How Christianity Allowed Tyranny In America … And How Christians Can Restore Liberty
by Stucky, The Burning Platform
The United States of America was birthed in revolution, war, bloodshed and death. This was approved of and led by the leaders of this nation, better known as the Founding Fathers (most of whom were Christian and, if not, lived and governed by Christian principles). The citizenry in this newborn Christian nation also approved of this violent insurrection as a means to an end … Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit Of Happiness.
I use “Christian nation” in an all-inclusive sense. Meaning, Catholics and all their offshoots, Protestants and their many variant denominations, Puritans, Quakers, Deists, and so on. In other words, anyone who follows Jesus, regardless of HOW they understand it to be done. Also, this nation’s morals, laws, morays, and cultural heritage are based on those found in the Judeo-Christian worldview. It certainly isn’t based on Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other religion.
I am not in the least bit interested in engaging in the ridiculous practice of being a Christ Fruit Inspector – meaning, the intellectual exercise of determining which person or group is a “real” Christian, or not. First, that task is best left to God. Second, this article will not engage in spiritual warfare – meaning, I have zero interest in how a particular Bible verse pertains to spiritual topics or the world/life after this one. I am only interested in how a particular passage affects the current world we live in, especially as it relates to politics.
[Note: For ease of navigation and searching, major sections are delineated in red caps, Founding Father quotes are green italicized, and all Scripture verses are blue italicized.)
Polls vary widely, but a minimum of 20% and a maximum of 40% of Americans attend some type of Judeo-Christian service WEEKLY. That’s roughly between 64 million and 128 million people listening to a sermon each and every week.
With that in mind, my minor premise is that sermons have an effect on how people live their lives, not only on a “spiritual” level, but also in our day-to-day lives including what is often erroneously referred to as “politics”.
As just one example, Jesus unequivocally commands his followers on several occasions to feed the hungry. Such a simple command. Is it mostly a spiritual command in that Jesus meant feed the poor in spirit? Is it a political command so that Democrats can justify SNAP cards? Or, are the Republicans correct that yes, we should feed the poor … but only if they work? Whatever it is, it is a command to DO something in the real world we live in.
Few, if any, of Jesus teachings involve mere intellectual ascent. A faith that is merely based on correct thinking, and not doing, is nothing but a noisy cymbal, a pie-in-the-sky theology which benefits no one. It is a “faith” which God truly hates. God heaped scorn on the very religious Pharisee who spent the day in prayer but did nothing, yet God praised the poor widow who put a penny in the offering plate!
One last observation; nowhere does Jesus even hint that it is the government, or State, which should feed the poor, ever. That responsibility is only and always that of the individual. There is nothing political about that … but modern American Christianity has abrogated so many of its individual responsibilities over to the State. One of those being the call to fight tyranny, and proclaim “Liberty!” to the captives. Where is that supposed to take place? In the next world? Of course, not! As always, the call is to fight tyranny pertains to this world, the one we live in.
As such, my first major premise is that Christianity for at least the past hundred years has been in grave error regarding the relationship between the Christian and the State. If it’s possible to summarize in just one word what the State demands it would be OBEDIENCE! While Believers in Scripture are allegorically referred to as “sheep”, the State desires it’s citizens to be that literally, and preachers in tens of thousands of churches across this land dutifully oblige. We’ll cover the church’s raison d’etat in some more detail in a moment, but Modern American Christianity (I can’t speak for other countries) servitude to the State can be summarized thusly;
—1) When Jesus said to Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting,” it means that Christians also should not be involved in this world (especially, politically) and, clearly, under no circumstances should the Believer ever practice violence against the State.
—2) When Jesus said to the soldier who came to arrest him “Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” and, then to Pilate “You would have no power at all over me unless it were given to you from above.”, that this means that God foreordained (from the beginning of creation) ALL earthly leadership and, that it is none of a Believer’s business to thwart the Will Of God.
–3) The Bottom Line: It doesn’t matter who is in power, even if that power is Authoritarian, Dictatorial, or Tyrannical, it is the Christian duty to not only submit to them, but to pray for them! (See video below.)
My second major premise is that the State should fear Christianity, not vice-versa. Christian teachings should act as a bulwark for all citizens, not just Christians, against all forms of tyranny. The State can only exist under the threat of force and power. Christianity gives power to the powerless. Thomas Jefferson said it best; “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” We MUST get back to the government fearing its people, no matter what it takes, passive or violent, if we are to ever again have a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … as the Founding Fathers envisioned it, and as the Bible teaches.
Before we get to how we arrived to the point where Christianity tolerated tyranny, and how it is reflected in our culture, let us first take a look at some quotes from our Founding Fathers.
