Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Enemies of the Republic, Part 1-The Christian Right

This essay is the first of a three part series outlining the people and philosophies that I consider the enemies of the American Republic and it's Enlightenment roots. This first essay will deal with the Christian Right, and the lies, obfuscations, and outright fantasy they engage in to portray this Republic as founded on evangelical Christianity and the Bible.

The Chrisitan Right has always been with us, from the beginning of the Republic until today. In the American Revolution, many people who considered themselves Christians, along with rationalists, Unitarians, and Deists helped create the first true republic since ancient Greece and Rome. Some Christians, however, were opposed to the Revolution, staunchly defending "the alter and the throne" as it was called then. They normally consisted of members of the established Anglican church, Quakers, conservative Congregationalists and Presbyterians. They made up a large portion of the Tories who steadfastly opposed American independence and the creation of a republic. In my opinion the Christian Right of today are the descendants of this group rather than the revolutionaries, and they have always strove to impose uniformity, awe of government, a strong centralized government, and a union of church and state.

In the election of 1800, coming on the heels of the French Revolution, and the bitter struggles of the 1790's, the Christian Right reasserted themselves in opposing the candidacy of Thomas Jefferson for the Presidency. He was called "atheist", "infidel", "reviler of Christianity", "jacobin", and defender of mob rule. They attempted to frame the choice between voting for God or "Jefferson and NO GOD". Jefferson, knowing the lies, falsehoods, and polemics being thrown against him stated to his friend Benjamin Rush in a letter " I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the mind of man". This famous reference was aimed at the Christian Right of his day.

Jefferson and friend James Madison were both staunch believers in freedom of conscience. In 1779 Jefferson introduced his Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom in the Virginia legislature. It was not until 1786 that by the tireless effort and devotion of Madison that the bill was passed. This bill is one of the greatest statements of the natural right on freedom of conscience for individuals in society. Let's hear it for ourselves directly from the bill:

" Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by arguement to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities".

What an incredible statement of religious liberty! This is our heritage. Madison also the prime mover of the Bill of Rights ( at Jefferson's instigation) in the new US Congress. As the First Amendment states: " Congress shall pass no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.." Also Article Six, Sec three states: " The Senators and Representatives before mentioned and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States, and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation ( emphasis mine), to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification(emphasis mine) to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Now that wording is quite unambiguous, isn't it?

I could go on forever on all of the documents and statements regarding separating religion and government which is out of the scope of this essay, so let's move on the modern era and the lies of the Christian Right. Up until the early 1980's most historians and history books documented and laid out for all to see that one of the founding principles of the United States was religious liberty. With the advent of the election of Ronald Reagan came the rise of a radical and frightening movement: the Chrisitan Right. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Tim La Haye, and other Christian fanatics began attempting to obfuscate and outright lie about American history. The Founders were now pronounced to be devout Christians, who created a Bible based order and that they had intended for evangelical Christianity to be the official religion.

Soon books were being churned out attempting to show Deists like George Washington and James Madison to be born again believers. Washington is important to these fanatics because he was a king like figure, which many of them believe is necassary for order, just like their forefathers, the Tories. Madison, a man who was very private about his beliefs, is falsely quoted as having stated that American law is based " upon the Ten Commandments of God". No such quote exists. It was made up by Christian Right propagandist David Barton, who when confronted by Madison scholars withdrew the phony quote. They even attempt to enlist Jefferson, leaving out all of his may anti-clerical quotes and instead producing ones expressing admiration for Jesus, which he genuinely had.

As the 80's drew to a close the Chrisitan Right had become even more fanatical and their true colors begin to show. RJ Rushdoony, and his son in law, Gary North, a phony libertarian, began to spout the philospohies of Christian Reconstructionism. This is a philosophy of theocracy. The major promoters of this evil doctrine are North, evangelist Gary De Mar, Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Minsitries in Florida, John Hagee of San Antonio, Texas, and many many others. These major players want to turn the clock back before the American Revolution and the Enlightenment and into the Dark Ages when tyranny and superstition ruled the world. They are outright enemies of freedom of conscience. Next, we go to what a Christian Republic will be like as explained by North and Rushdoony.

