Resuming my Romans 13 series on a tip from Dr. McGrath---here are some thoughts on the Communists' use of Romans 13:
First off communist states developed differently from theocratic states as atheism seemed to have been a larger underlying principle of communism. This is not to say that there were not religious elements within Communist movements and that all atheists are evil but the facts speak for themselves. Any clear reading of history demonstrates for the most part that communist regimes were hostile to religious expressions. Now atheism in and of itself is the belief that no gods truly exist---but just like all systems of thought, there are extremists---such was the case with communistic atheism. Communist atheists were more or less anti-theists and anti-religion than persons who just happened to believe atheism. Put differently communist atheists were fundamentalist militant atheists in the sense that they were using the civil government to bring about a religion and god-free society---a society that functions without the use of god(s) and religious expressions.
Anyways moving on despite the communists' hostility towards religion, they knew of the potency of religion and the power that it had of control over people. Karl Marx is quoted as saying:
Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
We commonly hear this quote as being: "religion is the opiate of the masses." This just goes to show that even in their hostility towards religions communists recognized the motivational force of religion and in this way the Communists like the Nazis used and abused religion for their own glory. And in the same way that Nazis used and abused Romans 13 Communist regimes did the same:
By then, the Russian people had the moral right to do whatever they could get away with, like the German people under Hitler, like anyone living under a totalitarian dictatorship. The dictators had cancelled the law, which is a contractual agreement, so the people who had been defrauded no longer were required to perform. If you sign a contract to buy a house, and the owner refuses to vacate, you don't need to make payments.
A word should be said about Romans 13. For many years, pulpit pansies in the pay of the powers that would like to be have preached that Romans 13 teaches unconditional obedience to government. Whatever government does, according to this teaching, we have to endure it, because God has installed government for good.
Yes, He has, but since the men who run government are men, the chance is great that they will go bad. That is why God did the job Himself, through His judges, until His children demanded a king. Through Samuel, He warned them what a king would do. He would eat out their substance, etc. When stiff-necked Israelites would not yield, He gave them Saul. Guess what? God was"is"right. Scripture is full of cases of government run amok. When that happens, God sends someone to overthrow it.
King Jabin, the government, was oppressing the people. Jael lulled Sisera, his commanding general, to sleep and then nailed that old boy to the ground with a spike through his temples. Scripture says Jael is "blessed above women." The children of Israel sang about her in celebration of her exploit.
Eglon, king of Moab, oppressed the people. Ehud parked a knife in his belly. His majesty was so fat his belly closed around the knife, so that for a while the coroner couldn't find the cause of death until crime scene investigators showed him the weapon. Scripture says Ehud was a deliverer whom the Lord had raised up.
Wasn't Paul a notorious jailbird? Wasn't Peter? Wasn't Jesus a criminal? He must have been, according to today's pansy preachers, because the government"the Sanhedrin and the Romans"said He was. Didn't He destroy property and use violence when He kicked the moneychangers out? Didn't He break the law Himself?
If you preach that the government can do no wrong and must be obeyed blindly whatever it does, that is where you must wind up. Romans 13 means that you must obey and defer to government as long as it does what God installed it to do. When government stops doing what God installed it to do"stops clearly and incontrovertibly"your obedience is no longer required. Weren't our Founding Fathers criminals?
Is God a Nazi? That is the question. If you subscribe to the preaching of today's pansy preachers, you believe He is. You believe you must obey Hitler because he is the government. You believe you must defer to whatever crimes the government commits because of what some pansy preacher says about Romans 13.
So you see, pal, the fact that you may put your collar on backward or have three first names, etc., cuts you no slack here. And by the way, those pansy preachers revere Martin Luther King, Jr. Wasn't King in the Birmingham jail when he wrote his famous letter from Birmingham jail (if he wrote it)?
Wasn't he there because he defied the government? Which governments does Romans 13 say we must obey? Regular readers will also remember that today's Christianity has been infiltrated from top to bottom by Communists, starting even before World War II. Could that be the reason today's pansy preachers pervert Romans 13? Are they deliberately trying to neutralize the faithful?
Romans 13 was also used against Christian anti-communist resistance movements:
“While the troops of Mahomet II surrounded Constantinople in 1493 and it had to be decided if the Balkans would be under Christian or [Muslim] dominion for centuries, a local church council in the beseiged city discussed the following: What color had the eyes of the virgin Mary? What gender do the angels have? If a fly falls in sanctified water, is the fly sanctified or the water defiled? It may only be a legend, as concerns those times, but peruse Church periodicals of today and you will find that questions just like this are discussed. The menace of persecutors and the sufferings of the underground church are scarely ever mentioned. Instead, there are endless discussions about theological matters, about rituals, about nonessentials….In formerly Communist Russia, no one remembers the arguments for or against child baptism, for or against papal infallibility. They are not pre- or postmillenialists. They cannot interpret prophecies and don’t quarrel about them, but I have wondered very often at how well they could prove the existence of God to atheists.”
—Richard Wurmbrand, Jewish Lutheran pastor from Romania who spent fourteen years in a Communist prison, quoted in Jesus Freaks: Volume II, page 208
See also: The Suffering Church in Russia, Fr. Popielusko and Communist Poland, A New Religion, Minority Rights Abuse in Communist Poland and Inherited Issues*, Martyrs in the History of Christianity and Is Religion Evil? Secularism's Pride and Irrational Prejudice.
My next posting in my series on Romans 13 will be on Romans 13 and the Religious Right and Left...