Blog Against Theocracy Part V: How A Christian Republic Punishes And Taxes
In Part III of this series of excerpts from With Liberty & Justice for All: Christian Politics Made Simple, Morecraft was seen interpreting as “figurative” an unambiguously clear Biblical injunction, one that, in fact, many Jews obey literally. Morecraft also laid out his justifications for and vision of a “Christian Republic” for America, a substitute term, as Morecraft explicitly says, for “theocracy.”
However, Morecraft appears not to advocate a strong, theocratic state. In fact, the state, ie, the civil government, has a very small role in Morecraft’s Christian Republic. Its primary function, as shown in the following excerpts, is swift, ruthless punishment of all who disobey God’s law. According to Morecraft’s interpretation of the Bible, the state has no right to collect taxes for anything beyond these minimal functions, has no business running public schools, or Social Security, or much of anything else beyond punishment.
The theocrats’ seeming advocacy of a minimal state is a notion many wealthy far-right conservatives find extremely congenial. And, of course, it is no accident that christianists would choose to interpret the Bible so as to make its message palatable to the Ahmansons and the Hunts who bankroll them. The shared vision of a minimalist state that collects next to no taxes enables christianists and other conservatives to form large coalitions.
These coalitions are quite unstable, but they are also powerful. From the theocrats’ perspective, the fight to eliminate Social Security is far more than a moral imperative. It is a holy obligation which must be met or else God will continue to plague America with floods, pestilence, economic hardship, and suffering.
….in order to administer justice and keep the peace, the state has been given the power of coercion in the suppression of lawlessness. (p.;65)
God has not given the state the power of the sword to convert the world to Christianity. Nor was the sword given for conquest. The purpose of the sword is not to conquer the world for America. That is the Islamic view of Gaddafi, Khomeini, and Hussein, but it is anti-Christian. (p. 66) [NOTE THAT HERE MORECRAFT DIFFERS SUBSTANTIALLY FROM MANY OTHER THEOCRATS BY LIMITING ALL EVANGELICAL INITIATIVES TO THE CHURCH RATHER THAN THE STATE.]
In our culture, it is not the victim that is protected and pitied, it is the criminal. For this reason the Bible instructs the judicial system not to show mercy to the criminal. It does not have the option to pardon him for crimes committed. He must receive the punishment he deserves, if justice is to be done. (p. 68) [NOTE THAT THIS IS FINESSED, AT LEAST RHETORICALLY, BY OTHER THEOCRATS, WHO DECLARE “ABORTION IS MURDER” BUT STOP SHORT OF ADVOCATING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR WOMEN WHO TERMINATE PREGNANCIES.]
The domestic use of the sword includes the legitimacy of capital punishment…Genesis 9, Exodus 13, and Romans 13 may all be used as our scriptural support…
There are three fundamental reasons why capital punishment is essential to public justice: (1) the holy character of God; (2) the holy command of God; (3) the sanctity (holiness) of human life, the family, and God’s moral order. (p.71)
God says that capital crimes pollute the land and the only way of “un-polluting” it is by shedding the blood of the offender who committed the crime. How polluted is America! (p. 73) [NOTE: MORECRAFT IS SAYING THAT A MURDERER MUST BE PUT TO DEATH, NOT OUT OF RETRIBUTION OR DETERRENCE OR EVEN PUNISHMENT (SEE BELOW), A MURDERER MUST BE EXECUTED IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE MORAL “POLLUTION” HE HAS SPREAD OVER THE COUNTRY.]
The concern of capital punishment is not rehabilitation. It is not even, primarily, deterrence. It is pure justice. Therefore, only God can define capital crimes and He has clearly done so in the Bible. (p. 74)
For us today in America, there is a more specific reason why God has placed the sword in the hands of the civil government: the global threat of Marxist-Leninist Communism. (p. 75)[NOTE: MORECRAFT’S BOOK WAS PUBLISHED IN 1995, I.E. *AFTER *THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION.]
