Wednesday, April 10, 2013

First Amendment Failure: Why Every Town Needs an Established Creed

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . - First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution has failed.  It could do no other.  For a government cannot be neutral toward religion.  Its laws and actions will be based upon one religious creed or another, and it will direct its citizens - passively or actively, gently or forcefully - to follow that same creed, worship that same deity, which the government itself honors, when tolerance is prescribed by law.

Its original purpose - allowing those States with established churches at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified to continue such arrangements without fear of interference by the federal government - was to allow for local decision-making regarding the relationship between the churches and the State and local governments. 

But as the different sections of the country began to drift further apart religiously, the thin veneer of federal neutrality toward religion (which, at times, did indeed become a friendship with a vaguely defined Protestant Christianity) wouldn’t last long.  Humanism - manworship - and nationalism - worship of the grand salvific empire - have filled the articles of the federal government’s creed for some decades now, and in the 20th and 21st centuries, the mask of nominal Christianity has mostly been removed to reveal it.

The reader will recognize the catalogue of proofs:  legalizing child-killing and pornography, inventing rights for same-sex couples and other perversions, breaking up families and encouraging sloth through ‘welfare’ handouts, banning Christian prayers and instruction in the Church’s teachings at public schools, now going so far as to force Christian organizations to pay for health insurance coverage of birth control drugs and abortions.  And the rest of it.

This is not to be wondered at.  For pretending that government at any level can be neutral toward religion will only make a people subject to its whims as to what should be worshipped, and how:

‘The famed tolerance or freedom of religion in democratic states is only apparent. Or rather, it can be real only for a time, until the State works out its own ruling ideology and applies it consistently. For, as Tikhomirov writes, “if a state, as law and power, removes itself from being linked with a determinate confession, that is, from the influence of a religious confession on its own religious politics, it becomes the common judge of all confessions and subjects religion to itself. All relations between the various confessions and the rights of them all must, evidently, be decided by the state that is set outside them, which is governed exclusively by its own ideas on justice and the good of the state and society. In this situation it evidently has the complete right and opportunity to carry out repressions whenever, in its opinion, the interests of a confession contradict civil and political interests”’ (Vladimir Moss, Autocracy, Despotism and Democracy, Part I: The Age of Faith (to 1453), 2013, p. 447; available at <>.  Quote of Tikhomirov from L. A. Tikhomirov, Religiozno-philosophskie osnovy istorii (The Religio-Philosophical Foundations of History), Moscow, 1997, p. 269.).

Furthermore, such tolerance or neutrality brings with it other problems of great moment:  ‘Of course, variety adds colour to life. We yearn for it. We cannot imagine life without it. But if diversity becomes the highest principle, then there can be no universal human values, and making one's own values the yardstick of another person's opinions is ignorant and brutal. If there is no right and wrong, what restraints remain? If there is no universal basis for it there can be no morality. 'Pluralism' as a principle degenerates into indifference, superficiality, it spills over into relativism, into tolerance of the absurd, into a pluralism of errors and lies. You may show off your ideas, but must say nothing with conviction. To be too sure that you are right is indecent. So people wander like babes in the wood. That is why the Western world today is defenceless; paralysed by its inability any longer to distinguish between true and false positions, between manifest Good and manifest Evil, by the centrifugal chaos of ideas, by the entropy of thought. 'Let's have as many views as possible - just as long as they're all different!' But if a hundred mules all pull different ways the result is no movement at all.

‘In the whole universal flux there is one truth - God's truth, and, consciously or not, we all long to draw near to this truth and touch it. A great diversity of opinions has some sense if we make it our first concern to compare them so as to discover and renounce our mistakes. To discover the true way of looking at things, come as close as we can to God's truth, and not just collect as many 'different' views as we can’ (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, ‘Our Pluralists’, Survey, vol. 29, no. 2 (125), 1985, pp. 1-2; quoted in Vladimir Moss, Twelve Lectures on the Theology of Politics, 2009, p. 96; available at <>).

Neither will these problems be solved by electing the right Republican or Democrat to federal office or by packing the U.S. Supreme Court with so-called conservatives.  Most federal officials care not a wit about the greater part of the folk but about the opinion of a few elite, or about pleasing their large money donors.  There must instead be recognition of truths that will be difficult for some to accept.

Truth 1:  The sections of the United States are too different to be governed justly by one national government as it is currently constituted.  (The same holds true even for the sections within some individual States.)  Federal power must be dispersed to its proper place, person, organization, etc., or else the cultural clash between progressives and traditionalists across the continent will continue unabated for years to come.

Truth 2:  This dispersion effected, each community at some level (town, county/parish, state) must declare and establish its religion so as to allow every family to know whether they wish to live under thus-and-such a faith.

Since it is unlikely that the hoped-for dispersion of federal power will occur soon, it is perhaps best for locals to begin preparing their creedal declarations now, regardless of bluster about federal lawsuits, etc.

For Christians, the aim in all this ought to be what the Orthodox have usually termed the symphony between Church and state, in which there is not mutual antagonism among the two, each jealously vying for some paltry scrap of earthly power, but rather cooperation so that the soul of every man, woman, and child might find salvation in Jesus Christ through his Holy Orthodox Church. 

The role of the state in this one ‘divine-human communion’ (James L. Kelley, Anatomizing Divinity: Studies in Science, Esotericism and Political Theology, Walterville, Or.: Trine Day LLC, 2011, p. 106) of the Christian people ‘is to protect and strengthen the Orthodox Faith and Church, just as the purpose of the body is to protect the soul and carry out its will’ (Vladimir Moss, Twelve Lectures, p. 32.  For more details on the Orthodox perspective of the relationship between Church and state, see Moss, Twelve Lectures, pgs. 25-34, and Kelley, pgs. 103-8.). 

Whatever creed is chosen, however, let the people, ‘church’, and government of that place declare it plainly and forthrightly and hew to it, to gain for itself some measure of protection against the arbitrary decrees of exclusively state-imposed and -controlled religion and against a chaotic and lying society, which faithfulness even to an heretical religion like Hinduism or Confucianism can give in some degree.  

The First Amendment’s religion clause and similar clauses like it in state and local charters must be seen for the farce that they are, and fervently plucked out and rejected, and one faith clearly declared and defined in every town and village for the people therein - if ever there is to be peaceful life in and among the States of this unfortunate union again.

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