15 QUOTES FROM THE FOUNDING FATHERS
As you read these quotes I want you to keep in mind these two questions;
—1) “Do the Founding Fathers sound like they believe that the citizens in the Colonies should submit to the State (England)?”
—2) “If revolting against what they considered tyranny was acceptable back then, why shouldn’t it be acceptable for us, today?”
1)— “There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!” ……… Peter Muhlenberg
2)— “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense …. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.” ……… Alexander Hamilton
3)— “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” ……… Patrick Henry
4)— “Liberty is not … so much in removing all restraint from the orderly, as in imposing it on the violent.” ……… Fisher Ames
5)— “I have not yet begun to fight!” ……… John Paul Jones
6)— “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” ……… Nathan Hale
7)— “It is necessary for every American, … to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.” ……… Mercy Warren
8)— “Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous than their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords.” ……… Samuel Adams
9)— “This is the only form of government we wish to see established; .. an American republic ..” ……… Instructions of Malden
10)— “Resolved: That these colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved of all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective colonies for their consideration and approbation.” ……… Richard Henry Lee
11)— “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.” ……… Declaration Of Independence
12)— “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” ……… Leviticus 25:10, also the Inscription on the Liberty Bell
13)— “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” ……… Benjamin Franklin
Then there is the Second Amendment issue. If the citizenry, Christians included, are to submit and obey the state, then why were the Founding Fathers so darn adamant about arming the people? (Perhaps to shoot ignorant church leaders?
14)— “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.” ……… Richard Henry Lee
Lastly, to all you clergy out there who have made a pact with the devil with your lips locked on the State’s posterior;
15)— “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” ……… Thomas Jefferson
If the beliefs of Modern American Christianity existed back then, we might still be British subjects and the Founding Fathers would clearly never have signed the Declaration Of Independence on July 4, 1776 … not to mention that the Israelites would never have left Pharaoh’s Egypt, no slaves anywhere would ever receive freedom, and no subjugated people would ever even be allowed to consider throwing off the yokes of their oppressors. It is no wonder that our government has had no practical use for the Constitution for many years now. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper that’s fun to wave around every four years when campaigning.
So, why does Modern American Christianity have teachings that fly in the face of reason, and against liberty? Let’s take a look.
7 KEY BIBLE VERSES WHICH INDICATE SUBMISSION TO THE STATE
Here’s what I’m not going to do – turn this into an academic Bible study; delving deep into historical context, trying desperately to find “original” meanings, whipping out the old “original language” canard, parsing verbs, subjects, the placement of prepositions, and other such minutiae. I’ll leave that to the really smart Bible Scholars, which I am not.
Instead, I’ll take a “plain meaning”-“face value” approach. It is how millions of lay people have read, interpreted, and understood the Bible for many centuries – before really smart people started doing it for us. As such, I will be using The Living Bible – an interpretation (not a translation) that doesn’t get any plainer for English-speaking readers.
The nice thing about a face-value reading is that it really doesn’t require any commentary. ‘It is what it is’ and ‘what you see is what you get’, to use common colloquialisms. We’ll start with Romans 13 – the Holy Grail, the mother-lode for “submit to the state” sermons.
1)— “Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. For the policeman does not frighten people who are doing right; but those doing evil will always fear him. So if you don’t want to be afraid, keep the laws and you will get along well. The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose. Obey the laws, then, for two reasons: first, to keep from being punished, and second, just because you know you should. Pay your taxes too, for these same two reasons. For government workers need to be paid so that they can keep on doing God’s work, serving you. Pay everyone whatever he ought to have: pay your taxes and import duties gladly, obey those over you, and give honor and respect to all those to whom it is due.” ……… Romans 13:1-7 (to which the government shouts, “Amen!!”)
What makes the above passage even more stunning — in either a good way, or bad way, depending on your point of view regarding obedience to the State – is the cultural / political background. Nero was the emperor of Rome from AD 54 to 68. Not a good man, he participated in many illicit acts, homosexual marriage being among them (not that there’s anything wrong with that. lol) . In AD 64 the great Roman fire occurred, with Nero himself being suspected of arson. The Roman senator Tacitus wrote, — “To get rid of the report [that he had started the fire], Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.”. It was during this time that the apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans. Instead of condemning this barbarity, Paul tacitly endorses it!!
