The Audacity of the State

A must-read article by Douglas Farrow in a recent issue of Touchstone magazine has the above title with the following subtitle:

It’s bent on Bringing Down the House on the Family & the Church.”

What follows are a few terrific paragraphs that I hope will encourage you to read the entire article. The piece serves as a reminder about the importance of those pesky social issues that too many shallow Republicans seem to consider as superfluous. Farrow writes (emphasis is mine):

“When I speak of the audacity of the state, the kind of state I have in mind is what we may call the savior state. The main characteristic of the savior state is that it presents itself as the people’s guardian, as the guarantor of the citizen’s well-being. The savior state is the paternal state, which not only sees to the security of its territory and the enforcement of its laws but also promises to feed, clothe, house, educate, monitor, medicate, and in general to care for its people. Some prefer to call it the nanny state, but that label fails to reckon with its inherently religious character.”

* * * * *

“Today we live in a society that shrinks in horror from the very idea of established religion, something the American Constitution in any case forbids. Yet we live, even if we live in America, in states increasingly ready to withdraw conscience clauses not only from public servants but also from doctors and druggists and so forth, requiring them to violate the teachings of their religion and the dictates of their consciences in order to demonstrate their allegiance to the state.

In Britain, and increasingly in North America, even churches and charitable organizations are not exempted from laws that demand conformity to state-endorsed ideologies loaded with religious implications. Penalties for violation include heavy fines or even imprisonment.”

The text under the heading “A Modern-Day Samson” starts:

“Tyranny can nowhere succeed without pulling down the two most prominent pillars of political freedom, the pillars that have always provided for a roof or shield over the individual and his conscience. One pillar is the natural family unit; the other is the religious community. Of course, these pillars are not everywhere equally strong or upright. They may themselves be transformed into instruments of tyranny by this or that form of idolatry. But they are pillars for the simple reason that they do not concede to the audacious and immodest state the total authority it craves.

The natural family unit confronts the state as an entity that claims rights not granted by the state but brought to it-rights the lawful state is obliged to recognize and respect. The religious community likewise claims rights and liberties that derive from a source other than the state, a source that transcends and relativizes the state.”

The section “Liberty Prior to Truth” is particularly critical, as is that which follows the heading “State Control of Education.”

Unfortunately, a lot of conservatives are content with websites like Townhall.com. When they are, they’re stuck with a level of intellectual articulation that is often represented by columns like this one by Ashley Herzog. Herzog applauds the participation in CPAC of the single issue homosexual group “GOProud.”

I’m sure Ms. Herzog thinks she’s a defender of the U.S. Constitution. But I’m also sure she has no defense for her undermining of the First Amendment’s protection of our natural right of Religious Liberty.

To summarize, the sexual problems of those suffering from a dis-orientation are not on par with religion, no matter how much some confused and mal-educated people would like to pretend otherwise.

One more excerpt. The first sentence under the heading “State Control of Children,” is this:

“The ascendancy of the state over civil society, which it ought rather to serve, is virtually guaranteed where the state exercises full control over education-particularly if the goal of education, as one professor boldly asserted in a recent McGill forum, is to release children from the control of their parents.”

Click here to read the entire article.

©2010 John Francis Biver