Blog Against Theocracy Part III: God's Law, Never Man's
Excerpts from Joseph Morecraft’s book, With Liberty & Justice for All: Christian Politics Made Simple. In these passages, Morecraft explicitly argues for theocracy. He claims that all governments are inherently religious. The only question is whether the state religion will be "humanism" or Christianity. Civil authority must practice God's law which are laid out in the Bible, and the state has no right to add to or deviate from it. He claims that the primary function of a civil government is extremely limited. Its primary purpose is to punish and "terrorize" those who fail to follow the laws of God. He blames the miseries of a state - both manmade and natural- on the absence of theocracy.
All forms of human governments draw their authority, power, and jurisdiction from God, not from the will of the people nor the consent of the governed, because governments do not originate with the people, but with God. The voice of the people is NOT the voice of God. (p. 15ff) [NOTE: THIS DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. THE ARGUMENT IS SIMILAR TO THE REASONING OF SCALIA. NOTE ALSO THE LESS PROVOCATIVE ECHO ES OF THIS IDEA IN THE FREQUENT CHRISTIANIST ATTACKS ON “HUMANISM,” “SECULAR HUMANISM,” “TOLERANCE” AND “MATERIALISM.”]…
The U.S. Constitution reflects this basic premise in its establishment of a republic under God rather than a democracy. The two are not synonymous. A democracy is a nation governed by the majority; and a republic is a nation governed by law….(p. 16)
People living in a Christian Republic experience true freedom while those under the “mob rule” of democracies become slaves because democracies soon degenerate into socialist states and dictatorships…(p.17-18)
The citizen, Christian and non-Christian, must be in subjection to the civil government and must respect it, remembering that he is submitting to it for the sake of Christ and that his loyalty to Christ supercedes his loyalty to the state…(p.19 ff)
He who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God…Since political powers are established by God, we must gladly submit to their authority…Notice what happens if we do not submit to the political ordinance of God: They who resist authority…will receive condemnation upon themselves…(p. 21)
The individual’s duty is clear: he must submit to the powers that be. The state’s duty is equally clear: it must submit to Almighty God. (p. 23)
We may never break the law of God in order to obey the law of the state (p. 27)
…we have a clear statement in the New Testament [Romans 13:3-4] of the God-appointed function of the civil government: to terrorize evildoers. (p. 30)
…let us consider what functions God did not assign to civil government. Notice there is no mention in [Romans 13:3-4] about the responsibility for health, education, or welfare…
The same is true of education [except for, according to the Old Testament] the specific demands, prohibitions and sanctions of civil law (II Chronicles 17:9)….
And the same is true of welfare. (p. 30 -31)
The Constitution of the United States reflects this biblical political order. (p. 31)
God has not given the state the responsibility to plan, regulate, and control people, property, contracts, schools, Churches , businesses and industry. The very idea that the state has this power …implies that if there is no such planning by the state, there is no plan and no order at all in society. The state must become the predestining state, because there is no predestination, no order outside the state. This view of politics is an atheistic one.(p. 32)
Imagine how small the budget of the civil government would be if it carried out this one and only biblical function! Imagine how small our tax bill would be! Imagine how safe we would be! (p. 33)
If a state does not terrorize evil-doers by the enforcement of God’s law, the state and society will be terrorized by evil-doers, as we have today. (p. 34) (NOTE THE ECHO IN FALWELL’S AND ROBERTSON’S REMARKS IMMEDIATELY POST 9/11. NOTE ALSO THE PARALLEL TO DINESH D'SOUZA. HOWEVER, D'SOUZA ARGUES IN A SUBSTANTIALLY MORE SECULAR MANNER. )
Vengeance belongs to God, but to a godly state God has given the authority to administer His vengeance. [p. 37]
…the state is the “servant” and “minister” of God, representing Him and His moral order.
The obvious implication of this is that a civil government cannot be religiously neutral…
A state is an idolatrous state under divine judgment if it favors any other god than the triune God of the Bible, and any other religion than biblical Christianity.
We cannot escape our religion. Everyone has one. The question is, which religion does one hold – Christianity or Humanism, i.e. anti-Christianity? (pp. 38- 39)
The purpose of the First Amendment to the Constitution is not to secularize or de-Christianize the government of the United States…That was never the intent of the authors of that Amendment. This secular view is superimposed on the Constitution by those whose agenda is the de-Christianization of America’s civil and sociala institutions. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (1811-1845) refuted this secular approach to the First Amendment when he wrote:
…The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sectsx, and to prevent any ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. (pp 40-41.)
Humanism leads to the death of mankind…In a humanistic nation, millions of people die of disease, drought, abortions, euthanasia, infanticide, unjust wars, terrorism, murder and suicide in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. (p. 41)
Work toward that great objective: the Christianization of every facet of American society and culture and the evangelization of every American citizen and family.
