Culture and Religion

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America’s Religious Roots

The BreakPoint article includes this conclusion: Because of its Judeo-Christian heritage, America has avoided the worst effects of humankind’s obsession with power.

This Breakpoint article was written many months after the invasion of Iraq (March 2003). The current administration is certainly obsessed with power. Iraq was an unprovoked invasion, seeking power (and permanent military bases) and oil. Countless atrocities have been committed there - torture of innocent civilians in the prison at Abu Graib, the destruction of Fallujah, the merciless killings of civilians (chronicled many times by many authors), even including the military targeting journalists.

As Mr Hoppe pointed out in his recent book (Democracy, the God that Failed), our ancestors (the pioneers, settlers and Founding Fathers) accomplished three things in turn: 1) creating a free and prosperous entity from scratch (what Mr Hoppe calls ‘a stateless, anarcho-capitalist social order), 2) breaking from its English rule (building on their experience in this new social order, they rebelled against the royal claim that the Americans could be taxed without their consent), and 3) creating a new country based on a new Constitution. The Constitution represents a mistake by our Founding Fathers, one that eventually lead to our current imperial-minded administration, representing what a democracy can become when all checks and balances have become dubious.

The Breakpoint article obviously liked to claim ‘Christian  ideas are at the heart of our democracy.’ Unfortunately, our Constitution is a symptom of a civilization decline not its advancement. The checks and balances intended by the framers to prevent abuse no longer exist in the current government (see the page on tyranny).

The Founding Fathers saw a king who regarded America as his property and Americans as his tenants. The Constitution put temporary caretakers in charge of justice and protection; their actions are short sighted and wasteful. As Murray Rothbard concluded ‘it is the government official who must take and run, who must plunder the property while he is still in command.’ The Constitution’s limited government is no longer constrained.

Civil rights and property rights are natural rights. They are not Christian ideas but rather derive from our human nature.

The Founding Fathers sought to create a limited government that did not interfere in everyday human affairs. As our republic has devolved into a democracy, the government continually grows in power while sapping the moral and economic strength of the country. I am not sure whether our current political situation is one worthy of a claim that it is rooted in the Christian religion.

One can only wonder whether the movement during the Bush administration to bring religious ideals (Christian?), like an intolerance for gays and lesbians, into government policies is also based on Christian ideals. Prayer in schools, posting of Christian artifacts (like the Ten Commandments) and faith-based initiatives (i.e., giving taxpayer money to religious endeavors) all seem rooted in Christian concepts, quite contrary to the First Amendment that sought to keep religion and government separate (which was not the case with the Church of England at the time). The recent acceptance of torture by our leaders also could be based on Christian ideals, in that some of our leaders (political and religious) propose we are involved in a global conflict of religions and torture is one of many possible methods to extract information from anyone having a remote possibility of knowledge that can help this conflict. This suggestion can be derived from the religious view (Christian?) that either you are working for God’s will or against His will.

The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:

(http://www.pfm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Parents &TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay

created - Feb 2005
last change - 03/03/2005
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