The revolution will begin in church
A few days ago, I posted a piece challenging Sarah Palin on a remark she made indicating that the intent of America’s founders was to root our law in the teachings of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Here is what Gov. Palin had to say-
Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant — they’re quite clear — that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the ten commandments.
While my piece set out to disprove Palin’s position, what ultimately proved to be the most interesting result of the article was the response it evoked from the numerous readers who provided comments – both in support of Sarah Palin’s perspective and those in sharp opposition.
These comments were often well documented, well reasoned and, in some cases, a bit frightening. If you haven’t seen the piece, I recommend you take a look – not to read my arguments but to check out the comment section as this is where you will find the real action.
One of those who strongly supported Gov. Palin’s perspective is a gentleman who once served as the chief propagandist for the Republican National Committee –although he now describes himself as a “recovering Republican.” We will call him John… because that is his name. Typically, I would not directly reference someone in this way but, to John’s credit, he was very comfortable disclosing who he is in his comments.
John is obviously an intelligent and well-educated man who served the purpose in the discussion of frustrating many of the others involved in the debate. This was because no matter what argument opponents to John’s point of view suggested, his answer was, in a word, “God.”
The nation is in dreadful shape, John argues, because it turned away from the Christian nation our founders gave us and became the Godless, endangered wasteland it is today. And no matter what attempts at logic others would toss John’s way, he was bulletproof in his response because logic was not required in his point of view – all he required was faith.
To be fair, John did suggest some factual basis for his belief that the foundation of the nation was intended to be a nation based on Christianity. He pegged this to what was happening in the two centuries leading up to the founding of America. But I think John would agree that I am not being unfair when I suggest that most of his arguments centered around his belief that all things are founded in God (including the country) and that by abandoning God , we have abandoned the nation.
Now, I can argue with John on the facts of whether or not he’s correct that American law was rooted in the Bible. But, I can’t ultimately tell him he’s wrong, or hope to back up such a claim when John suggests that our problems are the result of becoming a godless society (not that I think we are) because he could be right. I certainly do not think he is….but he could be. The problem here is that to argue successfully with John, I’m required to take a swing at faith and other things I cannot see, feel or touch. While frustrating, the fact that I can’t see, feel or touch the basis for John’s argument doesn’t mean that what he offers isn’t correct . And since I can’t prove that he’s incorrect, it becomes an argument I can’t possibly win.
That’s when it hit me. God is the ultimate political argument.
While one may disagree with another who waives God in front of them as the beginning, middle and end of the story, nobody can disprove the argument. And while we can suggest that John is in the same boat as we given the fact that he too cannot prove his argument – it doesn’t really matter. At best, we reach a a stalemate. More likely, any effort to disagree with John is a waste of breath on the part of his opponent. We could argue ourselves blue in the face and John is going to continue to believe what he believes. His argument is neither dependent upon facts nor logic. His argument is faith – and that can neither be proven or disproven.
Pretty convenient, no?
This is not to say that I think John is any way behaving disingenuously or falsely attempting to create an argument that cannot be rebutted. I feel quite certain that John’s faith is genuine and that he means and believes every word he says. Nor do I think this makes John a ‘bad guy’. Quite the contrary. I suspect John is anything but a bad guy. He is simply a believer. But that doesn’t mean that John, and those who see things his way, are not ultimately a great danger to the nation.
At one point in the ‘back and forth’, John noted that America is involved in ungodly wars. I pointed out that these wars were begun and conducted by a president who openly professed his strong Christian view, spoke of his frequent consultation with God when making the hard decisions and went so far as to count himself among the ranks of the ‘born again.’ John responded that George Bush was really not Christian – or at least had not behaved as a Christian – because he did not follow the dictates of the Christian bible. When I asked John what entitled him to make that determination (as I seriously doubt President Bush would agree with John’s assessment), he informed me that God was making that assessment and it was clear if one simply read the bible.
So now, we have one Christian accusing another Christian of not being Christian at all.
If a Christian becomes intolerant of the beliefs of another Christian, imagine the intolerance we can anticipate towards those who might believe in Islam or believe in no God at all.
This brought to mind an interesting quote by James Madison – the man who wrote the Bill of Rights – provided courtesy of another one of the clever responders to the piece.
Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?
Got to hand it to Madison. He really saw it coming.
With all of this as a backdrop, I learned this morning that the Oklahoma state legislature passed a law yesterday that would prohibit private health insurance companies in the state from offering abortion coverage to Oklahoma residents, except in the case of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.
Considering that – for better or for worse- abortion is legal in the United States, and that it hardly seems in the public interest to ban a private company from providing a benefit to a customer when that benefit is completely legal, this is one heck of a law. It is also a law that will cause women in Oklahoma to have to come up with up sums reaching $10,000 to pay for an unforeseen medical procedure that the law recognizes as perfectly legal.
But this did not stop the legislators in Oklahoma from taking matters into their own hands despite the law of the nation.
Who could do such a thing?
Only someone who is so absolutely certain of their position – a position rooted in their religious belief- that they would circumvent the law of the land, and the desires and needs of its citizens, to act on what they believe is their Christian responsibility.
Can anyone argue that this is what the founders of America had in mind?
This is where the notion of secular government, as I believe is the clear and verifiable intent of the founders, runs head long into those who believe America was created to be a Christian nation, responsible first and foremost to God and bible.
We are increasingly seeing the fruits of this clash. As a result, one can’t help but wonder what happens to the non-Christians should the ‘America as Christian nation’ argument win out.
And, make no mistake, it is winning out.
With our leaders increasingly using God as the reference point for convenient political gain, it is becoming more than clear that when the revolution comes, it will begin in church.
Good thing states are now allowing folks to bring guns to church with them.