Sunday, March 17, 2013

Which Do You Put First, the Bible or the Constitution?

Soup McGee
Professor Dude

POLS 320


I would like to ask a question and then address a topic that considers this question in a larger political context: Are legality and morality the same? I say no. Plato asserts that “no man acts evilly with a set purpose lest they mistake evil as good.” If this is true, what is the danger to secular government from men who confuse legality with Biblical morality, believing all government necessary only because of the Biblical story of a fall from Grace? I assert that these men mistake evil as good in that destroying secular government is evil, though they believe this is necessary to prepare a way for the return of King Jesus.

I maintain the most dangerous men are those who truly believe that they are most just.  These men are most likely to choose the ring. If they are ‘king’, or, if their King were King…if justice were to be dispensed in all ways as Biblical code requires, then all will be tolerable within the world to God. Perhaps then Jesus would return, and take ‘His Rightful Place on the Throne.’ The backdrop of the recommended reading, the Ring of Gyges, after all, was about deciding justice personally, the intention to become king.

The ‘Prince’ (which stands for the modern state) as described in the Two Swords Doctrine offered by Pope Gelasius says that if a commonwealth is to be legitimate, then the representatives of this commonwealth (elected politicians, the judicial system, the sheriffs who are generally the highest law enforcement officers in our counties, etc.) must be professing Christians. This would seemingly obligate professing Christians to, say, obstruct or oppose any governmental action if the federal branches of government in America or in their municipality is not filled with professing Christians. The definition used for the word ‘Christian’ in this paper, to be clear, describes those American citizens who believe American government ought to be populated exclusively by professing Christians and that the Constitution either was written to reflect Biblical code, or should be changed through Supreme Court precedent to do so. I must add here that I doubt highly however the existence of an American professing Christian who would willingly admit American government has a higher authority over them than their ‘God.’

Reviewing first whether or not legality and morality are the same thing, reason says no. Law and morality are an Ouroboros, which Plato described as “a self-eating, circular being […] the first living thing in the universe” and is commonly envisioned as a snake eating its own tail. Law is moved by morality, in that shared morality becomes state or federal law through a sometimes slow but always pendulum-like manner. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, Brown v. Board of Education, the 1866 Civil Rights Act, and Yick Wo v. Hopkins are all examples of how civil law slowly, through the mechanism of American secular government, began to mimic the transient morality of the American constituency. Morality is indeed an individual habit, but in our society, shared morals have driven specific legislation.

To briefly define them both, a Harvard article titled “Law versus Morality as Regulators of Conduct” by Steven Shavell begins:

It is evident that both law and morality serve to channel our behavior. Law accomplishes this primarily though the threat of sanctions if we disobey legal rules. Morality too involves incentives; bad acts may result in guilt and disapprobation, and good acts may result in virtuous feelings and praise.

That legality and morality begin in separate places and accomplish their ends differently, differentiates them.

To further clarify my position, I lean on what St. Thomas Aquinas called synderesis. Synderesis can be understood as a ‘conscience before conscience’ that tells men to avoid evil, and seek to do good. This truth provokes an inner conversation that transforms into conscience…a process that innately takes place in all but the wicked and the infant (these are the words of Aquinas).

This theory proves that morality comes before law, as law is intended to reflect or codify morality, or at least ought to attempt to reflect or codify what is admittedly a transient societal morality-- much like a zero in a zero one zero sequence commanding a computer program.

 As to the danger secular government faces from such un-intentionally evil men, I have spent my two-and a half years in school assessing the theonomic progress (the ‘christianizing of law’) in current American society. I’ve found a number of ‘men’ who mistake the good of government as the consequence of the sin of man, and see government in any form as illegitimate unless it is run with a Christian by Biblical law; a principle foundation of their faith includes certainty that American government ought to derive any authority from God alone.

When Socrates answers Glaucon, he speaks of the men who choose to abuse the power of the ring as being ‘enslaved to [their] appetites’ and those who do not as ‘rationally in control of themselves. I see this philosophically demonstrated by standard American Christian conservative activists, with their shameless lack of rationality and their immovable pride in believing themselves to be correct at all times, in all arguments—leaning always on their faith. I say these are generally wicked men. They believe that their justice is the most just, that their king alone can dispense appropriate justice. This is what forces them to deny reason. They are wicked as they are constrained by their faith to do this, to believe they are the most just. Here is Plato’s answer:

…justice does not derive from this social construct: the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges has in fact enslaved himself to his appetites, while the man who chose not to use it remains rationally in control of himself and is therefore happy. (Republic 10:612b).(wiki)

Discussing reasonably American politics with men of faith who are also political figures is a practice as extinct as the dinosaurs many of these men are convinced man lived alongside. For an introductory example, think of the Grover Norquist Tax Pledge. He isn’t a ‘religious’ figure as much as an economic fellow, but his goal is based on the same philosophy of ‘secular government is evil because it is a consequence of the fall from grace.’ He teaches that when the government taxes you, it takes your dollars by coercion and force. From a CNN profile:

 Norquist views that two-line document -- fewer than 70 words in all -- as something like a blood oath, an ironclad, immutable contract between lawmakers and their constituents that they will not back any bill to raise taxes or revenue.

