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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


Church and Empire

Stephen W. Carson, in his latest article, describes the connection between evangelical Christians and George W. Bush. He likens the relationship to the one early Christians had with the Roman emperor Constantine:
    Eusebius and the other Christians at the time actually had fairly good reason to be thankful for the ascendancy of Constantine. The early church had been persecuted numerous times by the Roman Empire. Eusebius' own beloved teacher Pamphilus had been martyred in a recent persecution. When Constantine seemed to genuinely be a Christian and work to stop persecutions of Christians it came as a great relief.

    In a very roughly similar way, conservative American evangelical Christians have felt besieged by a secular elite seemingly determined to undermine their way of life through what Murray Rothbard described as "multicultural, socialistic, condomaniacal, anti-Christian public schooling" and in many other ways. Clearly, the parallel is in one sense weak. American Christians have not been fed to the lions. Nevertheless, psychologically Christians have felt besieged. So just as with the arrival of Constantine, the arrival of first Reagan and much more significantly George W. Bush, who has really made a point of speaking to Christian evangelicals in their language, has meant a feeling of real empowerment after many decades of feeling excluded from the mainstream of society.
Carson explains that Bush, like Constantine before him, helped further the intertwining of church and state:
    The division between the Empire and the Church began to blur with, for example, Emperor Constantine playing a key role in calling the theologically crucial First Council of Nicea. This process of blurring the lines has already begun in our own time with programs like the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Carson goes on to point out that "the Roman Empire's embrace of Christianity was an attempt to sustain the Empire with the vitality of the Christian movement. That is, the Empire needed the Church, not the other way around. ... Similarly, the American Empire has lurched forward with renewed energy now that the evangelicals are on board."

The church needs to remember its mission. Becoming another tool for the Empire isn't it.

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