2)— “Remind your people to obey the government and its officers, and always to be obedient and ready for any honest work. They must not speak evil of anyone, nor quarrel, but be gentle and truly courteous to all.” ……… Titus 3:1-2
3)— “For the Lord’s sake, obey every law of your government: those of the king as head of the state, and those of the king’s officers, for he has sent them to punish all who do wrong, and to honor those who do right. Show respect for everyone. Love Christians everywhere. Fear God and honor the government.” ……… 1 Peter 2:13-15,17
4)— “Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.” ……… 1 Timothy 2:2
5)— “Give to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” ……… Matthew 22:21 (Jesus actually mocks Caesar because everything belongs to God, meaning that Caesar has …… nothing!)
6)— “Never curse the king, not even in your thoughts, nor the rich man, either; for a little bird will tell them what you’ve said.” ……… Ecclesiastes 10:20
7)— “World events are under his control. He removes kings and sets others on their thrones.” ……… Daniel 2:21
Isn’t the first question that crosses your mind the following; “Why in the world would the Roman authorities persecute such compliant sheep??” One would think that the State would enthusiastically embrace a citizenry whose God not only demands that its followers obey all earthly authorities, but that they even pray for those authorities. Such a sheeple are what tyrants crave.
Yet, Nero hunted them down, burned them at the stake and crucified many. An analytical mind would conclude that something else is going on behind the scenes regarding Rome’s fear of this new Jewish sect called Christians. You might even start to think that what you believed about the early Christians is wrong – that they weren’t nearly as compliant to the State as Modern American Christianity wants you to believe. This will be addressed in a little more detail in the “Romans” section below.
Moreover, Rome was fairly immoral and corrupt throughout much of its history, especially when compared to Christian morays. Sepphoris, the “ornament of all Galilee,” according to Flavius Josephus, was a hill top city of 30,000 that had been selected and built up by the Romans during their occupation of Palestine in the first century BCE. It was a Roman military strategic center of commerce, government, theater and religion. The city was less than an hour’s walk (3 miles) from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Oddly, the city is not mentioned in the New Testament. Nevertheless, considering it extremely close proximity to Nazareth (where Jesus lived for 30 years), it is a virtual certainty Jesus visited the city often. It was very likely to be the city that Jesus spoke of when he said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”. We know the city was home to the elites (the “rich” of the New Testament), absentee landlords, owners of large estates, major importers/exporters, Chief Tax Collectors, high ranking Roman soldiers, and judges. We also know from the lavish frescoes, mosaics, and other archaeological artifacts that sexual depravity was rampant. In other words, Sepphoris, a Roman built city whose citizenry was comprised of both Roman Citizens and very Roman-friendly Jews, was itself a microcosm of the Roman Empire.
Jesus got to see firsthand how the other half lived; state sanctioned taxes, theft, aggression, fraud, malice, sexual depravity, gross materialism, oppression of the poor, and idolatry have all been verified via ancient texts found at or near the site. In other words, that place was just like Washington DC.
It is exceedingly difficult, logically flawed, and philosophically abhorrent for me to believe that either Jesus or the Apostles would condone/teach submission to the Roman State, especially after witnessing the corruption and debauchery up close and personal. That would be a Bizzaro-Edorsement which embraces the opposite of everything Jesus stood for and taught elsewhere in the Gospels. Taken to its extreme conclusion, submission to the State would involve the utterly disgusting picture below.
Anyway, what are we to make of these verses? First of all, let us not minimalize, sugarcoat, or try to explain them away as irrelevant, misunderstood, or taken out of context. These verses are powerful words in their simplicity which surely do indicate that Christians are to submit to all kinds of authority … including to those who rule over us here on earth.
More germane to this discussion is not the interpretation of these verses but, rather, in their application to our lives by church leaders. In that vein, let’s look at a typical application by a pastor who has authored more than fifty books (emphasis in the quote below are his);
“There can be NO power, of ANY government, except what God allows. This passage is instruction to us in our INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL LIFE! And our people indeed are a law-abiding, patriotic people. The Christian’s responsibility does not end with mere obedience to government authority. Paul actually tells us to pray for those in authority [even if they do evil]”
The author of that quote goes on to say that since no ruler can be put in place unless God wills it, then that means that God has selected winners “in advance”. Therefore, any attempt to remove such a leader, even by the peaceable method of voting, means that the Christian is choosing to “fight God’s purpose!”. He draws this conclusion from Acts 5:39 – “But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them, lest you find yourselves fighting even against God.”.
Don’t think the above quote is an outlier. I logged on to the main websites of over thirty major Christian denominations and they all follow the same basic three step formula; 1) God controls everything, including human affairs, 2) God appoints earthly leaders, 3) Therefore, we are to submit to them and even pray for them, whether they do good, or evil.
