In the previous post, we began looking at Rushdoony’s definitions regarding religious liberty and tolerance. The broadening and redefining of these terms had led to deception. A clear definition of these terms is necessary:
Dominion – “Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling.” This is a perfect marriage of church and state has an absolute intolerance for all others, using the power of the magistrates to enforce it.
Restraint – “The act or operation of holding back or hindering from motion, in any manner; hinderance of the will, or of any action, physical, moral or mental. Limitation; restriction.” This is a loose marriage of church and state, where the laws and magistrates strongly favor one religion. Other religions are allowed, but severe restrictions, under penalty of law (up to and including death), are placed on them.
Tolerance – “The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring.” This is a much looser connection of church and state. One or two religions may dominate, but restrictions are much less severe on the other religions. While there is more freedom than under restraint, the idea of tolerance still gives a “holier-than-thou” attitude. Those that are in the established religions receive extra privileges, while those outside of those groups are, to say the least, looked down upon.
Liberty – “Religious liberty, is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.” This is a complete separation of church and state. Each person is free to worship God as his conscience dictates, as long as his actions do not afflict, abuse, or restrain another person or their right to worship.
In his article, Rushdoony says that the Roman Empire believed in tolerance. By his definition of ‘tolerance’, that would be true; however, in reality, the Roman Empire did not practice tolerance. There were many times that religion was forced upon the people and dominion was exercised, while there may have been a few cases were restraint was practiced. Anyone that was caught practicing any religion besides Roman Catholicism was brought before the inquisition (not just the infamous Spanish Inquisition), and they were tortured and put to death if they did not recant.
In the colonies, restraint, not tolerance, was the rule for well over 150 years. This restraint was pushed toward dominion by the Standing Order (the ruling church). Roger Williams fought this establishment, and was banished from Massachusetts as a result. He founded Providence and established true liberty of conscience. Many others began fighting the oppression from the church-state authorities. I would dare say that tolerance would have been a relief, but they were wise enough to know that nothing less than liberty was necessary.
There is to be a separation of church and state, but not as the pagans are trying to make it. They are trying to separate the church from society, and that is not how it should be. The church is to influence individuals, and it is impossible for individuals to separate from themselves. To counter-act the anti-Christ efforts of the pagans, the Religious Right is telling the lie that there never was supposed to be a separation of church and state, and that it is the solution to the moral decay in our country. The moral decay needs to be addressed, but true liberty is the solution, as John Leland pointed out:
“Here let me add, in the southern states, where there has been the greatest freedom from religious oppression, where liberty of conscience is entirely enjoyed, there has been the greatest revival of religion; which is another proof that true religion can, and will prevail beat, where it is left entirely to Christ.”
Our current state in America is, in fact, losing liberty. There is an attack on three sides: paganism, the Religious Right, and the nondenominational movement. The attacks from paganism is evident throughout society and the public schools. The Religious Right has been trying to counteract the works of the pagans, but still in a direction away from liberty. The nondenominational movement has been on the rise during the past few decades, and the push behind it has not been the “tolerance” of the past, but under the guise of acceptance – that everyone is okay and we have to accept them. If we do not accept them and say that they are okay, we are radical fanatics. This acceptance movement (tolerance revisited) leads to assimilation the deterioration of the walls of separation, and those who go against it would be the outcasts (restraint revisited). This path then leaves an open door for a one-world religion under the Antichrist – the ultimate form of dominion.
Acceptance and assimilation? I cry out with Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”