Sunday, March 15, 2015

ROMANS 13:1-7: Did God Write The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution?

Reading the Scriptures
I will never forget the first time someone told me that God forbids taking up arms and rebelling against the government as the American Revolutionaries did. 

I responded, "What are we supposed to do, then?" They said, "Raise our children. Live the Christian life. Do good deeds, etc."

That may have been the first time it dawned on me that the church and America were different, and that I could no longer view the two as the same any longer.

If America was founded by the willingness to rebel against England and take up arms as an organized group in defense of their rebellion, and God says to be subject to ruling authorities, then there's no way the American Colonists could have been obeying God in doing so. My realization about my country's origin affected my Christian identity, and I didn't know how to fill the void when it was detached from being American. 

In a bizarre way, it is not as upsetting now that America seems to be approaching, if not already at, the point where we can really question the veracity and legitimacy of the view of authority that most of us have been taught from the generations following World War II.

Stanley Hauerwas gives an insightful recommendation when interpreting Romans 13:1-7:
Never read Romans 13 without first reading Romans 12:14ff, because then you begin to see that “bless those who persecute you” applies also to Caesar... Then you’ll see how Americans have failed to read Paul well, because they want to read Paul as underwriting democratic presuppositions of government that assume, ‘somebody’s gotta kill somebody in the name of Jesus.’ Now, that’s what I don’t think Paul will let you do, if you read Romans 12 in relationship to Romans 13. That’s why we have so little good religious discourse in this country, because most American Christians don’t know how to read the Bible well. And they don’t know how to read the Bible well because they’re Americans before they’re Christians.
The part of Hauerwas' quote that stuck with me is, "that's why we have so little good religious discourse in this country" and also that "we don't know how to read the Bible well," because we are "Americans before we are Christians." Wow. This seems so true to me based on the authoritarian society that America has progressively become since World War II.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Myth of Limited Government

This is Discretionary Spending not the Total Budget
The United States of today is a vastly different country from what it was before World War II. 

For example, virtually no income tax existed back then, but 75 years later, approximately 35% of the $3.9 trillion US budget is spent annually on the military industrial complex. 

The rise of Central Banks at the beginning of the 20th century, the resulting method of perpetual indebtedness, and the growth of the US Government in connection with Big Corporations is now viewed as necessary with little faith in viable alternatives. 

It seems that the American form of government has evolved to leave people with the meaningless power to vote for only two choices--a Warfare State or a Welfare State. It seems that the role of representative government is to spend as much money as they can borrow while keeping their subjects busy, one side blaming the other as the source of all problems, based on the myth that if "my side ran the government all would be better." 

No it wouldn't. 

There is only one side in American Government made up of two parties whose only concern is how to spend the money they receive through taxation.