"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Edward R. Murrow
For those who believe, I want to say: Our GOD is not a god of ignorance. How can we honor and respect our beliefs if we do not even have any idea from where and when they emerged. I am writing this article so that we might be intelligent Christians. So that we can look at the beliefs of our predecessors and decide for ourselves what is truly Christian and what is truly Patriotic.
Faith is a strong part of our religion, but faith in what? Faith in who? If Peter was alive today would he pray to the "Saints"? Would he even pray to Jesus? Would he sit idly by while our government fell into chaos? The answers I have only come from careful research into the basis for my faith and patriotism. Maybe it will lead others to a more appreciative, fuller understanding of GOD. What he expects from us, what we should expect from ourselves, and finally justification for why we believe what we do. I do not claim to have any answers, only knowledge. I hope that by sharing my knowledge, I might get others to think about what it really means to be "Christian".
I want to start of by saying that there has always been two separate groups that claim to be "Of GOD". One is a true spiritual group, ones who follows the teaching of Rabbis, Church Elders, and even Imam's (to be covered in another article). They strive hard to follow the spirit of the law and the will of GOD, in the hopes to bring glory to GOD and to represent him. They strive hard because they recognize that faith without deeds is dead:
From James Chapter 2
18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.
24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."
For those of you who do not know who Rahab is, she is the prostitute that helped the Jewish spies infiltrate Jericho. Though she was not a Jew, she is considered righteous in the tradition. This shows that she had found forgiveness by GOD because of her actions in helping the will of GOD. That is not to say she never sinned again, it is not to say that she was transformed to sainthood or some other title. This shows, by example, that even the gentiles had opportunities as well in the ancient world.
Then there is the larger system of false churches associated with acceptance and control of world systems. The larger, worldly church has always persecuted and attempted to destroy the truth. They have promoted blackmail, theft, murder and war, with the support of governmental authority, all for the glory of GOD. This same institution brings all forms of democracy to its knees in its bid for control.
In fact Christian men have tried to stand up for their beliefs using following the scripture:
"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the Law and the prophets."
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18 "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Only to be accused of treachery, deception, unpatriotic and satanic influence. The various official church/governmental leaders have used the following verses to lead Godly men into atrociousness, committing acts under government authority:
1 "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same;
4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience sake."
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
It is important to realize that the Romans was written during the time of Roman government rule. The Roman government had recently put Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion. Furthermore the Roman government was not a democracy. It was known for the viciousness of it's soldiers. In spite of all this Paul said what he did in the above verses of the book of Romans.
But what is the average American supposed to think when faced with the corruption of government? Should he sit back and use GOD's will as an excuse to accept the decision of leaders, who claim to have authority mandated by the people or even GOD, himself?
We are clearly commanded to be in subjection to governing authorities according to Romans 13, unless the government orders us to do something that is in opposition to God's law.
In Acts 4:13-17, Peter and John cam before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the highest judicial and ecclesiastical council of the ancient Jewish nation, composed of from 70 to 72 members. It was a council the decided what not only was politically correct, but also religiously correct as well.
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.
16 "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it.
17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
In Acts 4:19,20
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
This teaches us to obey God before man. In these verses, the apostles Peter and John had been commanded by the government to no longer speak or teach about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter and John knew it was against God's law to not speak about Jesus Christ, so they did not submit to the government authority.