Lenin said that Marxism is Humanism. It is what humanism looks like when it grabs total political and military power. Humanism is the belief that man is God, that man has the ability to determine good and evil for himself, with no reference to God and the Bible. Marxism is the political application of humanism…which is the use of terrorism to reach one’s goals. (p. 75 - 76) [NOTE: MORECRAFT FOLLOWS THIS WITH AN EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF THE DANGERS OF “COMMUNISM” IN AMERICA. ASIDE FROM THE USUAL ACCUSATIONS – “the radical liberal and socialist, Mike Dukakis”- MORECRAFT, LIKE ROBERTSON IS PROFOUNDLY WORRIED ABOUT GEORGE H.W. BUSH AND “NEW WORLD ORDER.” (p.80)]
Some knowledgeable people think World War III is over and we lost. Phase I was the Cold War of the 1960s. We lost it. Phase II was the Détente in the 1970s. We lost it. Phase III, in the 1980s was the encirclement, isolation, terrorization, and strangulation of the U.S.A. Phase IV in the 1990s is the progressive surrender of the U.S.A. and its merger with the Soviet system. (p. 80) [NOTE: BEFORE DISMISSING THIS AS FAR REMOVED FROM MAINSTREAM REPUBLICAN DISCOURSE, PLEASE RECALL GEORGE W. BUSH’S REMARKS ABOUT THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM, THE CONTEMPT OF JOHN BOLTON AND OTHERS FOR THE U.N., THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST SOCIAL SECURITY MADE BY PROMINENT REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN, AND MANY MORE STATEMENTS, ALL OF WHICH ARE, AT THE VERY LEAST, CONGRUENT WITH MORECRAFT’S WORLDVIEW. THE POINT IS THAT THE IDEOLOGY OF THE THEOCRATS OFTEN COMPLEMENTS THOSE WHO ARE NOT THEOCRATS, ENABLING THE FORMATION OF POWERFUL COALITIONS. ]
…in the final analysis, we must not put our faith in missiles, or SDI, or conventional military power, or arms treaties. Our ultimate and final security is Almighty God, our ultimate Peace Shield (Psalm 3:3f), if we, as a nation, are being faithful to Him (p. 84)…Without national repentance, all our might will not protect us. (NOTE: THIS WAS ECHOED BY ROBERTSON AND FALWELL AFTER 9/11. D’SOUZA’S RECENT BOOK IS A VARIATION ON THE SAME THEME: AN IMMORAL U.S. BRINGS UPON ITSELF ATTACKS LIKE THOSE ON 9/11. THEY ARE GOD’S PUNISHMENT. AND OUR MISSILES WON'T SAVE US.)
Others object by saying that this view of the power of the sword is contrary to Jesus’ teaching of love. They say, “Should not love and forgiveness dominate life. Did not Jesus say to love our enemies?” But that is not the only thing Jesus said or did. In John 2:13-16, Jesus used violent and potentially deadly foce to clean out the Temple of thieves and frauds…[NOTE HOW MORECRAFT ACKNOWLEDGES, ONLY IN THE MOST INDIRECT MANNER, THAT JESUS PREACHES A DOCTRINE OTHER THAN SWIFT, RUTHLESS, UNCOMPROMISING PUNISHMENT.]
In John 2:15 we read, and He (Jesus) made a scourge of cords… This was not a feather duster. A “scourge of cords” is several leather straps with sharp and heavy pieces of bone and metal in the end of each leather strap. When it struck a person, it would not only rip and tear out flesh, it could very easily kill, blind, maim, or fracture bones.
So, in John 2:14-16 we read,
And He found in the temple [thieves, frauds, and moneychangers.] And he made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money-changers…
Imagine the picture. Tables overturned! People probably jumping out of windows and running out of doors to escape Jesus swining His scourge of cords. This was the use of violent force to maintain God’s order. It was not inconsistent with anything else Jesus ever said, since as the Son of God, everything He did was thoroughly righteous and everything He spoke was thoroughly infallible. (p. 88-89)
The presupposition of income tax, property tax and inheritance tax is that the state owns your income, your property, your family’s future, and everything about you. [NOTE: THE WORD “PRESUPPOSITION” IS A CODE WORD. IT REFERS TO VAN TIL'S DOCTRINE OF PRESUPPOSITIONALISM. MORECRAFT'S POINT IS THAT ANY PRESUPPOSTION THAT CONTRADICTS THE PRESUPPOSITION THAT THE BIBLE IS THE TRUE WORD OF GOD, AND INERRANT, CAN NEVER BE TRUE. HERE, A HUMANIST STATE THAT COLLECTS INCOME TAXES, ETC HAS A FALSE PRESUPPOSITION THAT DENIES THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD]
…no one and no human institution, including the state, has the right to tax anybody beyond what God has commanded. (p.93) [NOTE THE POTENTIAL FOR COALITIONS WITH “SECULAR” LIBERTARIANS, CORPORATE REPUBLICANS, AND OTHERS OPPOSED TO “BIG GOVERNMENT” ON NON-RELIGIOUS GROUNDS. NOTE ALSO THE POTENTIAL FOR IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICT BETWEEN THE THEOCRATS AND OTHER CONSERVATIVES].
Humanistic taxation is idolatrous…It is a denial of the fact that all property and life in America belong to Jehovah. In recognition of this biblical principle, the U.S. Constitution does not allow for the ownership of land by the federal government, except for that which is necessary for military installations and government buildings. (P. 95) [NOTE ONCE AGAIN THAT THIS SEEMINGLY CRACKPOT IDEA IS CONGRUENT WITH THE PRACTICE OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.]
