The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Freedom”

The Irony of Independence Day

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By Andrew Isker

Today as an American, if you were to log into social media, turn on the television, or even step outside your front door, you would hear the refrain, “I am thankful for our freedom, because we live in America.” While it is good to celebrate the few freedoms we do have left, to do so without any idea of where we came from and where we are going is utterly foolish.

That we have more freedom than, say, the subjects of the Soviet Union or Mao’s China, is not up for debate. We are not forced to starve on collectivist farms, nor herded into a gulag if we complain about it. And for all I know, today America might be the most free country in the entire world. But Americans in 2013 are far less free than Americans in 1776. For that matter, Americans in 2013 are far less free than Americans in 2012. This country would be unrecognizable to 18th century Americans. And it wouldn’t be (just) because of airplanes, iPhones, and automobiles. It would be because we think a people who are spied on, who are compelled to pay onerous taxes, and who are so enslaved to lust they would murder one million babies per year are free. If one were to look at the list of grievances against King George III in the Declaration of Independence, almost all of them could be levied against our government, and in fact, far more damning grievances could be added if the document was written with the U.S. Federal Government, rather than the British Monarch, in mind: 

 “He has intruded upon the privacy of a free people, and has protected the criminals who tread upon our rights.”

 “He has furnished the heathen with arms, allowing him to slaughter our good Christian brethren.”

 “He has perverted the institutions of our society; he has called evil ‘good’ and good ‘evil.’”

 “He has played the whore with houses of commerce, and willfully aided their despicable machinations.”

 It should be noted, that while 1776 is a good historical marker to show how much our freedom has diminished, to set that time up as a standard for freedom is idolatrous. Our ultimate standard for what freedom and a free people looks like must be the Word of God, not the ideals of 18th Century secessionists (who, lest we forget, were largely guided by a biblical idea of freedom). And the only way for freedom to be restored in this country is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ to sweep across the country. And when that comes, celebration of Independence Day will no longer be ironic.

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Mother of Ten: “Abandon the slavery of the coercive boot camp of the state.”

Carmon Friedrich started with “We are often told we have freedom of choice in this country, but in things that really matter, our choices are growing increasingly limited.”

She is pointing out the apparent hypocrisy in the current political climate to favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but not the right to choose “to control our lives.” Read more…

Down South: Southern Baptists convene amid declining overall numbers

By Thomas Kidd

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Houston in June, and although the assembly did not witness any of the spectacular controversies that have marked previous SBC meetings, it nevertheless confronted some hotly debated topics.

The meeting’s most anticipated issue concerned the SBC and the Boy Scouts. Some had predicted that the SBC would endorse a full-fledged boycott of the Scouts for the group’s recent decision to admit openly gay boys as members. But the actual resolution stopped short of a boycott, expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision” and calling for the removal of Boy Scouts executive leaders who supported the change.

SBC representatives (called “messengers”) also passed a resolution exhorting member congregations about their “legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities.” Its sponsor, Peter Lumpkins, crafted the statement in response to a lawsuit alleging abuse cover-ups by leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), including its founder, C.J. Mahaney. A judge dismissed the case against SGM pastors in May, citing statute of limitation requirements. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM in April. Prominent Baptist leaders Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church expressed their individual support for Mahaney in a public statement in May. Read more…

How National Surveillance Arrogance Projects Its Faults On Others: James Woolsey Is the One Who Should Go To Prison!

by Mark Horne

A simple summary of what has happened: The government has secretly provided itself with a secret interpretation of the laws passed by Congress that it then secretly applies and used laws of secrecy to bind all who knew the truth about what the government was doing to secrecy.

I leave aside what might or might not be the full scope of the PRISM program and simply point out that the collection of phone data from Verizon is patently illegal, an obvious violation of the Fourth Amendment.

This Administration, and surely the Bush Administration as well, arrogated to itself the right to defecate on the Fourth Amendment and threaten anyone who told the American people about what it was doing with severe penalties.

The full depth of this arrogance comes out in James Woolsey’s projection of his own sin onto Edward Snowden’s character.

I think Mr. Snowden had no right to arrogate to himself the right to decide where to strike the balance between liberty and security. As President Obama pointed out a couple of days ago this balance has to be struck, and the court system, particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, the Executive Branch, the President, the Attorney General, and the Congress with the Reviews by the Congressional Committees every few months… this has been a very precisely crafted system for making the decision about where to strike the balance between liberty and security. And Snowden arrogated that entire decision to himself.

No he didn’t. Snowden didn’t arrogate any decision to himself. He simply took it from Woolsey’s small group of friends and gave it back to the American people to decide.

The precisely crafted system was the Fourth Amendment. It is clear and precise in its wording. That system was over thrown by a small group of people who were all compelled by threats of laws if they allowed anyone else to know what was going on. The members of the Congressional Committees were not able to exert any leverage on policy because they were required not to talk about it. They simply were drafted into a pseudo-democratic rubber stamp system. The FISA court is even more of a joke, long known as a system that rubber stamps whatever the regime wants. But the Verizon phone records obviously far exceed any authority of the FISA court.

And all talk of democracy is pure deception in such a context. No politician can campaign on issues he is not permitted to talk about. No politician can be held accountable for practices that he demands be kept secret.

The bottom line is that Woolsy’s oligarchy were the ones to arrogate to themselves the right to cancel the Constitution and decide where they wanted to “strike the balance.” They are a criminal conspiracy and they deserve to be exposed and prosecuted as enemies of the American people. If the terrorists “hate us for our freedoms,” we can add the charge of aiding and abetting the enemy. For these oligarchs have obviously pursued a campaign of appeasement.