Famously, he keeps original copies of every signed pledge -- each of which has to be co-signed by two witnesses -- in a fireproof vault for protection.

Political-minded Christians love this argument, and see demanding zero-revenue as a perfectly reasonable starting position when discussing funding of government. The power of the pledge is evident; there was not a single federal-level tax increase since the early 1990’s until the recent Debt Ceiling deal. The universal appeal of the ‘government is the problem’ stance is what I say makes it such an omnipresent and magnetic Ring.

If this effort to effectively dismantle secular government was undertaken just on behalf of Mr. Norquist, perhaps this could be seen as a simple lobbying effort for people with legitimate grievances. Instead, take note that the “the 238 members of the House of Representatives and 41 members of the Senate [that] have taken the Pledge” and the more than 1200 State Legislators who swore an oath to defend the Constitution first signed Mr. Norquist’s ‘immutable’ contract . Each of these elected officials deliberately signed on to the goal of defunding government entirely by 2050. Minus secular government, religious law will (it is my estimation) will begin to rule over first portions, then all of America.

Much of this may seem visible, and to the political observer, perhaps it is. However, some 90 million Americans did not involve themselves in our most recent election, and millions more ignore day-to-day political activity. To the blind, the power of the Christian Reconstructionist (the Ring bearer) is near absolute. My claim here is that those who have separated their allegiance from the legitimate secular government they have been elected to and did swear an oath to defend—and this being an oath absent any mental reservations—separated their allegiance to our secular government. They transferred that allegiance to God. This taking of two oaths, one a contract to destroy the other, shows these ‘men’ are enslaved to their faith, and so are lost to reason. This is incredibly dangerous to secular government.

Case in point: David Barton is a pseudo-historian who holds immense influence and power in the Religious Right community. To people who do not enjoy passing their time tracking influential Christian activists, Barton’s power and his influence are invisible. His name and ability are known well by those who believe as he does, that to tear down the legitimacy of secular government is a good thing. From NPR, on the 8th of August, 2012:

In 2010, the Texas Board of Education voted to rewrite the history textbooks to make them more conservative and Christian-friendly. One of the advisers was David Barton. Barton later said on the cable talk show Chapter and Verse that it would take another 16 or 18 years before kids go through the entire curriculum, "then another 10 years after that before those kids get elected to office and start doing things. So we're talking 30 years from now. But, it's in the pipe coming down.

This falsification by Barton is typical. “Jesus has a direct teaching against the minimum wage,” says David Barton, in a talk to the Rediscover God in America Conference, on March 24 of 2011. He cites Proverbs 13:22:  “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

I fail to see the connection between the writings and the teaching—there is, in fact, zero direct correlation when using reason, which makes Barton not guilty of equivocation but of an outright lie. Jesus did not preach against the minimum wage; to know this truth and repeat otherwise is to repeat a lie. But this lie can only be told when seeing evil as good, or, more tersely, while being wicked (besides, in Luke 3:12-13, Jesus advised the tax collector to collect taxes, specifically, only with a caution to not collect more than the law required).

Proof of the power of the Ring is this call of the House Roll where not one Federal level Republican voted in support of a minimum wage increase recently, a bill that would increase the minimum from the $7.25 it is now, to $10.10, over four years.  (Roll Call available here: ).

Barton, of course, and Grover Norquist, and all the signatories and preachers and believing Christians working in state or federal jobs alike are men like any other men thinking they seek to do good, and act to avoid evil. In fact, I do not assert and I cannot prove that Norquist’s pledge, Barton’s views and the vote in the House are related politically. I can only credibly claim that they are recognizably the same, philosophically, in the way they refute reason in favor of faith.

The genius of liar David Barton, again as an example of common Ring bearer belief, he has said, “You look at article two, the quote on where the President has to be native-born, that is Deuteronomy 17:15 verbatim.”  For the record, here is the text of Constitutional Article II, the quote in question:

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.

Here is a typical translation of Deuteronomy 17:15:

You shall surely set him king over you, whom the LORD your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set king over you: you may not set a stranger over you, who is not your brother.

This is hard to call verbatim; in fact, my own morality will not allow me to call this the truth. It may be important here to point out that this particular lie is so widely believed that, in this letter to the editor of the Canon City Daily Record dated March 15, 2013, noted: “…54 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of those who identify themselves as Tea Party Members continue to believe that the President was born in Kenya and that he is a Muslim.”

