-By Iron Tiger
-With contributions by Steel Bear
Note: Although the following is written from one particular denomination’s perspective, it is intended to address a concern that impacts many denominations. It is not the intention of this writer to promote one religion over another. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I’ve been reading a lot of CS Lewis lately. I’ve also been lamenting that the third Narnia film, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” was the last. I guess they were too Christian for Disney . . . but alas I digress. I have a soft spot for Lewis because it was through him, I was introduced to the concept of Christian Libertarianism; his writings are full of wonderful allegories to the battle over freedom we face today. His work was often profound, and especially unique in that he seemed to have a deep understanding of gospel Doctrine that can fascinate Christians of all denominations. He also clues us into the many challenges we all face, as a Christian society. Our common ability to enjoy the works of this brilliant writer, to me, is indicative that we have more in common than we have differences. We may have deep arguments over things like the nature of God, but we generally agree that our rights come from God and that the founding fathers were divinely inspired.
In other words, we believe that the Constitution and its guarantee of rights and liberty is the only justifiable law, anything that is more or less than the Constitution comes from evil. So as I finish reading through the Screwtape letters it has been frightening as I stumbled across a passage on the concept of Social Justice, a concept that is far more than what is constitutionally permissible yet seems to have gained traction among the college-educated youth, while older people panic because the leaders of many denominations have spoken out against this concept before but have fallen silent in recent years. There are many who blame the silence of the leaders of the various denominations out there for the blind acceptance of collectivism among college-aged kids. Never mind that pointing the finger of blame isn’t exactly an individualistic action. The individual takes personal responsibility, and the collectivists blame the leader. I will address both groups.
First, let me address the common misguided college learned.
I see in the newspapers, the Salt Lake Tribune especially, a lot of denunciation of critics of Social Justice, like Glenn Beck. “You may have missed it, but social justice is a dominant feature of all four of our key sacred texts, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We could look at hundreds of relevant scriptures since poverty was the thing Jesus preached about most often but let me turn your attention to a scripture you might have missed: King Benjamin’s sermon in the Book of Mormon.”-1 one blogger wrote. An absurd notion to be sure. King Benjamin was encouraging CHARITY. Charity and Social Justice are not the same thing. Social Justice is Satan’s counterfeit to charity. It is a recent concept developed by the likes of Karl Marx, and popularized by the likes of James Cohen, the founder of Liberation Theology, and self-avowed Marxist religious leader Jim Wallis. It’s sad that CS Lewis, while not a member of the LDS faith, seemed to grasp this concept entirely, but some of our own, for the sake of being right with the left-wing media, miss this completely. I guess it’s better to be popular than right . . . Oh well.
Beck is an echo of Cleon Skousen, who himself was an echo of Ezra Taft Benson, himself an echo of David O’McKay, and the echo of Heber J Grant, himself an echo of those that came before him all the way back to Joseph Smith. Never at any time has the church been friendly to the concept of Government imposed collectivism. The LDS Church, like most of the other Christian contemporaries, has repeatedly denounced Socialism, Communism, and Fascism. That the Church has been quiet in years past on these matters is not an indication of capitulation to the whimsies of men, we are still to “push back the world,” as James E Faust, a Democrat, would say. We need to be Charitable, but Charity is an individual choice. Where force is involved, it ceases to be charity and becomes theft, and theft is against our religion.
What the liberal Mormon bloggers are missing is that the Book of Mormon repeatedly condemns ridiculous and oppressive taxing as well rendering the Social Justice in the Book of Mormon argument defeated. Mosiah 2:14, Here King Benjamin labors with his own hands and engaged in CHARITY so that the people are not taxed. Mosiah 7:15 Nephite writers observe the burden of taxes on the Lamanites. Mosiah 11:6-This one highlights the primary problem with socialism and should be memorized, even if you yourself are not a member of the LDS faith. In Ether 10:5-6 the people are burdened with taxes and can’t pay them and end up being punished by the government. In all scripture every time taxes come up it is in a negative connotation. Taxing and redistributing wealth are not promoted by scripture, it is condemned. Charity, willingly imparting and taking care of the poor of your own volition is celebrated and encouraged.