The IRS is a clear indictment against America for her rebellion against God. (p. 95)
[NOTE: MORECRAFT QUOTES THE FOLLOWING FROM TITHING AND DOMINION BY R. J. RUSHDOONY AND EDWARD POWELL]
This destructive principle of ungodly state taxation can be seen in every area of life. Businesses and charitable foundations, etc. are licensed (a pagan form of taxation), which means that they operate at the pleasure of the state, and are, thus, owned by the state.[NOTE: THE OPPOSITION TO THE STATE LICENSING BUSINESSES IS RELATED TO THE CONTEMPT FOR RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE EXPRESSED BY RUSHDOONY AND OTHERS. RUSHDOONY BELIEVES THAT TO SAY A STATE “TOLERATES” A RELIGION IS EQUIVALENT TO SAYING THAT THE STATE LICENSES A PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS PRACTICE WHICH IT CAN PROHIBIT WHENEVER IT WISHES. THEREFORE, RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE, IN THE LIBERAL SENSE, IS A SHAM. FOR THEOCRATS, STATES SIMPLY FOLLOW A GOD, EITHER THE GOD OF HUMANISM OR THE “TRIUNE” GOD. IN REALITY, NO STATE CAN PERMIT ANY OTHER GOD BUT THE ONE IT FOLLOWS. RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IS DISCUSSED BY MORECRAFT LATER IN THE BOOK.]
Social Security Taxes on the Churches and on individuals are also destructive. Social Security taxes on individuals have increased over 650% since the program began, and it has increased unemployment significantly. …It hs caused 97% of everybody over 65 years of age to be utterly dependent upon a humanistic state for their very existence. It also defrauds and robs young adults who will never see any of their money …(It is already bankrupt, however, nobody will admit it.) (p. 100)
God taxes everything in principle.He does not tax everything specifically. [There are] three basic taxes revealed in the Bible.
First is the Tax of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a tax on our time and energy. God says we owe Him one day in seven…
Second is the Tax of the Tithe…He commands us to give him 10% of what we earn in ordert to finance the advance of the kingdom of God….
The third is the Head Tax of Exodus 30:11-16. This is the only tax in the Bible which the state may levy on its citizens. It is a flat-rate tax. (p. 102)
…if the state administers any other tax but the one God has required [the Head Tax], the state is saying that God is not sovereign.
…How can we reform our unjust, humanistic tax system in the United States of America? How can we abolish the IRS? (p.103)
FIRST, replace every political leader who votes like he believes that the state has original ownership and sovereignity over our lives…(p. 105) [NOTE: WHILE THIS SOUNDS SIMILAR TO CERTAIN STATEMENTS OF PEOPLE LIKE GROVER NORQUIST, THE REASONING IS VERY DIFFERENT. WHERE NYQUIST CHERRYPICKS AND DISTORTS ECONOMICS BEYOND RECOGNITION TO RATIONALIZE HIS POSITION, MORECRAFT CHERRYPICKS AND DISTORTS THE BIBLE]
While Morecraft clearly states that a Christian Republic (a theocracy) has only a small role for the state, he surely knows that in practice the Church will preside over nearly all the functions – education, infrastructure, social security - that a modern democratic government provides but with one crucial difference. The checks and balances of democratic accountability will be entirely eliminated.
This becomes clear if you read carefully what he says. Morecraft interprets the Bible as saying that God endows the church with nearly unlimited power to administer and evangelize God’s law, Indeed, Morecraft has made it clear that the Church's power extends not only over Christians, but over all non-Christian members of the state as well.
In short, Morecraft’s “minimal state” theocracy has only a superficial appeal to small-government conservatives, Stripped of his self-serving interpretations and distortions of the Bible’s words, Morecraft is calling for the establishment of a totalitarian American state disguised as an American Christian Church with unlimited power. Morecraft’s Church/State will be administered by a group of men with an unrestricted license to coerce, torture, and murder any and all who oppose them.
Provided, of course, that the Bible says they can.
And since those in charge of the Church/State are the only ones whose reading of the Bible can serve as the basis for punishment, it is more than likely they will determine that the Bible tells them they can do whatever they want.
For example, since they are good men –God wouldn’t permit them to lead the Church if they weren’t – who are piously carrying out God’s orders, it is an outrageous assault on Christian faith to question their motives, or otherwise oppose them. And that is precisely how theocrats behave when you do so, as if you have unfairly attacked their faith.
Bottom line: When you read him in depth, it is very clear that what Morecraft is talking about has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. And theocrats who avoid the term “theocracy” but talk in vague generalities about how Christians are oppressed in the US and how they must “re-establish” a Christian American Republic are not devout Christians but fascist thugs who debase Christianity and smear the name of Jesus.