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In the early part of this nation's history, Christian statesmen did not allow atheists to hold public office or testify in court. The oath, which was considered a part of "religious worship" was a foundational part of the legal system. This commingling of "religion" and "politics" is abhorrent to modern man, but was basic to the thinking of the Puritans. Perhaps now is the time to deal with the issue of the "separation of church and state."
Let me put my cards on the table. I defend Christian Theocracy. I oppose pluralism. I maintain that to do otherwise is plainly contradicted by the Scriptures.
By "Theocracy," I do not mean the rule of the nation by the clergy. "Theocracy" comes from two Greek words which means "Government by God." Theocracy is an inescapable concept. Everybody believes in Theocracy. Humanists believe that man is his own god, and that government should be constructed according to the desires of man the would-be god. Christians believe in the Triune God of Scripture, and that society should be shaped according to God's divine blueprints in Scripture. I explain this further on another page. But everybody believes in some form of "theocracy."
Everybody, that is, who has thought through his position. Most people have not. Even most Secular Humanists have not. Today virtually everyone is united against "theocracy." The biggest bogeyman in our day is "Islamic Fundamentalism" or "Mideast Theocracy." Whenever Christians attempt to influence politics, this scare tactic is used. Most people believe that you can have some form of political "neutrality." This is impossible. For now, I simply want to begin to prepare you for proof that the Puritans understood that Theocracy was the Biblical mandate, and that pluralism was a demonic deception. This page is the transition from oaths to Theocracy.
In my case the State Bar assumed that I was one of those who completely refused to take an oath. Over and over they cited a case which held that a person had to take an oath or affirmation even if their refusal to do so was based on some kind of religious grounds. I want to reprint an excerpt from my pleadings in Federal District Court which relate to this case and illustrate the main issue. The State Bar really didn't understand the issues, and in this respect they are much like the majority of Christians.
Here is how I tried to explain these issues to the court and distinguish my case from the case cited by the State Bar:
Defendant's [State Bar's] reliance upon the case of Biklen v. Board of Education indicates a fundamental failure on the part of Defendant to understand Plaintiff and the issues he has raised. Other than the fact that an oath was involved in that case, there is no point of similarity between this case and Biklen.
Biklen was a secular lapsed Quaker (at 905-06). Present Plaintiff is a Trinitarian Theocrat. The difference is fundamental. Failure to understand the difference is a failure to understand why Roger Williams was banished from Theocratic Massachusetts, and a failure to understand that the secularization of American law is the history of the triumph of Baptist political theology over Calvinism. In general, it will be seen that Biklen's (and Roger Williams') views are Constitutionally regnant, while present Plaintiff's (and John Cotton's) are Constitutionally disfavored.
(Yet even Roger Williams was not a secularist like Biklen. And even in Rhode Island,
by the beginning of the eighteenth century, Rhode Island had adopted the pattern prevailing among the other colonies and had enacted a law that limited citizenship and eligibility for public office to Protestants.")
Biklen did not seek to modify the oath into a Trinitarian, Theocratic oath. Thus, her case did not settle the issue raised in this case.
In fact, Biklen refused to take any oath whatsoever. The contrast between present Plaintiff and Biklen is seen most clearly on this issue. Biklen sought employment as a teacher in New York public schools. She was asked to swear that she would perform her duties as a teacher. She would not. She was given the option to "affirm" such a commitment, in a way "which presumably would not be objectionable to the average Quaker conscience" (at 905). She would not.
Any employer has a right to expect that an employee will do her job. The oath is a solemn verbal assurance of a personal commitment to a future course of conduct. Biklen would give no assurance that she would faithfully discharge her duties as a teacher, but still expected to be hired for the job. Present Plaintiff is willing to take the second half of the required oath, to "faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney at law to the best of [his] knowledge and ability."
It was not the case that Biklen intended to be an insubordinate teacher; she simply refused to say (verbally) that she would be a good one. Biklen exhibited a Gnostic distaste for words themselves (at 905 n.2, 4). Plaintiff, in stark contrast, is a firm believer in vows and confessions; a verbal promise is the first step of true commitment. Plaintiff cannot defend Biklen's refusal to promise to fulfill the demands of her job. That the Biklen court did not excuse Biklen from taking this part of the oath has nothing whatsoever to do with the case of Craig v. State Bar.
The Torcaso decision, along with others, virtually bent over backwards to accommodate non-Theocrats like Biklen. Torcaso in effect represents the historical triumph of Biklen's ancestors over present Plaintiff's ancestors. Whereas Puritan Massachusetts refused to allow secularists to take the oath, the now-secular State prohibits Theocrats like Clyde Summers from taking the oath even if willing to do so, and extends the opportunity to atheists, secularists, and Gnostic Quakers. But Biklen spurned the invitation. She would not give any verbal assurances to the State concerning the State's legitimate interests. Plaintiff in the present case is willing - indeed, anxious - to give verbal assurances to the State concerning his commitment to the State's legitimate interests. The Biklen case by no means decided the issues now before this court.