The new Christian order will be based on biblical law as found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Let's take a look at some of the laws that would be passed and enforced, and punished by death:

apostacy ( abandonment of faith)
professing a "false" religion
disobedience by the eldest son
witchcraft and wizardry

These are just a few of the tyrannical and hideous laws they would impose on individuals within the state. These laws are of course, are laws imposed in Islamic nations, called Sharia law. The Christian Right is the Wahabbi of America. North and Rushdoony make no apologies for their views, nor do they see anything wrong with them. North believes stoning is the most biblically correct form of capital punishment because " the whole community can take part" and stones are "plentiful and cheap". Burning at the stake would also be used. Lovely.
What about liberal Christians, Unitarians, atheists, and Roman Catholics? How would they fare? Not well, since most Christian Rightists do not consider them "true" Chrisitans. Catholics are "idolaters" and the Pope is the "beast" of the book of Revelation. Unitaraians, Deists and atheists are not Christians so no mercy would come to them. They would not possess any civil liberty. They would be barred from voting, being a witness in court, holding public office, or possessing public houses of worship.

Is this the type of America the Founders envisioned? Absolutely not! Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Monroe, Thomas Paine, John Adams were all either Unitarians or Deists. I am not making it up, just check out their writings and you can see for yourself. These men were Enlightenment rationalists. They spoke of "Nature's God", "Providence", " Divine Force", " Ruler of the Universe"
" Author of Events" etc. These are not the words of born again evangelical Christians, but are instead the words of Deism.

With the election of George W. Bush, whom many evangelicals consider appointed by God, the Christian Right has a new found promoter in the White House. Since Bush's election several victories have been acheived. The first and most dangerous is the creation of a "faith based" office within the federal government, created by fiat executive order. Taxpayer money from people of all faiths, and no faith are forcibly extracted and redistributed to this "charity".

Next is the Iraq War. This has become a holy war for the Christian Reconstructionists. Denunciations of Islam, Allah, and middle eastern Arabs are frequently heard from these fanatics. Many believe the war is a fulfillment of the Book of Revelation. The fanaticism of Judge Roy Moore, a complete religious fanatic and Reconstructionist, to place the Ten Commandments in the civil courts of Alabama should terrify anyone who believes in freedom. If judge Moore had his way, you would be judged by the laws of the Old Testament, not the US or state Constitutions. Imagine being sentenced to burning at the stake, stoning, or lashing. These barbaric punishments are worthy of Middle Ages, not 21st century America.

American laws are based on English common law, which was created by the Anglo Saxons prior to the introduction of Christianity. It is further based upon the Magna Carta of 1215, the Declaration of Independence, the various state constitutions and bills of rights, the US Constitution, and federal Bill of Rights.
Nowhere does the US Constitution invoke Jesus Christ, the Trinity or evangelical Christianity. Some Christian Right activists claim the words "Year of our Lord 1787"in the Constitution imply an endorsement of Christianity. If that is so, does the use of March mean we are invoking Mars, the Roman god? Or Saturday, invoking the god Saturn? Thursday, the god Thor? AD, or the "Year of our Lord"was how the deliniation of the year was worded in the era of the Founders, it does not mean an endorsement of theocracy.

All in all, the Founders were a mixed bag of Christians, Deists, Unitarians, and even a few Roman Catholics, but a theocratic state was not their intention or goal. I have heard many a Chrisitian Right leader state "freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion." What? That is an absurd statement on it's face. If you are not free to decline to worship a god, then your conscience is not free. If your conscience is not free that means the civil state must use force and coercion to compel you to believe, which is a virtually impossible task. It begs the question, why does an almighty God need coercion to compel worship and obedience? If he does, he is most certainly not almighty.