Snowden didn’t arrogate any decision for himeslf. He, rather, exposed to daylight those who had arrogated the power to themselves in darkness.

So, naturally, Woolsey wishes life imprisonment upon Snowden. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. Either most of our present (and past?) executive branch are no less than pirate raiders, criminals who need to be prosecuted; or Snowden is guilty of a crime. Woolsey wants his native oligarchy to remain in power. Snowden must be sacrificed for that to happen.

Anarchy, The State, And Christendom: Thinking About the Military

Let us think of the American military as we have it now and as we have known it since World War II. The military has a welcome place with Evangelicals because we know that government is supposed to protect us and the military is the government’s agency for that purpose. It is supposed to protect the American people from hostile invaders.

As clear as this seems to be, there are problems. In the first place, even though Evangelicals are correct that political leaders should lead in protecting their people from alien invaders, it still doesn’t make sense for those who honor the Bible to lobby for military buildups or technology. For it is written:

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,” you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose… Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, “You shall never return that way again.” And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Horses, I am told, were the “war machine” of the ancient world. They allowed you to use chariots. This gave you equipment for your army that most people would not be able to afford or match. Naturally, such a build up would both require silver and gold as well as promise to be a means to acquire such silver and gold.

How does the military measure up? Read more…

Can North Carolina Make Christianity Its Official Religion?

Rowan CountyThomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

North Carolina legislators recently made an ill-fated attempt to introduce Christianity as the state’s official religion. The move was precipitated by an ACLU lawsuit against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, a board notorious for allowing people to utter Jesus’s name in prayers at their meetings. The establishment proposal generated a predictably breathless response from the left. WaPo’s Alexandra Petri sarcastically wrote, “The North Carolina state legislature can totally establish a state religion. The Founders specifically said so in Article III, in the part where the letters “EXCEPT NORTH CAROLINA CAN DO WHAT IT WANTS” appear in bold flashing letters.” Read more…

Further Reflections on Anarchy

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Over the last four weeks, I’ve offered a series of critiques on anarcho-capitalism. I believe anarchy is an unworkable concept because it is self-refuting; in practice it cannot operate within its premises consistently. I’ve attempted to show that it assumes conformity to an unproven principle and that it cannot deliver its promise of better, more effective justice. In this last installment I’d like to make a few more observations.

1) Christian anarchists deny the nature of God’s courtroom.

In the opening chapters of the Bible, God sets up angels at the gate of the garden to prevent sinful man from eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). The use of force is specifically described: God drove man out of the garden and if man tried to enter he would be killed. Adam was to be the guard of the garden but he failed. The angels were sent to do what Adam didn’t. This is relevant to our topic because it shows that God gives judicial authority to humanity. Later on in Scripture, the elders at the gate of each city were the judges with authority to punish and execute (Deut. 22:13-21, 25:5-10).  This creates a parallel between earthly rulers and heavenly rulers. To deny it is to ignore how the Bible is written.

God makes humanity stewards of creation to rule and reign. Jesus is the Gardener, he makes us gardeners. Jesus is the Shepherd, he makes us shepherds. Jesus is the Judge, he makes us judges. As images of God, this is the foundational way we mirror his sovereignty. The institution of civil government is set up by God to reflect his courtroom, his government. Read more…

Private Justice vs. Biblical Justice

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Anarcho-capitalists believe that all government services can be provided satisfactorily and more efficiently by the free market, including law enforcement. In their ideal society, judicial services would be offered by private agencies just like any other good or service. This must be the case if all taxation is inherently immoral.  Murray Rothbard explains:

Defense in the free society…would therefore have to be supplied by people or firms who (a) gained their revenue voluntarily rather than by coercion and (b) did not—as the State does—arrogate to themselves a compulsory monopoly of police or judicial protection. Only such libertarian provision of defense service would be consonant with a free market and a free society. Thus, defense firms would have to be as freely competitive and as noncoercive against noninvaders as are all other suppliers of goods and services on the free market.” – Man, Economy and State, chapter 13

What this means is that within any given territory, multiple judicial agencies would open up and compete for your business. Different agencies would provide different services based on different standards of law. Hypothetically, you could have a Muslim agency that operates under sharia law and a Christian agency that operates under biblical law. You simply pick which company you prefer. When two people are in conflict, their respective agencies will deliberate until they agree on the appropriate conviction and punishment. Rothbard admits that this could not work unless all agencies followed the non-aggression principle: Read more…

Is All Taxation Theft?

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

In chapter two of For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard writes:

…The State habitually commits mass murder, which it calls ‘war,’ or sometimes ‘suppression of subversion’; the State engages in enslavement into its military forces, which it calls ‘conscription’; and it lives and has its being in the practice of forcible theft, which it calls ‘taxation.’”

While all of these accusations may be true, they don’t always have to be.

Read more…

A Christian Critique of the Non-Aggression Principle

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Congressman Ron Paul’s breakout in the public eye during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election cycles has made limited government – or “minarchy” – a popular concept across America, especially with young people. Other politicians such as Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Thomas Massie are carrying the principles of limited government forward, with conservatives rallying behind Rand as a potential nominee for president in 2016. This libertarian stream within the GOP has been known as the tea party, the liberty movement, or simply a return to the Constitution. Call it what you will, there’s no denying its influence in the political sphere.

Riding the coattails of this movement are the anarcho-capitalists. LewRockwell.com, a self-professed anarchist blog, has become a go-to resource for anyone who wishes to see civil government restrained to any degree. The site has a mixed bag of contributors including Ron Paul and theocrat Gary North. Though anarchists and minarchists share opposing worldviews they agree on many issues and are working towards a common goal, at least for the time being. Read more…

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