To the editor:
This is a response to Michael Maharrey’s opinion column “Is the Bible ‘Pro-Government?’”
Let’s begin by stating some obvious facts.
Firstly, Mr. Maharrey is simply wrong about the Bible’s stance. There are numerous Bible verses about the legitimacy of government. Romans 13:1 would seem to contradict Mr. Maharrey in a crushing way. It reads, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” So unlike Mr. Maharrey’s philosophical leanings, the Bible supports not only the institution, but any and all governments because they were “instituted by God.” One should be suspicious as to how Mr. Maharrey is able to reconcile his philosophical leanings with his religious ones.
Secondly, Mr. Maharrey quoted libertarian, anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard. What does this mean? It means two things. One, he is heavily engaged with and predisposed to anarcho-capitalism; Mr. Maharrey isn’t influenced by the Bible in his anti-government stance. And two, why, if the Bible was so against government and coercion, would Mr. Maharrey have to quote mere mortals such as Murray Rothbard? Wouldn’t the word of God be enough? You’d think so, but to Mr. Maharrey apparently not. Apparently it took another 2000 years for someone to develop a clever justification for anarcho-capitalism.
Lastly and more importantly, the Bible’s God is most certainly not an anti-coercive being. This should be obvious. Destroying Sodom and Gomorrah and flooding the entire Earth to kill all but a handful of people are the most obvious physical uses of Holy force. But eternal torment in Hell for unrepentant sinners and those who won’t or simply didn’t accept Jesus Christ has to be the most extreme use of force there is. Eternal damnation and torment for those who simply didn’t accept Jesus Christ into their hearts?
Think about that again: ETERNAL damnation. God can and will punish you for things that harm no one. If governments are to be viewed as coercive entities who can use the Earthly punishment of fines, guns, and imprisonment, then what are we to suppose of God who can banish someone to an eternity in Hell? Governments cannot even attempt to compete with this level of force. The choice between Heaven or Hell is no choice at all.