Should Christians try to take control of the State for good ends?

26 Jan

John Zmirak examines the issue with the writing of Pius IX. Excerpt:

It seems clear that the public sphere in America is irretrievably secular. So the only logical response of Christians must be to try to shrink it. Instead of attempting to baptize a Leviathan which turned on us long ago, we’d do much better to cage and starve the beast. We should favor low taxes—period, regardless of the “good” use to which politicians promise to put it. We should oppose nearly every government program intended to achieve any aim whatsoever. We can make exceptions here and there: We can favor the protection of innocent lives, which would cover things like fixing traffic lights and throwing abortionists into prison. But that is pretty much that.  Christian public policy should focus not on capturing the power of the State but shrinking it, to the bare minimum required to enforce individual rights, narrowly defined.

See more here.

Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “Should Christians try to take control of the State for good ends?

  1. Ulysses

    January 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Why not both? Capture the power of the state to dismantle it rather than attempt to be better managers of the state.

    I’ve never claimed to be free of occasional flashes of idealistic naivete.

  2. Will S.

    January 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Good Zmirak essay. Makes sense to me.

    The problem, all too often, with social conservatives, is indeed that they would increase the power of the State to interfere in people’s lives, and even if that’s for good, it could just as easily be for ill. And other things they should care about, like reform of divorce and child custody laws, are completely off their radar.

    I’d much rather see the power of the State shrunk, and thus, its capacity to do ill, to continue to press a secularist, and therefore secularizing, agenda.

    Although in principle, Canada is not as ideologically committed to separation of church and state as the U.S. is, in practice, things are the same; in fact, we are further down the road of secularization, in large part because we are a more secular nation, with less believers to protest top-down imposition of secularization. I would happily see powers devolved back to the provinces, that once were, and out of the hands of our federal government, since most of the more rural provinces are more religious, overall, as is Alberta; better to let the most rabidly secularist provinces march all the faster down their foolish paths, while allowing the others to escape such, at least to some extent.

  3. Mark Slater

    January 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Excellent analysis. Too many self-described “conservatives” and “patriots” look at election day as though it were Judgment Day, to see if “their people” finally receive sufficient popular support to take the reigns of the Monster. These fail to realise that the monster *itself* is the enemy.

    No, patriots ought not seek to seize the reigns of power and attempt to “Christianize” it; rather, we should be seeking the diminution of the system itself. That is, cut it off to the original Constitution set up by the several states.

    Ulysses: “Capture the power of the state to dismantle it rather than attempt to be better managers of the state.”

    One does not seize power with the intention of relinquishing it (Orwell). Ron Paul may be an exception.

    • Ulysses

      January 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      @Mark Slater – I was thinking more of overtaking congress at the federal and state level, but I also wrote it was an idealized and naive assumption to expect a group to emerge from leviathan untainted.


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