CS Lewis understood the real nature of Marxism, as he accounts in a letter from Screwtape the Demon, to his nephew Wormwood.
“You will find that a good many Christian-political writers think that Christianity began going wrong, and departing from the doctrine of its Founder, at a very early stage. Now this idea must be used by us to encourage once again the conception of a ‘historical Jesus’ to be found by clearing away later ‘accretions and perversions’ and then to be contrasted with the whole Christian tradition. In the last generation, we promoted the construction of such a ‘historical Jesus’ on liberal and humanitarian lines; we are now putting forward a new ‘historical Jesus’ on Marxian, catastrophic, and revolutionary lines. The advantages of these constructions, which we intend to change every thirty years or so, are manifold. In the first place they all tend to direct men’s devotion to something which does not exist . . . about the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly, we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand, we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even to social justice.(Screwtape Letters, XXIII CS Lewis, emphasis added)
The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing
which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values
Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be
used as a convenience.”
Why don’t we get it anymore? Have we lost our appreciation of liberty? As we hear the phrase “Social Justice” from more and more people in the media we are being asked once again to take a side in the epic clash of the ages, the War in Heaven, as proposed by David O McKay in his famous speech “Two Contending Forces,” didn’t end with Satan and 1/3rd of the hosts of heaven being kicked out. In many ways, Satan is still fighting that war and it manifests through Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and numerous other new isms promoted by the Globalist Left. The Term Social Justice has been used by a variety of Socialist groups (including National Socialists, aka Nazis… yes that’s right turns out they were not right-wingers after all) as a code word for government-imposed redistribution of wealth and central planning. We therefore cannot allow it to be used as a synonym for charity, for charity requires the personal liberty to choose, and Social Justice is antithetical to personal liberty. Social Justice violates some critical gospel doctrines, including one of the key Ten Commandments (thou shalt not steal.) It is also counter to Christianity’s stand against slavery. Some want us to forget that it was Christians that led the fight for abolition, but they did. Forcing someone to work for the benefit of someone else is nothing less than enslavement, it can never be justified whether that enslavement is at the hands of rich plantation owners, or the government, it is the same evil.
These various isms are just the latest evolution of feudalism, and they will sell you a lot of lies to try to get you to buy into it. The idea of everyone being absolutely equal . . . “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” A moneyless, government-free society where everyone shares everything equally. Right, and then you can’t get anyone to work because there’s no reward, and then what? Worse yet those who do work become the slaves of those who don’t, and off the backs of the Producer, the Parasite grows fat and lazy (Mosiah 11:6.) Well history has shown us a long record of Socialism and Communism and mass graves, 100 million dead and counting. Furthermore, Social Justice leads to a reduction in personal charity efforts, which I believe is central to the problem Europe faces with its lost faith. Religion is all but dead over there, and there is a good argument that Socialism was the knife used to kill it. Yet our youth just shout, “Keep trying it! You’re just doing it wrong.” Well, another key tenant of our faith not bearing false witness. No one is doing socialism wrong, it just doesn’t work and has severe and negative consequences when implemented.
While charity is important to us, taxes are not charity, and we should never be foolish enough to buy into the lie that charity and social justice are the same thing. Jesus absolutely was no fan of the rich, but the rich in his time happened to be the government, a little detail Marxists leave out. There were no entrepreneurs, no corporate CEOs, no McDonalds, or Wal-Mart, only a government which oppressed through burdensome taxes and in many cases regulations and forced labor. Today people like Jim Wallis would have us believe that Jesus and Karl Marx were bosom buddies, but I would argue that this is a politically motivated revisioning of Jesus Christ. As CS Lewis points out; the idea of a Marxist Jesus is a lie. Social Justice may look good on paper, but it is the weapon of the adversary and not a tool of our Lord and Savior. Individual freedom and personal liberty. Charity. Charity is the answer.
