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Politics is about community governance: polity. Because we are citizens in a democracy, Christians in America are entitled to participate extensively in the political process. This can cause conflict with fellow-citizens, and it often produces backlash on the Church. On the Ethics Page are a number of articles on theonomy. Those address the proper extent of Christian participation and control in the community. This Politics Page is more about the relation between the State and the Individual, the interaction between our public and private spheres. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. But don't give Caesar more than his due.

For the record, America is not a Christian nation; it was not intended to be a Christian nation; and theologically speaking, it cannot be a Christian nation. Nations cannot place their faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation; only individuals can do that. But America has been a nation of Christians; and that has helped to influence America's politics, culture,  laws, and education, often for the better. Even so, the presence of Christians cannot make a nation "Christian."

The late James Montgomery Boice wrote that Augustine (in City of God) "distinguished between two entirely different societies: the city of man, which is characterized by self-love, and the City of God, composed of those who love God and want to serve him. The city of man will never be God's city. It has a different origin, progresses along a separate path, and is moving to a radically different end. Yet those who are members of God's city are nevertheless in the world and need to conduct themselves as a renewing force within it." That's what Christians did in America for nearly two centuries; they were its salt and light. But the light is now dim, and the salt isn't as salty...

How can I say that? Well, consider the evidence:
A moral people will not tolerate immoral leadership; and an immoral people will not tolerate moral leadership. Thus we always have the government we deserve. If we have immoral leaders, then we have become an immoral or an indifferent people; and Christianity will become increasingly intolerable...

Classics

Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers

During the formation of the United States government, and preceding the adoption of its Constitution, a series of letters were sent by three men in support of the proposed Constitution to the editors of a number of prominent newspapers, from October of 1787 to April of 1788. These men were John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. The composite of what they wrote is arguably the finest treatise ever written on political philosophy. It reflects the heart and soul of the American system of government, and the intent of its founders. Forty-six of the letters advocate a strong central government under which certain rights were reserved to the states – this shared system of state and federal control, emphasizing central control, is called federalism; and its adherents were known as federalists. Hence, the collective title of these papers. To encourage a fair reading on the merits of the case presented, they each signed their letter “Publius.”

 

In our current era, the Executive branch is striving to reassert its independence. It wants to be acknowledged as a "separate but equal" federal branch, rather than being a mere agent of the Legislative Branch; it believes it has been kept on a short leash by the Judicial Branch far too long. Meanwhile, the Judicial Branch continues to exercise legislative and executive powers which the Founders never intended. They understood that the federal Judiciary would be tempted to abuse its power because it is unelected, and therefore unaccountable. The Constitution thus restricts the Judicial domain to judging the laws and their enforcement against a strictly constructed Consititution. The NSA lawsuit of 2006 reflects this ongoing struggle for power and control between the three branches that I described 30 years ago. The Leviathan grows because the American people have been convinced that government is somehow a force for good rather than a necessary evil. I believe our Founders would be appalled at the thought.


 

 

 

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