When that day comes, you and I will be able to spend all our days working hard in our callings, worshipping God with our families in our churches, earning what we deserve, keeping what we make, spending like we want, being able to tithe, doing on our property what we desire and what is pleasing to God, and educating our children in the way we think they should be educated. We would have a strong, secure, prosperous, free, just, and godly nation blessed by Almighty God. (p. 43)
[The state’s authority] is ministerial not legislative. God has not given it the right to create laws, legislation, and policies by fiat ex nihilio. It may not invent regulations based on the latest opinion poll or the most recent expert advice. The sate may administer and apply to our modern situation the laws it finds written in the Bible governing the civil sphere…
To say that we need additional, extra-biblical, or contra-biblical laws, to satisfy the needs of our modern age is to deny the Bible’s all-sufficient, eternal authority for all of life in all ages (Deuteronomy 4:1f; 8:12-32; 29:29). ..the Bible is not the word of man, nor the word of the state, it is the eternal Word of God written. (p. 48-49)
…it is the responsibility of the state to legislate biblical morality. We must not flinch at this point. For a nation to remain free and just, its civil government must enforce biblical law….[NOTE: SINCE “LEGISLATING MORALITY “ IS A COMMON ACCUSATION THROWN AT LIBERALS ,MORECRAFT IMMEDIATELY QUALIFIES THIS] If legislating morality refers to the effort to make people good by passing laws, then, of course, as Christians, we must take issue with that view….Only [Christ] can make people good.
Humanists, on the other hand, do believe that the state can make people good by passing laws. (p. 51).
…if God’s law does not remain at the foundation of a nation’s life, that nation will not last long…
If the federal government were to annul all of the laws legislated in the past one hundred years and pass into law the few hundred moral laws of the Bible, this country would have more freedom, strength, security, prosperity, justice, righteousness, love and happiness than it has ever had in its history. Of course, this won’t happen until the hearts of Americans are converted to Jesus Christ.
A Christian Republic has far fewer laws, far fewer government employees, and is far less expensive than any humanistic democracy, i.e., socialistic state (II Chronicles 12:8). (p. 53)
Tyranny is a political order wherein the final source of law, the final standard of right and wrong, is man or the political order itself. (p. 57)
Theocracy is a very proper description of a godly political order, when that word is defined correctly…A theocracy, in the biblical sense of the word, is a nation where God’s revealed law is supreme over all human laws, and is the source of all laws.
A label describing such an order that could be substituted for theocracy is Christian Republic. (p. 57)
Has the federal government of the United States become the enemy of its godly citizens? It has become a “terrorist state” against its citizens by threatening our liberty, prosperity, security, and our very lives; because it has clearly turned its back on its accountability to the supremacy of Almighty God. (p. 60)
In Deuteronomy God tells his people, in figurative terms, to put His law on their foreheads, hands, doorposts, mouths, and hearts (Deuteronomy 6:8f) (P. 61)
Some brief comments. Anyone who knows the first thing about American history and the founding documents knows that Morecraft's arguments against the consent of the governed are a contradiction of core American civic values. This highlights Rushdooony's point in the first sentence of his introduction, that since the founding of the United States, the theology of politics has been neglected. There are many ways to look at this. American democrats - you and I - see this as a good thing but both Rushdoony and Morecraft don't. It's not that they are arguing for a return of George III, let alone the Holy Roman Empire. Rather, the point here is that these founding documents, and their intent, have been systematically misunderstood from 1776 onwards, and as a result the US has mutated from the Christian Republic the Founders intended into a cauldron of humanistic perversion.
Obviously, Morecraft's argument is, to be kind, bizarre and wrong. The point of reproducing it here is not so much to encourage arguing with it - it doesn't rise to the level of serious debate - but rather to give you an opportunity to examine how Morecraft structures his argument to justify theocracy. You will find, albeit much watered-down, the exact same argument advanced by nearly everyone on the religious right arguing for a larger role for religion in government.
What Morecraft's blunt advocacy of theocracy makes clear is that the call for a Christian Republic is in no sense a religious argument, but solely a political one. It is about claiming the right to utterly dominate the United States. No matter how mild the rhetoric might be -"the federal office of faith-based initiatives can really do a world of good" - this is the intent.
The last excerpt, on page 61 is, I think, very telling. It clearly is Morecraft’s interpretation that the wearing of God's law is “figurative.” The purpose of his interpretation is to exempt “Christians” from obeying what many jews believe is a very literal commandment. This is a clear-cut example of an interpretation which contradicts the “literal” meaning of the words in the Bible. A closer examination of Morecraft's claims - that the Bible clearly mandates a theocratic state - will uncover an elaborate web of idiosyncratic readings - interpretation - of biblical passages, all calculated to make the Bible read like a political manifesto.