CS Lewis was a self-described Christian Libertarian. A Christian first and Von Mises-style Libertarian second. He very deliberately and carefully chose the word order. He believed in small government and found wisdom in the Laissez Faire system, however, he also was a staunch advocate of charity, often encouraging people to give to charity until it hurt the giver, to make sure it was indeed a personal sacrifice (Derived from CS Lewis, Mere Christianity). That is what the scriptures teach. And I join other older Christians in disappointment that I am running into so many youths who either don’t get it or just want to trash traditional values because that’s the popular thing to do at college these days.
Contrary to the view of some LDS bloggers, The Book of Mormon is not an extended argument for Social Justice. In fact, it is a warning against Social Justice. It is the story of a nation that destroyed itself in a battle between Kingmen (Gadiantons) and Freemen. The Kingmen were those advocating the sacrifice of personal liberty for the greater good. The Freemen understood that righteousness can only be of any real value if that righteousness is a path chosen. The earliest parts of Second Nephi beat the reader over the head with that point, almost all of Chapter 2 is about that point! (2nd Nephi 2 26-29, is another one that I highly recommend even) The Book of Mormon makes strong arguments for charity, but charity is a choice. Social Justice is not. They are antithetical to each other.
While I refer to the Book of Mormon heavily, be assured these sentiments are in fact echoed in the Bible as well. I just finished another pass through the Old Testament, and time and again found that whenever taxes come up in the Bible, it is also in a negative light. And for those who would refer to the story where Christ says to sell your possessions and give to the poor? (Luke: 12:33) He did not say to give it to the government for wealth redistribution. And as for rendering unto Caesar which is Caesar’s? (Matt. 22:21-22) It’s amazing how quickly we forget that all things in this world belong to God.
More disturbing to me, however, is the frequent griping of more traditional Christians. “How is this happening?” “Where are our leaders on this?” “Why won’t the church leaders speak out?” I must now address them.
While I do wish that the various denominational leaderships would speak out against Socialism, and Communism for the 56462526353720783679236843307th time, I am not convinced that doing so would make any difference. People on both sides of the aisle just cherry-pick what works for their political views and tune out the rest anyway. We in the LDS faith, in particular, come up with a lot of lame excuses as to why the Church doesn’t speak out to try and justify their silence in our minds, “well the church is worldwide now, and they don’t want to trouble the global governments.” Yet, we managed to build a temple in East Germany at the height of the Cold War era despite Ezra Taft Benson being a very vocal critic of Communism. I do know that part of it probably deals with the way the Church is threatened with 501 (C) (3) laws every time it does speak out (the loss of its tax-exempt status . . .) . . . but in the end, it’s our own fault.
Whenever one side of the aisle has a beef with the Church or any other church, they make their feelings on the matter known. They are more than vocal about their grievances. How often do we communicate words of encouragement to our leaders? How often do we write letters thanking them for the difficult stands that they’ve had to take on complex socio-political issues? It’s been my observation that we tend to just fall silent, and when things start to emanate from the pulpit that sounds off… we just leave. The consequence of this is that only one group is being heard, and at best, that voice is pushing our Christian leaders into silence.
It reminds me of 1st Samuel Chapter 8 when Israel demands a King. Samuel presents this to the Lord, God says no. They keep demanding a king and eventually (perhaps tired of all the nagging) God caves in. Of course, it’s a complete disaster, it always is when we refuse to listen, but where were the voices demanding that they maintain liberty? Nowhere. Whose fault is it really?
