Not long ago, I was embarrassed to read in the South Carolina Patriot, newsletter of the South Carolina League of the South (SCLOS), that the first goal of the SCLOS is to "implement God's laws as the acceptable standard of behaviour, adopting a Biblical world view." Whoo! I thought, that's a mighty bold statement. That won't go down easily in modern America. And the more I thought, the more embarrassed I became, not at our bold South Carolinians, but at myself and my thoroughly Empire-washed brain. My first embarrassment revealed how deeply the Imperial indoctrination has reached even into my professedly Christian mind. I moved from embarrassed to ashamed.
Following God's Law
Our Christian South Carolinians are requiring no more than Jesus Christ himself, who commanded His disciples, and all Christians after them: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)
If that sounds vague or obscure, to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus cleared the matter up: "If ye love me, keep my commandments... He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me... If a man love me, he will keep my words... He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love... Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (John 14 and 15, passim.) The Apostle John, secretary at that Last Supper, later reiterates Christ's words: "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." (1 John 5:2-3)
Change of Law = Change of God
The principle behind Christ's words is not limited to Christianity, but extends to every religion: a change of gods brings a change of laws. God determines law and imposes that law on society. Every religion demands obedience from its followers so that they can become like their god. Thus every religion brings with it, and imposes on society, the law of its god. All law expresses some religion, and all religions have a peculiar law. All law imposes some morality.
Muslims are famous for wanting to impose their own law, sharia. Having already yielded to so many Muslim demands, Great Britain is now being asked to make sharia the law of Britain, at least for Muslims. You can guess what will come after that.
That every religion imposes its own law on society holds true even for religions that claim they are not actually religions, like the fiercely anti-Christian secularism that presently rules the United States. So determined is this secularism to impose its law upon all and sundry, it is offended and will suppress any attempt even to pray in its presence or in any public venue anywhere. The god of secularism commands, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." He proclaims neutrality, but he practices warfare.
The god of secularism is a jealous god, so his followers must destroy all public morality that obeys the Christian God. Therefore they promote homosexuality and fornication and adultery to outrage the 7th commandment, and abortion to break the 6th. They overthrow Sabbath laws that give the weary workmen rest. They must prove that their god is as good, no, much better than, any other god. So they promote multiculturalism. Under the cover of inclusiveness, they exclude the Holy Trinity.
The point is obvious: either a nation will follow the law of Christ, or it will follow the law of some other god. Some religion underlies all law. At least Muslims honestly admit this; secularists deny it while in fact practicing it. In the past fifty or so years, they have very successfully imposed secularism's law on the Christian South. Meanwhile, Southerners blink like children awakened by a bright light, unaware what terrible thing has happened.
So the complaint, "You Christians are trying to impose your law on us secularists" is wily hypocrisy. The truth is, they have dismantled Christian law and imposed upon us the law of their alien god.
Isn't Biblical Law Silly and Cruel?
Secularists delight in taking oddities out of the Old Testament and displaying them as what Christians would impose. For example, they point to Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which provides that parents of a "stubborn and rebellious son," i.e., incorrigible son, can take him to the elders of the city, denounce him as stubborn and rebellious, and have him stoned. Yet these same denouncers of Christianity probably support "three strikes and you're out"sentencing, which merely applies the same principle to incorrigible criminals.
In fact, few Christians of any theological stripe recommend imposing Old Testament law on today's society. God gave much of that law to the Hebrew nation for their particular national and historical circumstances. For instance, they were required to fence the roofs of their houses. Why? Because people sat on those flat roofs in the evening and entertained there, and a fence prevented falling off to their deaths. With our slanted roofs, that law would make no sense, yet the general equity of it still applies. If you have a swimming pool, most states require you to fence it. Why? Because it might be a death trap to your unwary neighbour.
The heart of the law, the moral law expressed in the Ten Commandments, is eternally binding on all men everywhere. Nor is this so complicated that only lawyers can understand it. Jesus Christ summarized it, boiling it down to two simple commandments: "Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all thy heart and soul and mind. This is the first, and great, commandment, and the second is like unto it: thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two laws hang all the law, and the prophets." The requirements of Christian morality in a state, then, are not so exotic and recondite that persons of normal intelligence cannot understand and apply them - even legislators.
Christianity; The Law Of The Land
"I have been taught that Christianity is part of the law of the land. The four gospels upon the clerk's table admonish me it is so every time they are used in administering oaths... Law, reason, Christianity and common humanity, all point out one way."
Justice Whyte , Tennessee Supreme Court
William Fields v. State of Tennessee, 9 Tenn 156 (1829)
But I Don't Want Baptists Ruling Over Me!
Secularists deliberately paint a false picture of a "Christian nation," perverting it into a denominational dictatorship. That's a powerful argument because no Episcopalian wants to live under a Baptist dictatorship, any more than Baptists want to live under a Methodist dictatorship, or Roman Catholics under a Presbyterian dictatorship. Is that the death blow to a Christian nation?
Portraying the Christian nation as a denominational dictatorship is a classic straw man or false picture. It's an old debating trick designed to overthrow the truth by presenting a false picture of it.
No Christian in his right mind wants a state under a denominational dictatorship. Through one hundred years of bloody religious wars that depopulated large stretches of Europe and several hundred more years of mutual persecution, Christianity learned the hard way that a certain measure of tolerance must be allowed to minority views. This does not mean that any Christian must gag himself from witnessing the truth as he sees it, only that we do not put people to death over theological differences.
A Christian state is built not upon denominational differences, but upon a shared faith. The expression of that faith in the state is the law of the state. As Justice Whyte said, "I have been taught that Christianity is part of the law of the land. The four gospels upon the clerk's table admonish me it is so every time they are used in administering oaths.... Law, reason, Christianity and common humanity, all point out one way. (Fields v. Tennessee, 9 Tenn. 156, Tenn. Sup. Ct. 1829). M/
What Is A Christian State?
What is a Christian state then? And what sort of Christian state do we envision for a Christian South? A state is Christian when its law and behaviour are conformed to the image of Christ. A Christian state does not enforce the peculiar beliefs of any one sect but follows the moral law of Jesus Christ revealed in Holy Scripture. More than that we cannot say; less than that we will never accept.
Almost In The Confederate Constitution
The great Presbyterian theologian, James Henley Thornwell, who died in 1863, proposed that the CSA Constitution include the following confession. Unfortunately the Confederate Congress did not heed his suggestion.
"We, the people of these Confederate States, distinctly acknowledge our responsibility to God, and the supremacy of His Son, Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords; and hereby ordain that no law shall be passed by the Congress of these Confederate States inconsistent with the will of God, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures."
This article was first published in Vol. 3 No.2 of the Free Magnolia newspaper
Franklin Sanders, a resident of Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee, writes the monthly tabloid The Moneychanger, found at www.the-moneychanger.com.