Politics and the Church – Extrication From the Shoal Waters [Part 33]

Seeing that the estuary we went down is nothing more than an alternative to failure, we will go back out into the ‘shoal waters’ and look at what got our ‘ship of state’ there to begin with.  While the past several months have been slanted to the ‘negative’, once we get the full picture of our situation I will offer up solutions that I have thus far found.  I realize that some of the ‘crew’ will not agree and either threaten mutiny or abandon ‘ship’ leaving themselves to drift into eternity totally aimless in their efforts.  Our ‘ship of state’ is a great ship and God, the ‘ship’s Master’, truly wants us to find the way to safety but the decision is ours.  Let’s now take a look at ‘national defense’ and our Founder’s ‘take’ on it from the Biblical point of view as compared to how some today look at the need for nation defense

If governments have a moral responsibility to defend their nations from attacks, then the first point of application to the United States is that it should have enough military power to be able to defeat any other nation or combination of nations that has the potential to attack it. Someone holding a pacifist position might claim that military weaponry itself increases tension and instability in the world.  This claim comes from an underlying assumption that the ultimate cause of evil is not in the hearts of human beings but is in some influence outside of human beings.  A Christian worldview understands that there is both good and evil in every human heart and also that in some people the tendency toward evil becomes so powerful that those people cannot be reached by reason or negotiation or compromise, but can only be restrained by superior power of a just government.  Military weapons for governments are God-ordained and are not themselves the cause of evil. Today protecting America and the rights of its citizens appears to no longer be a primary purpose of government.  Jesus affirmed in Matthew 6:21 that you can tell where someone’s priorities are by where their resources are placed.  Until this year the president and Congress have decided to steadily shrink the defense budget year after year…[Brad Plumer, “America’s Staggering Defense Budget, in Charts”, Washington Post, January 7, 2013].  Currently only 20% of the national budget is spent for defense [Ibid].  That percentage was much higher in previous generations.  Defense spending was 39% of the federal budget in 1795 under President George Washington; 70% under President James Madison in 1815; 47% under President John Quincy Adams in 1825; 57 % under President Andrew Jackson in 1835, and so on. [Ibid].  This higher percentage was reflective of the belief of Americans that the primary purpose of government was protection… to protect citizens in their persons and also to protect their God-given and constitutional rights.  George Washington explained, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace”. [George Washington, “First Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union”, January 8, 1790].  Just as it was the responsibility of government to protect the borders and homeland of citizens, Thomas Jefferson affirmed: “The persons and property of our citizens are entitled to the protection of our government in all places where they may lawfully go”. [Jefferson, Writings, vol. 7. pg.624].

The Bible affirms that God ordained government to protect citizens and to administer justice (Romans 13:3-4, 6) but that He placed social programs firmly in the hands of the individual, the family, and the church…not the government.  From a Biblical perspective, America now has its priorities completely reversed.  The federal government now spends more than twice as much on Social Security and health programs as it does on defense (20% goes to defense, and 41 % goes to the other two).  Another 13% of the budget goes toward welfare programs, 6% toward paying the interest on the ‘out-of-control’ national debt, with the remaining 21% scattered among a variety of other social programs.  I did not find any reference to infrastructure spending.  The emphasis is clearly on social spending.  This has got to be one of the best ways going for a secular government to replace God…”In Government We Trust”. Next week we will see a few more comments on the Biblical requirements for a nation to be able to defend itself and to be ready to help defend its weaker neighbors.

– Bob Munsey

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