Many conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have some peculiar ideas about government.
They confound obedience to the state with obedience to God. They think that reciting their “obey the powers that be” mantra overturns the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” They think that chanting “Romans 13” puts a divine stamp of approval on U.S. wars and militarism. They think that because the Bible says to “obey magistrates” that they should support the government’s troops. They think that because the Bible says to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man” that they should support U.S. foreign policy. They think that because the Jews in the Old Testament warred against heathen nations that that justifies the actions of the U.S. military. They think that because the New Testament mentions soldiers that Christians have divine sanction to join the U.S. military. They think that GOP stands for God’s Own Party.
Yet, if the government actually said to do any of the following things, most, if not all, conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians would be willing to suffer whatever penalty the state choose to inflict for refusal, including death, or do these things only under torture, threats to harm their children, or great duress:
- Deny Christ
- Commit adultery
- Reject the Bible as the word of God
- Participate in an orgy
- Accept evolution as a scientific fact
- Attend a same-sex wedding
- Renounce Christianity
- Submit to Sharia law
- Take the Lord’s name in vain
- Perform a homosexual act
- Smoke a joint
- Commit blasphemy
- Desecrate an American flag
- Force their wife or daughter have an abortion
- Bow down to Barack Obama
- Turn in their Bibles to be burned
- Vote for a Democrat
- Pray to Allah
- Read Hustler magazine
- Listen to NPR
- Harm a child
- Destroy their neighbor’s house
- Turn off FOX news
- Plant a bomb
- Desecrate a Bible
- Kill a stranger
- Make their wife or daughter wear a hijab
- Watch a pornographic video
- Have an RFID chip implanted
- Have a bar code tattooed on their upper arm
- Limit their family to one child
- Smoke crack
- March in a gay pride parade
- Cease praying in the name of Jesus
- Torture someone
Yes, I am being redundant, repetitious, and ridiculous.
I am merely trying to establish beyond any doubt and without any reservation whatsoever that there are literally hundreds of things that conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians would not do if the government told them to.
Yet, many of these Christians attempt to justify their support for the U.S. government, its military, its foreign policy, and its wars by appealing to Scripture, specifically:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:1-5)
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, (Titus 3:1)
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king; as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Peter 2:13-14)
But not only is being subject to, obeying, and submitting to the government never an absolute thing, because “we ought to obey god rather than men” (Acts 5:29), since the unjust and unnecessary war on terror began after 9/11, no government ordinance or magistrate has ever decreed that anyone support the troops, pray for the troops, join the military, thank the troops for their service, honor veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, applaud soldiers in airports, recognize military personnel in churches, transform sporting events into military worship services, believe that we must fight them “over there” so we don’t have to fight them “over here,” and turn holidays like the Fourth of July into military appreciation days.
This means that Christians apologists for the state, its military, and its wars are warmongers voluntarily, of their own free will, and of their own accord.
Religion and the Bible have nothing to do with it.
When I read or hear some Christian armchair warrior, Christian Coalition moralist, evangelical warvangelical, Catholic just war theorist, reich-wing Christian nationalist, theocon Values Voter, imperial Christian, religious American exceptionalist, religious military exceptionalist, Red-State Christian fascist, pro-lifer for mass murder, bloodthirsty Christian conservative, nuclear Christian, God and country Christian bumpkin, or Religious Rightist try to justify his support for the government or its military by referring to religion or the Bible, I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably, scream at the top of my lungs, or just throw up.
Many conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have some peculiar ideas about government, but they certainly cannot be blamed on religion or the Bible.