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 anyone who's read the Communist Manifesto -- any sensible, humane person, anyhow -- 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 by strength of arms.  If a Communist is good, I suppose he might be good insofar as he cares about other people so much, that he's even willing to go to war with them and debauch their wives and alienate their children; or in other words, he might be good because he's such a gigantic fool, that 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; the Communist killed millions for the good of his countrymen in an unjust "peace."  Both of them murdered people -- only one is still successfully murdering.  A real Communist dictator lives today in North Korea.  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; a wonderful teaching, if it weren't for the belligerent, murderous tyrant interested in enslaving each and every one of us.  We may consider it fortunate for humanity, then, that the South Koreans are backed by something stronger than Papa Francesco's little kisses and homilies: most notably an armed and dangerous defender of liberty known as the United States of America.  If Jesus saves men from burning in Hell, America saves men from burning on earth.  Both are leaders of charitable organizations; that is, if charity concerns not only a granting of gifts, but also a protection of person and property.  And certainly we can agree that if Christians are to be charitable, our charity has to do something with our 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 shouldn't have manly and respectable feelings about defending freedom of speech or protecting our property.  Apparently there is no Evil Empire: George Washington is Josef Stalin, and Madison is Mao.  In essence, the politicized Christianity of today is not only less romantic, but it's radically more 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 not only Christendom, but also of our God and Savior, Hitler's and Jesus' names are equally offensive in any discussion of politics.  The former is used to denounce our enemies for anything they want to do; and the latter is used to encourage our friends whenever we want them 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 living.  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 those still unconverted to reason, to justice, and to responsibility.  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 and presently, 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 will go to the Old Testament.  If I want to destroy one, I will go to the New.

If God has been charitable to us, He has been charitable in that, unlike what He's given to the animals, He has given us the ability to reason so that we may plan, build, and defend our mutual happiness; and let us all agree that if reason is not 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 would not have been given.  If God has 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 has given us wisdom, it is so that we can recognize and defend ourselves from fools.  If God has given us a conscience and sentiments, it is so that we can be indignant at tyrants and communists, and protective of all praiseworthy men.

Your father,

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