Let us now examine the Christian Right's devotion to blind obedience to government contrasted with the Declaration of Independence's injunction to overthrow tyrannical government. Totalitarian Christianity from the early Roman Catholic Church,to Protestants like Luther and Calvin, and the witch hunters of Puritan Massachusetts up to this day find obedience to government to be ordained by God. " Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" as the Bible states. Doesn't sound like the Founding Fathers obeyed that injunction. Let's turn to Romans 13. Here is a definition of passive obedience to government that none can surpass:

" Let everyone obey the authorities that are over him, for there is no authority except from God, and all authority that exists is established by God. As a consequence the man who opposes authority rebels against the ordinance of God; those who resist thus shall draw condemnation upon themselves. Rulers cause no fear when a man does what is right, but only when his conduct is evil. Do you wish to be free from fear of authority? Do what is right and you will gain it's approval for the ruler is God's servant to work for yourgood. Only if you do wrong ought you to be afraid. It is not without purpose that the ruler carries the sword; he is God's servant, to inflict his avenging wrath upon the wrongdoer. You must obey ; then not only to escape punishment but also for conscience sake. You pay taxes for the same reason, magistrates being God's ministers who devote themselves to his service with unremitting care. Pay each one his due: taxes to whom taxes are due; toll to whom toll is due and respect and honor everyone who deserves them".

That, my dear reader,is a doctrine of slavery to government. Government is appointed by God. Leaders are his "servants". "Authority is established by God", and if you rebel you are rebelling against the "Ordinance of God". This is the sordid Divine Right of Kings claimed by European kings for a millenium that as Jefferson stated "have drenched the Earth in blood". This was a right claimed by King George III. Does this biblical passage mean Josef Stalin was "ordained by God"? Hitler? Napoleon? Now let's see what the Deistic and rationalist Declaration of Independence has to say about rebellion.

" We hold these Truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed (emphasis mine), that whenever any From of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying it Foundation on such Principles and organizing it's Powers in such Form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes, and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable that to right themsleves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty to throw off such Government, and provide new guards for their future security. "

This is definately a repudiation of St Paul's injunction to "obey" rulers. The passage above is the embodiment of the natural right doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, and their absolute right to erect government according to their wishes and to secure their liberty. This is anathama to the Christian Right. "God is the sovereign", democracy is "mob rule", "Godly government " is necessary, etc; these are the war cries of people who want a strong, powerful government, not freedom.

If we allow the Christian Right to impose an outright or a stealth like theocracy we will see the annhilation of all civil and religious liberty,Bible based law, an end to state's rights, and finally a corrupt, venal, and fearful population. As Jefferson so eloquently stated:

" In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty, always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuse for the protection of his own."

Let's us oppose this attempt at theocracy with all our might. Let us embrace and proudly defend the true principles of the American Revolution! Let us defend the natural right of freedom of conscience! We must totally reject the tyrannical ideas of the Christian Right and expose them for the despots they are! In the end we must take sides in the great battle of liberty vs power and freethought vs superstition. Let us begin before it is too late and we are bowing our necks before men like Judge Moore.

Do not mistake me to be bashing Christianity, religion, or anyone's faith or lack thereof. This essay's intent is to point out the grave threat to the Republic from religious fanatics who wish to change our form of government to a theocracy. Theocracy is the antithesis of liberty. I suggest to Gary North, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and all the other members of the Christian Right that if they wish to live in a theocracy where women have no liberty, adultery is punished by death, stoning is frequently enjoyed by the populace, and heretics are executed maybe a middle eastern Islamic state would be more akin to their beliefs, not a libertarian democratic republic like the United States.

Next we move on to another grave threat to our democratic Republic, the Multi Cultural Left.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Patriot Act- A Revolutionary Solution

In recent days the American media has been reporting the debate on the coming renewal of the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act. This act passed in October 2001, was the frightened and knee jerk response of the US Congress in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Now "conservative" Republicans want to renew the act as a "tool" to fight terrorism.

