Volume 7, Issue 5: Anvil
The Nose Under Joe Camel's Tent
Francis Bellamy, a socialist minister, first published the Pledge of Allegiance
in 1892. School children first recited it at the dedication of the 1892 Chicago
World's Fair. In 1945, the Pledge was adopted by the 79th Congress, and in 1954
the words under God were added to the Pledge. And the object of the Pledge,
the flag of these United States, may now be offered protection by means of an
amendment to the Constitution prohibiting flag burning. The proposed amendment,
like the Pledge, represents a well-intentioned misunderstanding of the meaning
of true loyalty.
Consider the word indivisible . The word does not reflect a charitable desire"may
the nation never be divided." Rather, the word means " incapable of being divided." This
represents an ontological claim and goes far beyond a Scriptural desire for political
stability. The same distinction can be observed between the vain pagan dream, "May the king live forever," and the Christian desire and hope, "Long live the king."
The problem with the claim is that it is just not true. Our nation, like every
nation among men, is capable of division. We may oppose or support such division
if and when it happens, but all should agree that it is most certainly not an
impossibility. But if it is not an impossibility, then why do we claim that it
is? The Confederates and the Yankees had different views on the desirability
of separation, but they did agree on one thing. They agreed that the thing could
happenthat is why there was a war. Anyone believing this nation is indivisible
will treat all attempts at secession as the civic equivalent of a perpetual
Our culture is currently in rebellion against the laws of Heaven. The Bible
tells us that a throne is established by righteousness, a throne is not established
by making schoolchildren say untrue things, or by putting people in the chokey
if they burn the flag. Thrones are not established by pledges or penalties. Scripture
tells us that a nation is blessed whose God is the Lord. The Bible says, "Take
away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry. Take
away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness" (Prov.
Christians must be loyal citizens. But they must first understand the ground
of all allegiance.
No Pity for Beijing
By Douglas Jones
Can anything good come from the recent UN Fourth World Conference on Women? Yes,
but it may be hard medicine. Too hard for some.
By now we've heard the horror reports and denials regarding the conference's Platform
for Action. It promotes the "deconstruction of gender," the egalitarian ideal of
dismantling the "artificial" barriers of sexual identities. The document is, predictably,
hostile to the family and biblical values, and delights in abortion and homosexual/lesbian
"stuff and nonsense." It seeks serious sexual quotas around the world and, like
all UN projects, calls for increased shakedowns of citizens to pay for it all.
This is all quite pernicious and rebellious and largely funded by the U.S. But
I can no longer work up the shock and pain popular among conservatives and evangelicals.
Before the conference, these good folks exhorted us to throw our resources into
opposing the conference and to complain to our representatives in Congress. After
all, they said, imagine the damage that can be done around the globe if the credibility
of the US is used to undermine the family, promote abortion, teach immoral behavior,
and vilify religious faith.
Damage around the globe? But certainly there comes a point at which we say to
anti-Christian cultures bent on social suicide: "Go your way; follow your folly;
fight reality, and see what comes of it." Why must we constantly seek to preserve
God-hating cultures by trying to forbid them to destroy themselves? Why should
we become tearful if non-Christian cultures want to undermine their families
and slaughter their future?
Scripture tells us that sympathy is immoral at times. Paul tells us that if
a believer doesn't work, then he shouldn't eat. Pity is out of place here. In various
places the Lord strictly forbids His people to pity certain kinds of criminals.
When God directed Israel to clean out His Canaanite enemies, He commanded Israel:
"your eye shall have no pity on them."
If countries around the world, including the U.S., adopted the egalitarian flat-earthism
in the Women's Conference platform, their cultures would self-destruct in short
order. If Christians tried to forbid this cultural suicide, then wouldn't we
be somewhat like ancient Israelites seeking to pity and sustain rebellious Canaanites,
Amorites, and Jebusites? Shall we save Babylonian babies so that they can grow
up and rebel in full flower? Is this truly pleasing to God? I remain skeptical.
Of course, we should be working harder than ever to disciple the nations and
bring them Christ's compassion, but when they scoff at the glories of God, we
must be ready to do as Christ says and depart, shaking the dust from our feet.
If after sincere warnings, they are still determined to cut themselves off, Christian
families will continue to grow and flourish. Reality will determine the winners.
