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A servant, not a god

"A servant, not a god" Continued...

Issue: "Ugly truth of partial-birth," April 17, 2004

One concern is the primacy of God. In a broad sense, political and economic freedom, particularly independence from the paternal welfare state, have a spiritual dimension, since liberty forces people to rely on God. The wider the latitude of decisions left to individuals, the greater the variety of situations in which they must exercise moral judgment and seek to implement biblical principles.

Moreover, believers must never forget that the basis of the state is coercion, backed by prison and, should a citizen resist, death. In general, throwing someone in jail cannot be viewed as an act of love. Thus, Christians should exhibit humility before resorting to coercion, and should do so only reluctantly. In some cases the only way to demonstrate love for one's neighbors is to punish miscreants, but we should be careful before turning disagreements, however serious, into crimes.

America's Founders, irrespective of their individual faith commitments, established a limited national government of enumerated powers because their shared biblical worldview warned against the danger of mixing sinful human nature and concentrated political authority. They saw a Constitution that restricted and decentralized state power as the only way to protect people from the actions of rulers who would most decidedly not be angels.

-Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

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