Now let us take a look at what our founding fathers said when the establishment of our government. Thomas Jefferson looked into the virtues of the Roman Empire and remarked the following about its leadership:
"If Caesar had been as virtuous as he was daring and sagacious, what could he, even in the plenitude of his usurped power, have done to lead his fellow citizens into good government?... If their people indeed had been, like ourselves, enlightened, peaceable, and really free, the answer would be obvious. 'Restore independence to all your foreign conquests, relieve Italy from the government of the rabble of Rome, consult it as a nation entitled to self-government, and do its will.' But steeped in corruption, vice and venality, as the whole nation was,... what could even Cicero, Cato, Brutus have done, had it been referred to them to establish a good government for their country?... No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and their people were so demoralized and depraved as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome control. Their reformation then was to be taken up ab incunabulis. Their minds were to be informed by education what is right and what wrong; to be encouraged in habits of virtue and deterred from those of vice by the dread of punishments proportioned, indeed, but irremissible; in all cases, to follow truth as the only safe guide, and to eschew error, which bewilders us in one false consequence after another in endless succession. These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of order and good government. But this would have been an operation of a generation or two at least, within which period would have succeeded many Neros and Commoduses, who would have quashed the whole process. I confess, then, I can neither see what Cicero, Cato and Brutus, united and uncontrolled could have devised to lead their people into good government, nor how this enigma can be solved." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1819. ME 15:233
He saw the the downfall of the Roman Empire involved the need to control all on a personal level. Rome used religion to control the hearts of men, and it used the force of arms to control their actions. He also realized, that without the oversight of the citizen, that government would slip into despotism and corruption. Throwing away the ideals of freedom and citizen rights and lead down the road of failure.
Thomas Jefferson also knew that ultimately it would be the indifference that would allow our government to also go the way of Rome.
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.", November 13, 1787, letter to William Stephens Smith, quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy
So what does this have to do with the Christian life in the United States. Everything! We have always claimed to be a one nation under GOD. We have always liked to believe that those in authority over us have a mandate by GOD. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I honestly believe that the people do not realize that we, as the voting citizenry are responsible for the corruption in our government. We have allowed those of corrupted religious ideals and personal agendas to take hold.
Article IV of the Constitution sates the following:
" This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.
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, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. "
Why have we allowed not only the Constitution to be ravaged by outside influences? Why do we, as Christians, accept the corruption of government as acceptable, coming form GOD's will? Why don't Christians rise up and demand reinforcement of our constitutional legacy? Why do we not protect that right to decide who we wish to lead our government and what laws are acceptable? Why do we accept the ideal that all politicians are corrupt and that all bankers are dishonest? Our founding fathers gave us the legal right, the legal responsibility to stand up for the rights that they spilled blood for. Is it not ordained by GOD that because we live in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, that we defend it? At this point in time, we do not need to shed blood, we only need to rise up, have our voices counted and agree "It is enough!"
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." [Matt22:37-40]
Actually, I find this scripture reminds all good men two things:
1) No matter how powerful we are, we need to remind ourselves that everyone not only falls under judgment when we stand before GOD's throne, but also we need to act like Godly rulers as well. This does not mean that rulers will not do things that everyone has to agree with, but this also means that the decisions of those need to be following a more Biblical point of view. Whether you higher power is GOD himself, the Universe, the constitution, or even the voting society, our leaders need to recognize that there is something more important, more powerful than the power they currently hold, and that power can be taken away when they are not responsible with the mandate that our founding father and the citizenry give them.
2) No matter what the government says, we need to also follow what the Ten Commandments or the golden rule does say. For example, in the case of the Iraqi conflict, instead of invading a country that did not fall under our jurisdiction, why not allow many more Iraqi's migrate here, and create a better life for themselves. Why not help them Immigrate here by providing additional funds? We claim to follow democracy, free trade economics, and the right of the individual, but what exactly does are political system express to the world around? What does that say about this GOD fearing nation? We need to take a long hard look at the concept of separation between church and state, and what it really means to be "One nation under GOD"!
We live in a relatively free country, we are blessed with voices that can be heard. The question is why don't GOD fearing individuals, of all walks of life, band together, and act? Why have we allowed the Constitution to be ripped apart in the name of diplomacy, freedom, and economy?
In everything that I have written can be easily summed up in these two quotes:
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
Matt 7:12 NASB
"That's free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing -- the truly democratic thing about it -- is that you don't even have to be a player to lose." Barbara Ehrenreich