Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Ring of Power

I have been recently rereading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The following passage in Fellowship of the Ring got me thinking:

"We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!"

Like Boromir's desire for the Ring of Power, Christians have desired positions of power and influence in our Federal government. This caused me to think, what if Christians suddenly found themselves in positions of power tomorrow? What mess would we then have on our hands?

Far too many Christians on the right have desired their own precious: the power of big government. They see the good that they could do with the power if they had it. I have no doubt that Christians could and would do a lot of good. Many bad bills would be vetoed and maybe even some good legislation passed.

But like the Ring of Power that did so much evil in Middle Earth and yet was so terribly difficult for Isildur and Frodo to destroy, the power of the Federal government that has done so much evil in our own country and the world would be very difficult to destroy. It would be so difficult because so much good could be done with that power.

The Federal government ought to be completely dissolved and all power returned to the States and to the People.

Congressman Ron Paul has recently said, "The notion that an all-powerful, centralized state should provide monolithic solutions to the ethical dilemmas of our times is not only misguided, but also contrary to our Constitution. Remember, federalism was established to allow decentralized, local decision-making by states. Today, however, we seek a federal solution for every perceived societal ill, ignoring constitutional limits on federal power. The result is a federal state that increasingly makes all-or-nothing decisions that alienate large segments of the population."

So far the record of Christians in power is not a good one.

Look at John Ashcroft. For four years he served as President Bush II's Attorney General. He had the authority and the power to greatly reign in the power and tyranny of the United States Department of Justice. Rather than honestly review every law and statute for their constitutionality, Ashcroft and his US Attorneys went on a fishing expedition. They have used their power to go on a search and destroy mission for every violation, real or imagined, of federal law that they could find.Furthermore under Ashcroft, The Patriot Act was hurriedly pushed through Congress in the name of fighting terrorism. This evil legislation has given even more power to the Federal government's jackbooted thugs in their war on the liberties of the American people.

Ashcroft did at least two things wrong. First, John Ashcroft often used the courts to his political advantage to advance the power of the federal government. Second, there is no right for Federal judges to hear questions regarding abortion (and a host of other issues). Ashcroft tacitly agreed with the enemies of liberty and life that the courts did have jurisdiction in areas like abortion. He did so by not standing up to the Federal Courts and prosecuting judges that usurped their constitutional powers.

I think a Christian in the position of Attorney General could have done much to advance the cause of liberty. A Christian could have done an honest review of the laws and statutes and refused to enforce unconstitutional laws. And a Christian would be well within his rights and duties to do so. "An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442 (1886).

I am all for Christian involvement in politics. But the power to do good can often be used for destructive purposes later. The power of the Federal government, like the Ring of Power, is a power that nobody can wield rightly. This leads me to conclude that if Christians were to obtain power tomorrow, they would be twice the sons of hell that the pagans (who currently run the political system) are today.

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