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The Theological-Political Problem

The central problem the founder(s) of a regime must face in establishing a form of government is the relationship between the religion and the polity. If the regime cannot justify itself to the religious polity, then it will never be able to succeed. In ancient times, the theological-political problem was much easier to solve. Laws of the ancient city were derived from the God of that city. Greek cities derived their laws from the pagan gods. Jewish people derived their laws and government from the revelatory laws of the one God.

Christianity caused a significant departure from this model. It separated God from the laws of the city. The famous phrase in the bible that illustrates this is when Jesus says, "render under to Caesar what is Caeser's, to God what is Gods." Christ's kingdom is not of this world and thus ultimate authority does not reside with him, but with Christ. For over a millennium, Christian and political thinkers were trying to figure out a way to solve this problem. They asked themselves, "how do you create loyal citizens when the religion claims a source higher than the city?" This question is the main indictment of Machiavelli.

In my opinion, no absolute solution is ever possible. The only recourse Christians have is to take note of Augustine's city of God and City of Man. Because man is in a fallen nature, there is no way that the City of God can ever be brought down to the City of Man. Therefore, Christians must accept the fact that the regime will not be perfect.

The American founders attempted to solve this problem by lowering the aims of the political sphere. The American government is not the ultimate authority over its citizens. It is authorized to do certain things, to do them well, and order its citizens in the habits they will need to become as happy as possible. Church, therefore, is responsible for the salvation of the souls.

This is a good solution, considering the state of the polity. For over 200 years, the American regime has fostered peace and prosperity. Today, however, it is in danger of falling prey to the dogma's of relativism and secularism that seek to destroy any and all religion. Since American's are free by nature to pursue and worship God, it is now the task of those who are loyal to the regime to see to it that the secularists are defeated in this battle.