This level of obedience – without conditions attached – was eventually used by Christian preachers to urge their flock towards blind obedience. The consequences thereof have been devastating. Blind obedience led to acceptance of the State, acceptance led to reverence, and reverence eventually became defacto State worship. What the pastor above is ultimately doing, and tens of thousands like him across this land, is equating disobedience to the State with disobedience to God. That, my friends, is a lie from the pits of Hell itself because it adds to Scripture something that is not there … a favorite tactic employed by the enemy of our souls.
The result of all this Christian obeying & submitting is totally unexpected, and in some regards, bizarre. You would think the State would embrace and protect such compliant folks. Nothing could be further from the truth! One political party in this country openly mocks Christians, especially the devout ones whom they tag with the derogatory label ‘right wing fundamentalists”. Liberals and certain MSM television stations froth at the mouth at the mere mention of “Christianity”. The DHS regards Christians as potential terrorists. The highly regarded theologian Francis Schaeffer concurs; — “If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state.”. Lesson learned: when you sleep with the devil, he will charge you a price you can never repay.
But, there are almost always at least two sides of any Scriptural teaching. We’ll take a peek at the other side of the coin below. But, first, let’s take a quick look at how America became the 21st century version of the Golden Calf.
WHEN JESUS BECAME AN AMERICAN
[Disclaimer: I do not hate the military. I served in the USAF for four years during the Vietnam era (I was never deployed there). I believe this country should have a strong military. The world is a bad place with bad human leaders, and we have the duty and obligation to protect our land and loved ones. What I hate is how the State is using our Armed Forces … not for defense, but for offense. We have become the most aggressive nation on earth. “Bomb ‘em” is our first option in diplomacy. This should be surprising considering our Commander-In-Chief is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. If he had any integrity he would return it.]
You don’t need to look any further in uncovering the Americanization of Jesus than the Word Of God, albeit repackaged as “The Patriot Bible” and “The Military Bible”.
The American Patriot’s Bible (APB) is edited by Richard G. Lee, a former president of the Pastors’ Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention, and currently a trustee at Liberty University and Liberty School of Law and a board member of the National Religious Broadcasters. The Bible is published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. A more accurate title would have been “America’s Warmonger Bible” as it is filled with nationalistic violence and promotes idolatry.
The APB consists of hundreds of commentaries randomly appearing all over the place on various patriotic themes — national monuments, State symbols, stars and stripes, armed soldiers, bombers, battleships, etc., and extensive commentaries on America’s wars and glorious victories against always, of course, the forces of evil. Each Gospel opens with a picture that includes soldiers struggling to raise a flag under the words ‘In God We Trust’. Throughout history nations and tribes have assumed that its military victories were clear evidence of Divine Favor. This is pure idolatry at its finest. Pagan religions are filled with stories of victorious soldiers giving credit to whatever warrior God they worship. The APB also has a warrior god – he goes by the name of “Jesus” and His Story (history) is interwoven into the biblical narrative which then becomes the Gospel According To America. George Washington (who is actually called ‘The American Moses’) replaces Jesus as the one we’re to emulate and the Kingdom of America replaces the Kingdom of God as the kingdom we’re to persevere for. You can read a wonderfully scathing review about the APB by Laurence Vance here; http://archive.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance209.html
In the house of God ….. chanting “USA! USA! USA!” ….. while an American bald eagle flies around ….. then crashes into a window. My God, what have we become??!!
The abomination enters a new gear with the addition of the various Military Bibles (a different one for each armed service). Laurence Vance has this to say about filling young men’s minds with mush via Military Bibles;
“Military Bibles corrupt the word of God …. are designed to sooth the conscience of Christians in the military … ignore real military values … blaspheme God … contain lies about the Bible and the military … make false insinuations and connections … attempt to sanctify war … mask the true nature of the military … promote war criminals … misapply Scripture … are filled with military propaganda.” You can read the rest of is wonderfully scathing review here; https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/10/laurence-m-vance/official-blasphemy/
I’ve engaged in debates regarding whether or not the US Military will fire upon its citizens if (or, when) ordered to do so. Some folks think I’m nuts for believing that they will, and offer up all kinds for arguments in support; from Oathkeeper type organizations to an adamant belief the most of the military is comprised of good men who will not blindly “follow orders”. Such logic makes no sense to me. These folks should get their hands on a military Bible. The State has already conditioned these men to follow the State’s orders to perfection … and now the State convinces these order-following-soldiers that they are doing the will of both the State AND GOD for the betterment of mankind! Do you think they won’t shoot whomever they are commanded to shoot? This is most illogical. Maybe 5% or even 10% will still have an independent conscience but, unfortunately, most won’t win the Battle for their Minds.