Defunding Industrial Art
By Douglas Jones
Art fascists are popping neck veins left and right at the Congressional conservatives' meager
attempt to cutback federal funding of the arts. Time magazine devoted an
entire cover screed to denounce the effort. It described defunding supporters
as "populist lowbrows," "seated bigots," "yahoos," and boys and girls who "aren't even
cultural Neanderthals. They're Jurassic."
Time pointed to "Fundamentalist apocalyptic religion" as the force behind the
move to defund, especially the American "Puritan iconophobic streak" [ooh, sign
me up!] along with our "extreme loathing of tax."
Conservatives are easily right to want to cease chokeholding people into funding
the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Art always expresses a worldview, and
having Bill Moyers and Big Bird extort from us should give us Stalinist chills.
But our objections should also lie deeper, in the soul of art itself. Setting
aside Mapplethorpe/Serrano gags, "decent" Federal art is of a particularly industrial
varietyart forced into a modern mold, severed from the intricacies of private
life. The Dutch realists would sell their art in the marketplace, and flesh-and-blood
folk would enliven their homes with it.
The southern agrarian poet Donald Davidson noted well that, "a multiplication
of art galleries . . . is a mark of a diseased, not a healthy civilization. If
paintings and sculptures are made for the purpose of being viewed in the carefully
studied surroundings of art galleries, they have certainly lost their intimate
connections with life. What is a picture for, if not to put on one's own wall?
But an art gallery requires me to think that a picture has some occult quality
in itself and for itself that can only be appreciated on a quiet anonymous wall,
utterly removed from the tumult of my private affairs."
Given its national, centralizing effect, Federal art has to incline to this
depersonalizing, industrial framework. It binds the soul of art and forces everything
into a crass industrial mold which we rarely recognize since we're so accustomed
Also, artists in a non-Christian, industrial culture have to obsess about glorifying
rebellion. Rebellion and desecration have been the secular artists' monotone for
almost two centuries. Every conceivable form of rebellion has permeated the modern
arts, again and again and again and again. Will somebody please tell these people
that glorifying rebellion is boring . It's been done. Move on. And tell oddly-dressed,
attention starved, college students the same thing. Instead of gasping at rebellion,
Cyberporn: A Case Study
By Douglas Wilson
Citizen magazine recently sounded the alarm about the problem of porn on the
Internet. And it is a real problem. Unfortunately, many Christian Americanos
are still fighting for traditional values and not for biblical standards.
The standard Christian political opposition to pornography, now gearing up for
a cyberbattle, is a case in point. Every Christian knows that pornography is
offensive to God, and, as good Americans, as soon as we determine that we are
against something, we automatically assume that "there oughta be a law." Because
of this, we frequently seek to impose God's standards via humanistic means and
consequently find ourselves vainly trying to kill sin with Lysol.
Imagine a prosecuting attorney living at the time of Moses. And suppose some
hard-core pornographers were brought in to him. According to biblical law ,
how would they be charged? With a biblical approach, the pornography would not
be the crime, it would be the evidence of the crime. To illustrate, suppose
some young teenagers went on a spree, breaking into shops and stealing things.
One of the first things they stole was a videocam, and they were foolish enough
to tape all the subsequent proceedings. In such a situation, we would not think
to charge them with making movies of a burglary we would use the footage to
establish their guilt in the theft itself.
To continue the illustration, imagine a society in which Christians insisted
that we crack down on burglar movies, but resisted any attempts to punish thieves.
The situation would be odd, at the very least. Why do we resist punishing what
God requires punishment for, and insist on punishments found nowhere in Scripture?
The lesson should be applied to pornography. In biblical law, numerous sexual
relationships are prohibited, with civil penalties attached . When pornography
is made and distributed, it should simply be used as evidenceof the adultery
or of the sodomy, etc. If the evidence does not demonstrate a crime addressed
as a crime in Scripture, then the problem should be addressed through the governments
of family or church, without the threat of civic penalties, or it should be left
alone. We do not have the capacity to legislate wisely where God has been silent.
The civil governor is God's minister, God's deacon . He is limited in his authority.
Christians must learn to distinguish sins from crimes. If God reveals His will
on a matter, disobedience is sin. If God reveals the civil penalty which must
be applied, then it is also crime. But without wisdom from Him on the civil penalty
to be applied, the civil order must leave enforcement of God's law to the church,
family, or the providence of God. Such distinctions are vital in order to address
porn problems on the Net scripturally.