Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Devil's Christianity

Dear Hannah,

It might be prudent to confess, before getting too far along with this essay, that I have nothing against Pope Francis except his politics.  It isn't that he's rude or selfish or uninspiring; anyone with half a brain knows that Pope Francis is one of the kindest and most exciting public figures we've had in a while.  I simply have a problem with him saying horrible things, like that he knows many good Communists.

The reason I say this is because any sensible, humane person who's read the Communist Manifesto knows that if there's anything the Communist is against, it's goodness.  A universal record of rape, murder, torture and tyranny in general aside, the Communist is personally interested in taking children away from their parents, in a "community" of women (which is another way of saying that wives should be sexually shared), and in forcing his worldview on everyone else not by persuasion, but with guns.  Maybe a Communist is good, and he completely misunderstands the difference between helping someone and raping him.

It might be just as easy to say that someone is a good Nazi.  The Nazi, after all, killed millions for the good of his countrymen in an unjust war, and the Communist killed millions in the pursuit of an unjust "peace."  Both of them murdered people, and only one of them is still successfully murdering.  A real Communist dictator lives today in North Korea, tortures people daily, and is threatening to nuke us.  Pope Francis believes we can be friends.

Pope Francis says to the South Koreans that forgiveness and charity are the keys to Korean unification -- a noble sentiment, if someone is really asking for our forgiveness, and even nicer when they aren't trying to enslave you.  We may consider it fortunate for humanity, then, that the South Koreans are backed by The United States of America than Papa Francesco's little homilies.  If Jesus saves men from burning in Hell, America saves men from burning on earth.  Both are leaders of charitable organizations -- that is, one of which grants gifts to the homeless, and the other which protects your person and property.  What is charity, after all, if not a pursuit of your earthly happiness?

This goes to prove a very important point.  If anything could be said wrong with our modern political Christianity, it would be that it takes some of Christ's and Paul's commandments so literally and so universally (which is another way of saying so wrongly), that it mismanages justice in an attempt to be charitable, and makes the results of our "virtues" indistinguishable from those of our vices.  Instead of having the Pope dispose of your property and tell you how to speak, we have Christian leaders telling us that if we really want to be Christian, we should throw away our manly and respectable feelings about freedom of speech or protecting our families.  To this Christian there is no Evil Empire: George Washington is as good as Josef Stalin, and Madison is good as Mao.  The politicized Christianity of today is less romantic than suicidal.  It would rather burn itself to death like the Buddhist than be as manly as Joan of Arc.  Instead of saying give me liberty or give me death like Patrick Henry, it simply says give me misery and death like St. Polycarp.

To the great dishonor of both Christ and Christendom, Hitler's and Jesus' names are equally offensive in any discussion of politics.   Hitler's name is used to denounce our enemies for anything they want to do; and Christ's whenever we want our allies to do something they don't.  Any entitlement program that's fiscally and socially irresponsible, any law that's unjustly biased toward the poor or minority, any policy that's particularly effeminate or suicidal is Christian simply because we have to turn the other cheek and give of our possessions and go the extra mile.  Every terrorist and tyrant is a victim of the Devil, and our chief means of stopping them is prayer. 

Whatever these Christians say, I have a different way of looking at life.  The National Day of Prayer has dethroned zero tyrants; the armed and rebellious children of Jefferson have dethroned more than several.    Hope of conversion may be the engine that spurs the missionary; but politics is the realization that we have to live in a world populated by bad men.  Politics is the implicit statement that good men and dangerous men need not be different men.  If any sense is to be made of government at all, government must be the collective realization that justice and happiness are possible on earth, and that good men have a right to fight in the pursuit and protection of both, for themselves and for the good of all reasonable men within their territory.

Christianity and government are not mutually exclusive.  Both Christianity and government may coexist in the same nation, and even the same office. A Christian may be a better President because he keeps his promises to his own hurt, or because he serves the people instead of making himself rich.  But Christianity and politics serve different ends.  Christianity builds good men by giving them an eternal mindset: it purifies their motives; it causes them to examine their hearts personally before their hearts are examined publicly on Judgment Day.  But to organize and defend good men, we need good political science.  If I want to build a great nation on great principles, I'll go to Burke, Locke, Jefferson and Madison.  If I want to build a somewhat functional but barbaric one, I'll go to the Old Testament.  If I want to destroy one, I'll go to the New.

If God's been charitable to us it's because He's given us something more than the animals -- the ability to reason so that we can plan, build, and defend our mutual happiness; and we should all agree that if reason isn't for the happiness of the self or the family or the state, and a kind of charity in itself, then by a gracious God it wouldn't have been given.  And if God's given authority to men as the Apostle Paul states plainly, He's given it for the maintenance of that jurisdiction, for the happiness of that jurisdiction, and for the protection of those within our jurisdiction; and if the state exists for anything other than our mutual peace and happiness at the danger to all fools, layabouts, frauds, murderers, rapists and tyrants, then let us all agree that it should not exist.  If God's given us wisdom, it's so that we can recognize and defend ourselves against fools.  If God's given us a conscience and sentiments, it is so that we can be indignant at tyrants and communists, and protective of everything praiseworthy.

Your father,

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