One recurring theme on this blog in recent years has been the progress of the all-powerful secular state. Government as God. The gradual take-over of the familial and ecclesiastical realms by the state. Instead of three God-appointed authorities (government, church, family, each in their own sphere, possessing inalienable rights that the other has no rights to usurp), only one.
Many Christian bloggers find it very inconvenient to join these dots up. Isn't it only border-line crazies who fear Big Brother?
One sub-theme within this that I've highlighted has been the question of the eighth commandment. God cannot breach the eighth commandment. Since everything belongs to him, he is incapable of stealing anything; he can demand any of it, at any time.
Government, however, does not possess such rights. It has a lawful right to impose taxation for limited and defined ends, but not an unlimited one. The earth and its riches do not belong to Caesar. Governments can, do, and are, involved in stealing.
That distinction, however, collapses in consistently secular societies. When God is abolished to the 'private' (read: irrelevant, functionally non-existent) realm, and government is God, then private wealth must inevitably be progressively abolished. In theory, the state then becomes the owner of everything. Citizens only possess wealth by temporary, benevolent grant. At any time, it can be reclaimed and redistributed at will by the state. That's the theory that government economics have progressively taken in the modern West. And theory, as it always done, has progressively turned into practice.
Is that border-line crazy talk? Am I highlighting far-off abstract ideas that will never happen? Can we safely ignore this kind of issue?
The citizens of Cyprus can't. The "crazy talk" just happened, in the real world, today. Citizens of Cyprus may have believed that their wealth was their own. They just learnt that in fact they only held it on trust for the state, when the state had a need. And the day when the state felt it had a need just dawned. The latest is that anyone who held more than 100,000 euros is subject to expropriation of between 40 to 100% of their assets above that level. And an EU spokesperson has said that this method of solving government-debt crises could/should serve as a "model" for the future.
Christianity matters to all spheres of life. When you allow talk of "don't get political on me, bro!" to cower you into to the "private" sphere, you're going exactly where the statists want you to go. They want you to go there, so that their religion can be imposed on all of us. The concept of an a-religious state is impossible. Law must be based upon something. There must be ultimate principles and ultimate beliefs about reality which provide the principles which are codified in law. The only question is which principles, not what. If a state in this present age is not based upon the facts of Christ's Lordship and universal rule, then it will be based upon something infinitely worse.
There are plenty of crazies out there. But some of those crazies are the ones who think that a secular state is a long-term benevolent entity.