Dan Popp
February 5, 2013
Surrenders sacred and profane
By Dan Popp

First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. – Martin Niemoeller

It's a great mistake to suppose that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion. – William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

I believe there are two misconceptions hindering religious employers as they try to assert their "rights of conscience" against a government with no conscience: One, they're relying on a distinction that does not exist; Two, they fail to recognize their true status.

The unreal difference is the line between "religious" and "secular." A Christian believes that every facet of his life lies inside the realm of his religion: "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31, NASB). So the believing businessman trying to defend his "religious freedom" (as distinct from other kinds of freedom) is a self-contradiction. If all my life is to be devoted to God, than all my rights are "religious" rights.

Now, the government has already proven that it can take away my rights as a business owner. I tells me who I must hire, how much I must pay him, and innumerable other things. This brings us to the second fallacy. These Christian entrepreneurs seem to think they're fighting a battle, when they truth is they surrendered. This fight is over. The government made its case long ago, and the Court of Public Opinion has ruled that it doesn't matter what you believe; government trumps business. To put it as simply as possible: The state religion won, and Christianity lost. Statism has been accepted as superior to all other religions. If this were not so, no Christian would put up with the government dictating what a proprietor must do with his own company, regardless of the reason. Private property is a tenet of Christianity. Collective ownership is a tenet of the state religion. When we allowed the state church to take others' property rights, we lowered the banner of Christ and hoisted the flag of Godvernment.

It's a little late to be complaining that the terms of the surrender don't quite suit you.

I don't recall a big stir from the pulpits or from Christian businessmen when government took my rights to private property; which are, as I say, religious rights. We've long ago retreated from the battleground on which we could have defended our "religious rights." First they came for the Capitalists, and the rest was just paperwork.

Pure religion, James writes, is to care for widows and orphans. But Christians allowed the state to care for widows and orphans, contrary to our Constitution and the Bible. So in the name of protecting our supposedly "secular" republic from the theocrats (us) the statists established a church. It was adorned with some of the trappings of Christianity bought cheap from the Generic Religion Outlet Store, and condoned or even blessed by the newly-conquered and not-quite-cognizant Christians. The way you can recognize a state church, as I've said, is that it's the one that can tax all the others.

Where was the outcry in 1913 when the income tax was imposed; in 1935 when the state began its first large-scale benevolence program; in 1964 when that religion spread its diseased wings over everything in sight in the name of compassion; in 2010 when the state church truly infested every corner of every American life? Oh, that's when we woke up. Just then, just for that. Yay.

Tyranny is tyranny, friends. Our acquiescence on infringements of other rights makes us look hypocritical now. You can't guard only the rights that feel "religious." They're all religious. We should have known that.

Yes, it would have been difficult back in the 1960s to argue that an employer isn't required to justify his hiring decisions to his government; only to his God. It's a complex point that mutually agreeable terms are the only righteous terms for any business transaction, and that government has no authority to tip the scales toward a "better" outcome. You would have been called very bad names for saying that. But when we surrendered on the issue of private property rights, we surrendered our religion to another. The faith of "You Shall Not Steal" was swallowed up by the faith of "Stealing is Fairness."

If faith without works is dead (James again), and government has your works in its power, how can you pretend that your dead faith is battling the state? If you won't fight for the right to own your works, your efforts, your property, then what difference does it make whether your faith is "free" or not? It's dead.

© Dan Popp

 

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Dan Popp

Dan Popp is a Christian, a husband, and a small-business owner. Writing has been part of his profession since the late 1970ís. He and his wife of more than 30 years, Vicky, live in Ohio.

On Twitter: @FoundationsRad

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