The issue in this case is not the mere form of an oath ("Do you raise your right hand, or is it your left?"; do you say "I swear" or "I affirm?"); the issue is sovereignty: God or Man? Is the State required to give explicit honor to God? Is the State required to obey the Bible self-consciously when it drafts legislation? Is the State morally obligated to take the lead in seeing that the people worship God? In short, will we have a Biblical Theocracy, or a Humanistic Theocracy?
The Puritans left Europe and risked everything to answer this question. The Puritans banished people, and people endured banishment, over "trivial" questions like these. Today, however most people think this whole oath case is pretty silly. They just don't get it. The U.S. Supreme Court got it. They hated Theocratic Christianity, and they ruled that the Christian "test oaths" that existed in this country under the Constitution for over 180 years were "unconstitutional." Even most Christians, however, don't know what's going on.
So they ask why I have to take an oath at all; why not just "affirm" whatever the State wants?
Presbyterians looked forward to taking an oath of office, not just to gain the office, but to make a public testimony of their faith. Taking God's Name is an honor and a privilege. In this context, being given the "option" to NOT take an oath, but merely to "affirm," is a denial of my freedom to worship, and is for me the option to deny Christ. It removes me from the category of anti-tyranny Calvinists and puts me in the camp of secular quakers and Jesus freaks.
For me, to make a secular "affirmation" rather than a Christian "test oath" is to deny the importance of God's Law and of Christian Theocratic government. It is to say I don't object to the secularization of America which the Courts have imposed on us. The very first law passed by the Congress under the new Constitution concerned oaths. The oath is a symbol which is central to all political theory and citizenship. There has been a war between Biblical Theocrats and Secular Humanist Theocrats. This is the central issue of all society. I will not acquiesce by "affirmation."
I'm not trying to make the whole State Biblical in this one case. All I'm asking for is the freedom to take a Biblical oath. This freedom existed for hundreds of years. It was taken away only a few decades ago. The State resists my request because the State is in rebellion against God. This rebellion is so pervasive that we've all grown used to it, and don't even think of it as rebellion.
Now it may be argued (the ACLU has certainly done so) that the Constitution to which I am supposed to swear my "support" was designed to repudiate this perspective of Christian Theocracy. If that is true, then I agree with the Supreme Court when it holds that Christians like me cannot take the oath to "support the Constitution" in good faith. I cannot support the Constitution, whether by oath or affirmation, if it was designed to stop the spread of Christianity and to foster the growth of paganism and immorality. I cannot "support" apostasy and atheism. I do not "support" secular systems of government. Two centuries of pre-Constitution Americans would have joined me.
On the other hand, if the Framers of the 1789 Constitution did not intend to repudiate 200 years of Christian Theocracy, and truly wanted the people to be Christian and Godly, then their Constitution failed miserably, and I refuse to support failures. I refuse to support a document that undeniably has been used to secularize this nation and make it a fountainhead of the militarism and fascism of the "New World Order."
I think it could be argued that the Constitution was designed on the assumption that Christian morality was unassailable, but that the inconsistencies of the Framers have resulted in the present secular system. At any rate, after many years of prayerful study, I have concluded that I would be lying if I said I "support" the Constitution. I think we should repudiate it and start over. If you read the following chapters of this Internet Website, I think, to your own surprise, you will agree with this. If the Founders wanted a Christian nation, they blew it. The Constitution did not prevent a Secular Humanist judicial system from completely reversing this Christian intention. A "Christian Amendment" to the Constitution will only be destroyed by the Court in the same way. The Court has been able to avoid the clear intention of those living in 1791; they could do the same thing to a Constitutional Amendment.
The problem is much more fundamental than any amendment. You may think I am mistaken in my repudiation of the Constitution, but if you continue reading, you will be challenged to expand your thinking in the area of Christian Statesmanship. The Puritans had much to say about Theocracy which we have ignored at our peril.
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1. Biklen v. Board of Education, 333 F.Supp. 902 (N.D.N.Y. 1971), aff'd per curiam, 406 U.S. 951, 32 L Ed 2d 340, 92 S Ct 2060 (1972). [Return to text]
2. See generally, The Failure of American Baptist Culture (J. Jordan, ed. 1982). The volume includes articles on Williams and Rhode Island, as well as a 30-page analysis of secularism vs. Christian Theocracy in the U.S. Supreme Court, written by present Plaintiff. [Return to text]
3. L. Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom, 252 (1967) (note omitted). [Return to text]
4. See the excerpt from the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) attached to Plaintiff's Declaration in Joint Exhibit 2. Plaintiff has for several years made a form of promissory affirmations a daily routine. He first learned of this program in 1979 at a Bible-oriented Conference sponsored by the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. These meditation-vows are not unlike the oath required by Defendant to commit to a standard of occupational excellence. Plaintiff agrees with this requirement; Biklen did not. [Return to text]
5. The tragic failure of the Constitution is spelled out and documented in subsequent pages. The United States now exports more weapons of violence worldwide than Bibles. "A City upon a Hill"? [Return to text]