To continue to hold to their ideals, amidst arrogant, ignorant contumely is nothing short of miraculous.

    We continue to fall into the human foible of wanting and delighting to see the worst in our neighbor, and we relish every opportunity to skewer them publicly and privately. Perhaps, they are benighted in some of their political ideals; but, we all know that these ideals will be tempered and sculpted to exigent political necessities, if elected.

    If those of us who have same-sex attractions, can only see ‘good’ in candidates who happen to endorse every ‘gay’ affirming item on our gay list, then, speaking for myself only, we’ve been reduced to a bunch of whining, complaining victims … never to be happy, never to be satisfied, incapable of seeing and delighting in the good.

    Remember, this is just me talking, as a gay woman; and, my reflections on the current Posts.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Teresa

    I think what’s at question is policy and political judgement. Someone is not going to be a good leader simply because he/she is ‘nice to the cat’ (or has a happy marriage and lots of well-behaved children, or gives meaningful amounts of money to charity – as many of us ‘non-leaders’ do).

    From a policy perspective, many of the GOP candidates seem to be dangerously ‘ideological’ in their approach insofar as they appear far too ready to conflate religion and power politics (something which is always a precursor to disaster, in my view).

  • StraightGrandmother

    I would suggest everyone here do what I did today. Go to http://www.RonPaul2012.com and use the contact us form and ask Ron Paul to put on his website what would be his policy concerning civil rights for sexual minorities. I said it is an important political question and there is nothing at all on this important issue on his website and to add this item to his issues page. What gives that he has not said anything at all officially? That is issue avoidance and we should call him on it. Please go to his website and use the contact us form to request he publicly state his policy issue on this.

  • Teresa

    @ Richard,

    Thanks for commenting, Richard. I disagree with your viewpoint; although, I hope charitably. I think nothing about politics is a-religious … nothing, at all … or, should I say, a-spiritual.

    Whether atheist, agnostic, secular, Christian, Muslim, Jewish or what have you; every single political issue revolves around one’s viewpoint, and that viewpoint ultimately resides in what we’re about as persons and individuals … the ultimate big questions of life. Simply saying “conflating religion and power politics” is the GOP current contenders’ ideological problem may be shortsighted.

    Do any of us who have given some deep thought about the role of government, about society and what keeps it cohesive, is conflating religion and power politics. Power politics is religious whether we admit it or not. I contend there’s no such thing as a-religious or ir-religious politics, try as we might to think it’s so. This is not an Alice in Wonderland world, where just saying something, makes it so.

    BTW, Richard, having an enduring, happy marriage with well-grounded children, adding not only money but charitable deeds and works to that mix; is not insignificant; but a sign of emotional maturity and health. People that every fecund, civilized society wants to foster, nurture and nourish.

    Yes, I understand it’s best to keep the ‘peculiar’ or specific laws of one religion separate from what a State should sponsor; but, to think there are not core, underlying; almost, DNA, shared common beliefs about what’s good for a society … I’m just not sure that’s ever happened.

    Just my .02 cents.

  • Richard Willmer

    I agree with you, Teresa, that one’s political principles are inseparable from one’s ‘core values’, which often derive from one’s religious and/or philosophical beliefs. What concerns me, and many others on this blog, is the use of religion as a ‘power-political tool’, and it is on this point that I have serious concerns about some of the GOP contenders.

    Some would argue (and I would include myself in this ‘some’) that the evolving democracies in which we both live – and from which we both benefit – are at least partly the result of centuries of refusal by many Christians and others to be ‘hooked up’ to some sharply delineated ‘political ideology/system’. It is thus particularly galling to see people who tout their Christian faith advocating what many of us would regard as a retrograde movement back to a more undemocratic polity.

    The search for the ‘common good’ will never be aided by totalitarian, theocratic politics. We can see numerous examples of where such politics has done great damage to both individuals and societies. And it could be argued also that, in these ‘internet times’, attempts to ‘turn back the clock’ will simply not succeed.

    Of course, engaging in good human relationships and doing good deeds are desirable things in a politician, as they are for any of us.

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  • Patrocles

    My principle, as a libertarian and as a Christian, is that our live, lastly, has to be based on agreements and not on force (including “law enforcement”).

    Force may be acceptable provisionally, if you are preparing for an agreement. But not as the normal state of affairs.

    I think indeed, that the rule (or customs) of states ought to be limited by the rules of settlements and the rules of settlements by the rules of families. (That’s what the Catholic Church called “subsidiarism”: the more central unit shall only act if the smaller unit can’t solve its problems itself.) But you are right insofar as subsidiarism didn’t particularly refer to penal law (which early in history began to be a weapon of the more central unit against the smaller). (I’ve never thought much about penal law, since my anabaptist faith tells me, that Christians mustn’t have to do anything with it; but I see that I must find an answer which wouldn’t only convince anabaptists.)

    I understand that at the moment it’s good for U.S. gays to support a strong federal government – the federal government being rather allowing for gays whereas one or the other single state might be rather harsh. Only, that’s momentary. At another time a federal government might be rather cautious and put on the brakes when one or the other single state would be much more allowing. Also: in order to find an agreement, you can never withdraw to the simple standpoint: “Is it good for the gays?”

  • Patrocles

    Postscript: One argument for your position may be that in a working democracy the central unit will represent a kind of middle position between the different states; and indeed, enforcing a kind of “middle” law would perhaps be the best possible (or least bad) solution in practice.

    But from the angle of systematical thinking I’d warn you: There’s not only the danger of “theocracy” as a ruthless enforcement of (more or less) christian values. I admit that I don’t know if theocracy is a real danger in the U.S. or if it is overestimated resp. stressed to divert from more urgent dangers. In any case, there’s as well the danger of “ethocracy” as a ruthless enforcement of values not based on Christianity but on “philosophical” or “scientific” reasons. And Christians have to protect themselves from ethocracy.

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  • Richard Willmer

    According to the article above, Kayser actually makes highly dubious use of Romans 1 :32. I’m rather wondering if his ‘bible’ lacks Romans 1 : 29 – 31, and much of the rest of the Letter.

    I’ve never before come across Romans being used to ‘justify’ executing anyone … wildly extreme stuff. :-(

  • StraightGrandmother

    Patrocles = “In any case, there’s as well the danger of “ethocracy” as a ruthless enforcement of values not based on Christianity but on “philosophical” or “scientific” reasons. And Christians have to protect themselves from ethocracy.”

    StraightGrandmother = And what would the harm to Christians be in a ethocracy” That the Churces would loos their tax exempt status and have to pay real estate taxes (they get fire and police protection but don’t pay) like every other property owner? That their church business (drug and alcohol rehab centers, social services agencies) will be taxed if they make a profit, like any other business? That they will be forced to perform weddings for sexual minorities (will never happen ‘cuz of the 1st Amendment)? If I read the Constitution right we are to have TODAY a Republican Democracy that is based on HUMAN Rights (regardless if you think those rights derive from God or Secular Humanism).

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