Barton also teaches that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton believed separation of powers comes from Jeremiah 17:9. He teaches that the three branches of government idea is from Isaiah 33:22, and Article 3, section 3, paragraph one of the Constitution are “exactly the same as Deuteronomy 17:6.” I am not going to bore you with the exact texts--these are lies are told and repeated with intention, and he is not the only one telling them.

Legality and morality are not one and the same. Morality comes before law. Aquinas proved this with his theory called synderesis. What makes these men wearing the Ring wicked is their inability and disinterest in separating morality and legality, and I believe this is because their morality comes from their biblical text, which asserts there must be Christian Dominion of all Earthly governments.

For the Christian who believes government needs to be Christian-occupied, is not their only moral decision (seeing evil as good) is to wear the ring, and advance their eventual theocracy?  I believe so. The Randian Republicans in Congress wearing the Ring who give first allegiance not to the laws of this country but to their God and ‘His law’ are not alone. They run as Democrats in Pennsylvania for governor. They also fight for positions on the PTA around the country, and on the City Council, probably where you live. They intend to delay, obstruct, and in the end, entirely defund American secular government.

 I must restate: the man who believes he is most just is most dangerous. I say that the lies told by those who believe their justice to be the ‘good’ justice, the justice based on ‘Christ’—those who participate in the Christian Reconstruction of America are in fact invisible, wearing the Ring. These lies and their liars are so pervasive as to be invisible…or so believed as to be invisible.

Congress wears this Ring too, when they act against the people’s stated interest (this is using the ring to become king, or to at least prepare His way).  That there is dysfunction in Congress may be the least invisible fact in the world; why this dysfunction exists to begin with and who is responsible for the disintegration of trust in the democratic process seems mightily invisible— at times even to those who, like I, believe they wear the goggles that allow them to see the Ring bearers. Men who have chosen to use the Ring to become King in many cases do believe themselves invisible, and this invisibility as an advantage.

These activists that push Barton’s plan (his, and so many others) are dragging America through legal means what seems to be a Randian Slow-Motion Separation/Secession, some sort of Constitutional Coup: a change in our a transfer of power in our country from being a constitutionally limited representative democratic republic (where the people hold the keys to power and how it is transferred), to a theonomy (where law is based more and more on Biblical morality), to a constitutional Monarchy (when, finally, we see the Supreme Court overturn pre-Lochner era decisions.) This will be the beginning of theocracy outright, a time where legality and morality depends on faith over reason. Christianity will then have dominion over American secular government.

These are men whose political ideology is that all ideology to their opposite is demonic, that all who operate politically to their left make laws based upon a lesser love, a non-Christian love, and therefore, can make laws only based on an immoral secular code. Have these Ring bearers not overtaken the democratic process and obstructed progress because they indeed do mistake evil as good? Yes. Even though the stability of Constitutional law revolves around that ‘wall of separation between church and state’?  Yes. The danger of continuing to allow these wicked ‘men’ who see government itself as wicked and so the good to do and the evil to avoid for them is to destroy such secular governments and prepare a kingdom for Jesus is written clearly all over history books: America must fight to remain simply a mechanism for redress, transfer of power, protection of property rights, etc., i.e., a secular government,

The last chance we have before our constitutionally limited representative democratic republic surrenders to God’s Law completely is to shine a bright enough light (reason) on the Ring and those who wear it (which by now is clearly understood to be the lie of Christian Reconstruction) and focus that light on the ninety-plus million uninvolved, uninspired voters in the hopes they are not, too lost to reason already. Considering the vast power of this invisible ‘Dominionist’ network, I can reasonably predict that the process of American Democracy will disintegrate even further before any display of reason is successful in outing the absolute intent of Ring bearers.

 I hope that Plato was right; I hope that these wicked will indeed succumb to their appetites for worldly power, and expose themselves through their imposition of an increasingly hard-line combination of American Law and Biblical Code, and that this happens before we are all willingly lying to ourselves about the Constitution and the Bible being direct descendants of each other. After all, they are shown through reason, to not be. The worst, then, will be that we won’t know we are lying; we will be mistaking evil for good, seeking to avoid the evil and to do the good.

 Roll Call vote for minimum wage increase Background Reading suggested

I rely heavily on Chapters 5,6,7,8 of the textbook Thom Hartmann on Constitutional Monarchy Thom Hartmann creationism Activist Kevin Swanson advising Christian teachers to disregard Supreme Court Decisions separating church and state America is a Christian Nation debate w/ Barton Institutes of Biblical Law review  Definition militant church intent on ruling world politically blood oath- two witnesses- Legally binding Contract Weyrich advising to be more ‘holy’ by separating from secular institutions

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