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Secularism as Divine Intentionality: A Proposal for a New American Polity

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"We the People . . ." so starts our U.S. Constitution, yet in spite of our American Natural Rights populist founding, from the O.J. Simpson trial to the Abu Ghraib Iraq prison scandal, "we the people" has increasingly come to mean "we the rich" or "we the elite" or "we the popular."

In 1960 Birmingham, AL, it was neither popular, nor even safe to sit at a white lunch counter if one were African American. Similarly, in 2007, if one's name is "O.J." suddenly one becomes "above the law," yet if one looks "more black" such as Michael Vick, then one faces conspiracy charges against the Federal Government. A potential murderer goes free, while a blacker-looking "dog-fighter" gets the hammer.

Sadly, such inequality is part and parcel of U.S.A. history. 3/5 of a person was how much a black slave was legally worth at one point in U.S.A. history, yet even today, the rich, "whiter-looking" O.J. Simpson went free (only to fall again in 2007!) while the Jesus-convert, yet black-as-you-wanna-be Michael Vick faces felony charges.

Into the midst of such inequality (inequality of race, inequality of class, inequality of gender with men now the disadvantaged class!), the LORD Jesus the Christ is still the LORD of history. KURIOS IESUS CHRISTOS is the Greek terminology for "Jesus Christ is LORD," the basic kerygmatic message of both salvation and ontic reality. As Jesus is LORD, at some points in history and according to such Divine intentionality, some human governments (e.g. the Holy Roman Empire under Charlemagne in 800 A.D. are by human agreement referred to as "Christian Government." At other times in human history, government is violently opposed to the reign and LORDship of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Marxist governments of the former U.S.S.R. and current China in its persecution of non-state supported Christian churches, including Roman Catholicism). Finally, in between Divine Right monarchies and Imperia lie that strange realm of supposedly "neutral" space called secular human government.

Is the United States secular? Was the U.S. secular by intent at its founding? Should the U.S. be secular currently?

It is the contention of this essay that the United States of America was intentionally founded as a Republican FORM of Natural Right government, but with an understood "Christian content," primarily Protestant in character, yet open to Christian religious dissenters (e.g. the Quakers) and somewhat skeptically open to the Church at Rome (i.e. Catholicism). At no point in American history, save the latter part of the 20th century with the founding of the American Academy of Religion, did "religion" ever mean something that was not either tacitly Christian or potentially Jewish. Hinduism was not even a category until British colonial control of the subcontinent of India with British classification of primitive Indian religious practices under the catch-all umbrella of "Hinduism" which actually only referenced the practices of the people of the Indus River and surrounding areas. Similarly, although fellow "monotheists" such as Islam were known, the founding of the U.S.A. simply did not include non-Judeo-Christian understandings of God-head as the "religion" to which documents such as the Bill of Rights refers. Therefore, although courts have historically constructed a theory called "separation between Church and State" (an extrapolation of the Free Practice of Religion clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution), irregardless of the merits or demerits of such judicial construction, the "religion" to which the U.S. Constitution refers is the Christian religion and by extension Judaism.

Having stated the historically accurate reading of the U.S. Bill of Rights regarding "Separation of Church and State," with the late 20th century/early twenty first century proliferation of the Academic disciplines of Religious Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology, "religion" has come to mean a vast range of cultural practices and beliefs. From "ordinary world religions" such as Islam, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, etc. to more recent attempts at religion-formation (e.g. the "Church" of Scientology, Wicca, neo-paganism, etc.), religion, as a common cultural term has come to be understood as anything that seeks meaning from unseen forces, truths, insights, rituals, etc. Therefore, the Establishment clause of the Bill of Rights must adhere to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's Theory of "Originalism" whereby the Constitutional text is read both in its historical context and in response to current usage of textual terms. To say, "Separation of 'Church' and State" in 2007 is verging on the absurd. Does one mean the Church of Scientology? Does one mean 17th century Anglicanism, as the original framers of the Constitution were likely originally thinking? Does one mean the Church of Wicca? Okay, these are all far extremes. After all, most people are no longer Anglicans. Having stated the absurd, however, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's Theory of Originalism safeguards both original intent of the Constitution and its writers and also allows for a flexibility of terms, provided terms such as "religion" are universal cultural terms and not just the terms in vogue at Harvard Law School!

