Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Churchianity: Outsourcing Morality To The State

In two of my previous posts, I discussed churchianity, the elevation of the church over the Christ within American society.  It is a prevalent and shockingly persistent disease among modern American churches and it is one of the primary reasons that there are so many lukewarm (about 66% of Americans) Christians in the United States.

There is another aspect of churchianity that infests various churches and causes them to be impotent.  I touched on it in my second piece, but I’d like to visit it in more detail.  That is, the fact that many American churches outsource morality to the State, that is the governing authorities at all levels, rather than promote morality themselves.

This is a relatively new phenomenon within the United States, which started in the last half of the previous century as far as I can tell.  Before this, church was often considered to be the place the common person would go in order to seek answers to moral and ethical questions.  These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a pastor with a good answer to some tough moral quandaries.

This is a dangerous practice, especially in a society that run by a representative government where laws are passed by simple majority and therefore reflect the attitudes of 51% of society, instead of absolute truth.  In essence, the laws passed by those who are duly elected are subjective and can change at the whim of a small majority of people or even by judicial edict.

Is this a proper way to determine morality in society?  That is a simple yes or no question and if you give any answer more complex than that, you are fooling yourself.

Of course, when you confront people with this simple fact, they tend to ask questions like, “Isn’t murder immoral?”  Yes, of course murder is immoral.  But the State isn’t enforcing morality when it executes a convicted murderer.  It is enforcing justice.

Justice and morality are two very different things.  Justice is what happens when one person’s infractions on morality cause the harm to another person.  In essence, true justice is about bringing about restitution to those wronged by someone else.  In the case of murder, a life is required, though given the sheer ineptitude of the State to properly apply the death penalty, I oppose the death penalty.

Indeed, the State these days sees fit to simply punish the criminal rather than bring out restitution.  In many cases, I’ve found insurance companies to be better equipped at enforcing justice rather than the criminal court system.

Because of the mass confusion between morality and justice, our society has thus assumed that morality is dictated by the State.  In essence, anything that is illegal is also translated as immoral and very few people question it, except in rare, extreme instances.

The current privilege of American churches is that they can operate separate from the State.  And while the separation of Church and State has been misapplied in many cases, at the end of the day, churches can step up and assert the true morality and take authority over such matters if they had the will to do so.  Instead of being merely beacons of feel-good worship with feel-good sermons and a money plate passed around, a church can be a beacon of morality.

But churches are content to only take moral stances on easy things, like foreign oppression of foreign Christians.  It is easy to take a moral stand on things that do not directly affect the bottom line.  But how about making statements that risk IRS audits or enhanced NSA surveillance?  How about criticizing the President for the murder a 16-year-old boy whose only crime was trying to find his father in Yemen?  How about Pastors and Priests take a stand in the spirit of the late Archbishop Janani Luwum?

Because such things are hard to do, because being a moral leader is considered a dangerous proposition unless you are elected by the people.  And so, pastors concern themselves with thin and generic things instead of taking a fucking stand against the kingdom of Satan.