Law and Religion – Reclaimed!
by Gerald R. Thompson
I. CHURCHES AND INDIVIDUALS – (How religions undercut the individual)
Some people (clergy) are more holy than others.
Some vocations (religious work) are more holy than others.
A failure to equip people to govern themselves – breeding an unending reliance on the clergy for all things religious, when in fact we can do these things ourselves.
II. CHURCHES AND FAMILIES
Asserted jurisdiction over families going back centuries. The church never did have any proper authority over the family, marriage, divorce, or children.
The myth of a “Christian marriage” or a marriage which requires religious approval. “By the authority vested in me.” Oh really? What authority is that?
The travesty of ecclesiastical annulments, whether for clergy or laity.
Infant baptism – securing the obeisance of the next generation.
Religious “fathers”, “brothers and sisters,” etc. Enough already!!
III. CHURCHES AND STATISM
Requiring unquestioned obedience and asserting unchallengeable authority. Whatever you do, don’t challenge your minister – he speaks for God! Raising a flock fit for slavery.
The gospel is supposed to bring liberty (Lk. 4:18) but the example of churches is tyranny. An assertion of top-down authority which does not exist. The self-governance of many religious institutions is the most intrusive form of tyranny possible: What people can eat or drink, read or watch, and do or not do.
Isn’t it interesting, that when religious people go about trying to “fix” larger societal problems, they always go about it the same wrong way: Put the religious authorities in control over all of life. The example of the Amish & Mennonites. The history of religious establishment. Religion on a power trip. There’s nothing worse than letting people govern themselves, for Christ’s sake!