In citing Justice Scalia, I do so as a self-avowed Theocrat. I truly view, as did St. Thomas Aquinas that all human government is but a product of and cause directed from God within the Christian understanding of Divine Government. God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit are the Head of all Government. As Thomas Aquinas writes, under the Triune God-head are the Archangels (e.g. St. Michael), the Communion of saints as headed by the Blessed Virgin Mary, all of the saints and martyrs on earth and then those souls in purgatory. Under such Christian Government, from Charlemagne to Hitler, saint and vile sinner alike, human government exists.

Within the North American context, such a Trinitarian Republic can only now be a spiritual reality in 2007. The number of explicit Bible-believing, Jesus' Name only Protestants and Catholics (and Orthodox) is simply not a large enough majority to justify an official Trinitarian Republic. We are, after all, a democracy.

Having stated the current untenability (in 2007) of an explicit Trinitarian Republic (Maranantha, "Come LORD Jesus, Come"), some provisional form of secularism is both warranted and prudent. Thomas Aquinas placed great emphasis on the Christianized virtue of Prudence (the Latinized version of Aristotelian phronesis) and such an emphasis is itself prudential for we American Christians to similarly inculcate. Prudentia is the Virtue par excellence of the Political Candidate. Once elected, however, Prudentia (a.k.a. "poll watching") should quickly make way for the equally important ruling virtue of Justice. If a Republic favors either the rich or the white or the female, then a breach of Justice has occurred. O.J. the whiter African American football player should not be given "greater" justice than the "black-as-you-wanna-be" Jesus-lovin' dog-fighter Michael Vick. Justice must be impartial, otherwise it is not Justice. By Justice, however, such a Virtue is not revenge. Retributive justice, although defined by scholars and jurists alike as a true form of Justice, however, given the particular WAR-like spirit of the collective American psyche (to use a Jungian term) usually devolves into a "greater than lex talionis" ("eye for eye") type of Justice into state-enforced revenge. Justice must be served, otherwise, it is simply not Justice. But in seeking Justice as a guiding virtue of both ruler and Republic, the scholarly distinction of "retributive" versus "restorative" justice is necessary in criminal sentencing and "fair labor" versus "distributive" justice is necessary in economic issues. The goal of restorative justice is to do what is necessary in criminal sentencing to restore the good citizen back to full standing within the community (while utilizing the prison system primarily for the chronic offender who is a physical threat to other human beings). The goal of distributive justice, contrary to both laissez-faire economic theory that is not grounded in Justice and also contrary to Marxist economics that is virulently atheistic, unproductive, and utopian, is instead a significant way forward for Christian, Jew, secularist and other alike. Just wage for just work. Truly distributive justice links payment of wages directly to overall corporate profit, while providing a corporate-wide "safety net" of a livable minimum wage. To demand a salary or hourly wage based upon corporate profitability is rooted in the economic ideal of employee ownership. The employee IS the corporation, not an unnecessary "supply cost." To think of the employee as a supply cost is to fall into the same epistemic fallacy of Marxism that views human beings as "cogs" of a larger system, rather than as uniquely created persons who constitute "the system." Therefore, the ruthless C.E.O. who bilks millions of dollars off of the sweat and labor of his "workers" who make only $6 - $8 per hour is itself unjust for the same epistemic rationality that state-enforced Marxist labor is unjust, namely a misapprehension of the natural inherent dignity of every created human being. Distributive Justice seeks to correct both the practical abuse of treasure-hoarding on the part of the C.E.O. (profits actually produced by the "worker," not the C.E.O. and thus a form of theft) and also the anthropological misapprehension that joins both secular capitalist and atheistic Marxist in the same conceptual category, namely a denial of human personhood itself.

Therefore, in conclusion, what is needed in 2007 and in the coming decade in U.S. Governmental polity is essentially a Divinely orchestrated functional and written secularism. This secularism must be rooted in virtue, primarily the virtue of prudence for legislative, judicial and executive branches, and the ever-important virtue of Justice for the entire Realm.

God Bless!

--RobJKing 17:56, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

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