Column by Robert Taylor.
Exclusive to STR
"So in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." ~ Matthew 7:12
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy 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 commandments hang all the law and the prophets." ~ Matthew 37:40
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." ~ Matthew 5:9
It is truly amazing what politics and the State have done to Christianity--and nowhere is this more evident than the recent GOP "debate" in South Carolina. While Newt received raucous applause and standing ovations as he reveled in thirst for Muslim blood, Ron Paul was booed and jeered for arguing in favor of Christ's admonition and a Golden Rule foreign policy.
This is what the evil Republicans have done to the good and decent instincts of most Christians. They have accused "the Left" of wanting to destroy their religion, their country, and their way of life while advocating a Mussoliniesque program of torture, endless war, empire--and wallowing in it.
While wrapping their socialism, statism, and megalomania is "family values," they rail against abortion while turning a blind eye to the mass murder of innocents committed by the US government overseas in order to get the Evangelical vote. Paul is the only candidate up there--probably the only national politician--who is consistently pro-life: anti-abortion, anti-war, and anti-capital punishment. Like John the Baptist screaming in the wilderness, Paul is more prophet than politician, and a statesman--and more importantly, he represents a philosophy--that any Christian who truly values the words and deeds of Christ should support.
When Romney or Santorum or Newt or any other of these fascists takes over the White House and government spending skyrockets and nothing that Christ valued is even remotely closer to a reality, I will have no pity for those who cheered on the bloodshed. You reap what you sow.
I only hope that this will make Christians realize that ethics and morality are completely and utterly destroyed by the State, politics, elections, and the right of some individuals to defy natural law and claim for themselves the right to initiate aggression against the innocent with no punishment, accountability, or apology. And although nearly all political movements try to claim Jesus as a champion of their philosophy, like nearly all great historic and prophetic figures in history, Jesus was essentially an anarchist.
Throughout his life and teaching, Jesus attempted to separate the peaceful order of civil society away from the coercive state--in his case, the Roman Empire. At the time of Jesus's birth, Rome was a large, centralized, and stratified empire, saddled with the bureaucracy of a standing army and a welfare state, and the de facto "world's policeman" through Pax Romana (sound familiar?).
Under this "Pax," all were subject to an excise tax, and eventually the Israelites as well relied on Rome's police protection--and with that, all of the blessings of government goodies. With the influence of Romans and Pharisees, a welfare state was imposed on the Israelites in Judea, and people soon began to look with envy eyes on their neighbor's possessions while electing politicians to bring home the loot. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus condemns the Pharisees and their influence in Israel for this top-down governance of society, for imposing a tax on Jewish temples that fed the coffers of the Judean government, and for overturning Moses's kosmos of free will offerings distributed by ministers to serve the needy.
When brought before Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world." Jesus was telling Pilate that he and his followers were not subject to the laws, dictates, and edicts of Rome, that the Roman state had no jurisdiction over his private, stateless kingdom. The horizontal, decentralized, bottom-up, and fundamentally anarchic society that Jesus had founded stood in stark and dire contrast from the Roman Imperial model. As his ideas spread like fire, an order based on institutionalized theft, barbarism, murder, and violence like the Roman State did the only thing it could do when faced with such a threat to its interests and condemned Jesus to brutal torture and death. But as Mises argued, an idea cannot be wiped out by any army, force, or state.
Jesus essentially created a stateless society in the middle of the largest empire the world had ever known at the time, an alternative order to the coercive slavery of man-made law, man-made idols, and man-made empire. No man, especially Caesar, was "Father," Jesus said, "Thou Father art in Heaven." The law of individual freedom and the inalienable rights of men stemmed not from the rule of fallible men in palaces, but from God and our nature. If the Golden Rule that governs private society implies anarchy, so be it! Withdraw your consent, he said. Peace, non-violence, and voluntarism are the alternatives to empire and the welfare-warfare state.
But thanks to politics and scheming Republicans, proud declarations of affinity for razing countries to pieces from the air is lauded and sacrificing, killing, and dying for the state is the highest honor. This is how predominantly Christian South Carolina could boo and jeer someone advocating the Golden Rule--the very essence of Christ's message and philosophy.
Republicans deserve a lion's share of the blame for this disgusting appeal to nationalism and for waving the bloody flag of war in Christ's name, but Evangelicals, too, should be ashamed of themselves for applauding Caesar's war machine.
Jesus pointed his finger at Caesar, spread the truth about his lack of clothes, and tried to liberate the Kingdom away from those who would loot, plunder, and tax in order for men to be free, both personally and spiritually.
Here's hoping those who follow Jesus will listen.