Now we’re in the battle of our lives. We have sat in horror and watched as actual socialists and communists (by their own self-descriptions) have flooded the white house and surrounded this president whose philosophy and religion fit the very description of the “historic Jesus” described by Screwtape. That Biden is a practitioner of the Liberation Theology version of Catholicism is an inarguable fact. The persecution of more traditional Catholics by his FBI hammers home that point. -2. That Liberation Theology is focused on Social Justice (Marxism) is an inarguable fact. We can bury their heads in the sand all we want, but what we have in front of us is something America has never actually seen before, someone who is at the very least laying the framework for a later dictatorship, one who will only tolerate a reimagined Jesus Christ. One who isn’t the Jewish Rabbi and the divine given flesh, but rather a committed Marxist activist.
First, they will convince you He was a Marxist. Then they will make you deny His divinity, and soon all meaning is stripped from scripture, all pews emptied, all Churches reliant on government stipends, and the message from the pulpit customized by the government, with banners promoting the government affixed to the walls in the hallway in place of the religious paintings that once adorned them. We don’t even need to look to the past, this is going on right now in China as this exact thing is happening to Christian Churches and Hui Muslim Mosques as we speak. The CCP is going so far as to strip the religious symbols from the buildings, even the Muslim Domes are being removed. This is the future our apathy and silence will bring us.
Some of us are starting to complain that the work is too hard. It’s too exhausting, it demands too much. I would say if we had done our part in the first place this would have never happened. And a huge part of that should have been questioning what was going on in the various colleges around the country and paying real attention to the media. We dropped the ball, and as a result, our liberty is being challenged by a counterfeit Christianity that our kids are being taught in school, in the media, and by our “progressive” politicians.
Our carelessness must be repented for, I believe, before anything can be undone and set right. But just as we should have been diligent in defending our liberties in the first place. As tired as you and I are, most of the founding fathers served the country until they were old and gray. Granted, the Revolutionary War lasted only 8 years with countless bloody battles (and Washington’s men fighting many of them without shoes and in the dead of winter.) What we are asked to do is nothing by comparison.
Our sin is that we have allowed ourselves to become a top-down society. We’re waiting for a leader to show up and save the day, but my friends, it simply will not happen that way. Think about how God has always worked. Or if we want to dive into allegory, let’s take it back to CS Lewis. After all, it was re-reading the Screwtape Letters that set me down this line of thought . . . In the book Prince Caspian, Narnia is in desperate trouble. A tyrant king is running amuck, chasing away the rightful heir to the throne and wreaking havoc among the magical creatures of the land. Narnia is in desperate need of Aslan. Instead, Caspian manages to summon more people (Edmund, Peter, Lucy, and Susan) and works with them and the Narnians to put together an army to repel the invading forces. They suffer several crushing defeats until their backs are literally against the wall at their headquarters. Only at the very last second does Aslan show up to lead the heroes to final victory. Only after the heroes had done all they could do did God intervene and rain down blessings upon the land.
Now leftists who read this might scoff at my modernized interpretation of the Narnian classic, but it is, I think, a good reminder for us not to wait around for someone else to fix it for us. In reading the church’s latest documents on welfare (available at www.lds.org) I found that self-reliance is still the end goal of our welfare system. I believe the concept of self-reliance needs to go beyond welfare and must start to enter our political philosophy. We cannot sit around waiting for Aslan to arrive. If the heroes of Prince Caspian had, they’d have been destroyed. We must take it upon ourselves to save our culture, our liberties, and even our gospel if you value it so by standing up and making our voices heard. We cannot wait for a leader to emerge because quite simply, you are the leader, and now is the time to make your voice heard. And if not you, whom? And if not now, when?
Stop waiting for Aslan, go wake up your neighbors.
1-Comment by Jana Reiss, “Beck responds to backlash, Mormons respond to Beck” by Joel Campbell Mormon Times/Deseret News 3-15-2010
2-FBI Under Pressure for Targeting Catholics in Leaked Document, Ewan Palmer, www.newsweek.com, https://www.newsweek.com/fbi-memo-catholics-radical-traditional-leaked-1780379, 2/10/23. Be advised of the Left-Leaning Bias of this source. But it is important to use a Left-Wing Source to show that this did indeed happen. Accessed 6/25/23.