Friday, March 17, 2006

More OutLANDish Stuff

Richard Land unveiled the 2006 legislative agenda for Southern Baptists this week. Land demands passage of the ADVANCE Democracy Act. "This bill," writes Land, "will make peaceful promotion of democracy around the world a major focus of U.S. foreign policy. The bill has the potential to help rid the world of its last dictatorships in the next 20 years through peaceful means." Super, bring on Hamas and their democratically elected brethren. That'll make things better. It never seems to occur to our democratist friends that the imposition of democratic procedures onto illiberal cultures might produce something freakish.

As I've been thinking about a theology of the state recently, it has occurred to me that democracy really encourages the divinization of the state. Because man is a religious creature by nature, he will necessarily worship something. If he isn’t serving the triune God of the Christian faith, he will create a false one. The highest point of power in a system frequently becomes the god of that system. Thus it is natural that the state frequently becomes the expression or object of divinity. As Hegel said, "The State is as God walking on Earth." Therefore it is also obvious that as unbelief increases, so does statism. In a democratic system, the voice of the people becomes the voice of God, made immanent in the omnipotent state. Democracy fosters the totalizing state by leveling all checks on institutional power.

In pagan, polytheistic cultures like our own, the state tends to become humanistic and predominant, taking on a salvific component. Polytheism has no universal scope and makes no universal claims. Rather, it limits its jurisdiction to a small corner of life. Thus, there is no idological or theological check on the power of the state.

Rushdoony comments on the connection between democracy, divinization of the State, and statism in ancient Rome: "As the years passed, the emphasis on democratization kept pace with the growth of the divinization of the emperor. The emperor became, in the most extravagant terms, god and savior on earth, and the people gained on the one hand the empty honor of virtually universal citizenship, and, on the other, the growing religious faith in the divinity of the individual soul. Technical democratization, the actual divinization of the emperor and the deification of man’s soul, went hand in hand with totalitarian statism."

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