Let's be clear. The PATRIOT Act is an unconstitutional law fulfilling the wishes of statists on both the left and right. The terrible violations of the BIll of Rights in the bill and the power usurped by the Federal government are all things that both Left and Right pined for for years. " Sneak and Peek" searches, no knock warrant authority, no judicial oversight, and the huge violations of citizens personal privacy are just a few of the act's horrendous provisions. Republicans, who have elevated President Bush to the status of a monarch, defend the act as necessary to fight "evildoers" and "enemies". Sadly, as in all legislation not properly debated and thought out, it is the American citizen who is in the crosshairs of the law, not terrorists. The PATRIOT Act is the trojan horse of the statists and their minions. Be fearful when they tell us it is to "protect" us. Next a law will be passed to disarm all of us, reinstitute a military draft, and encourage us to inform on our fellow citizens, all in the name of protecting us.

Again, as I have pointed out in my previous essays, if we follow our revolutionary history we find ways of combating such tyranny. In 1765 numerous colonial legislatures nullified the Stamp Act, declaring it unconstitutional and a violation of the British Constitution. Private organizations like the Sons of Liberty formed , rallying the populace against the Stamp Act. Handbills were circulated, newspaper articles were printed and petitions were submitted to Parliament urging repeal of the onerous legislation.

In 1767 the colonial people were again stirred by the Sons of Liberty, and their own legislatures to oppose the Townsend Acts as violations of English liberty and the natural rights of mankind. Again, private groups and some public servants rallied the people to oppose all encroachments on their liberty. This continued in 1773 against the Tea Act, and 1774 agaisnt the Coercive Acts both brutal infingements on the liberty and natural rights of the colonists. Revolutionary committees were formed, private individuals orgainized, and colonial legislatures again declared acts of Parilament unconstitutional. All of these events eventually led to the culmination of American independence.

Even with the new US Government the spirit of liberty was not dead. In 1798 the Federalist Party along with the support of President John Adams passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. These tyrannical Acts were an attempt to silence the Jeffersonians and their press who opposed Adams and the centralizing Federalists. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison authored the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions opposing the despotism of the Federalists and the Adams administration. Both Virginia and Kentucky's legislatures rallied for liberty and the true principles of our government and passed the resolutions. As in 1776, private groups and individuals began to rally, the Jeffersonian press was emboldened, and the spirit of the American Revolution reactivated.

We need this type of revolutionary spirit today. Today we face a larger, more powerful central government backed by the best technology and a standing military. We need to rally our state legislatures and public servants. We need to "rekindle the spirit of 1776" as Jefferson stated. We need to take a stand against the Patriot Act or any other liberty destroying laws enacted. We, the People, need to be reactivated. We must send a message to our politicians that such liberty destroying laws, even in the name of fighting terrorism, are unacceptable. They are unecessary and unconstitutional. If we do not, these encroachments on our liberty will end up in a complete dictatorship.

Statists on both the left and right, like sharks, smell blood. This blood is the blood of liberty being spilled, and they are preparing to devour the carcass. The Republicans, eager to ratchett the Divine Right of Kings on us, want nothing less than the total surrender of our liberty to the Federal government. The Democrats, supinely sit by and whine, all the while panting for their own liberty destroying laws.

If we want liberty, and freedom, WE must take it back from our rulers. No ruling class has ever given up it's power voluntarily. The Patriot Act is just one more law designed to impose the ruling elite's control over the American populace. I believe our revolutionary past provides the remedy for our afflicaion of encroaching despotism.

Recently the Montana House of representatives approved a bill denouncing the PATRIOT Act and ordering Montana law enforcement officers to refuse to enforce or apprehend people accused under it. The bill passed 88-12. The 12 Republican Tories should be denounced in the strongest terms and language. They are the type of politicians enamored of power and those who hold it. The resolution is very encouraging, though. This is exactly the type of true patriotism we need. So, let's get with it, and begin the process of liberating, not Iraq, but ourselves.