Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 26, 1969

The Unholy Alliance

Burl E. Russell

Powerful forces are at work in our country pressuring our legislators into creating legislation and to modifying our state and national constitutions to accommodate religious taxation; which has always resulted in discord, the oppression of the masses, a religious monopoly, and finally a church-state union, which forces citizens to pay homage to the creation rather than the Creator. Because history furnishes valuable lessons from which we can profit, Christians need to be reminded that such conditions will channel their devotions away from God, suppress divine truths, and discourage their zeal and faith in Him.

Design Of The Church

The church in all its glory, which came directly from the mind of God "with love," and civil government, both ordained by God, each performs its distinct mission on earth effectively and justly only when each functions independently of the other. The church was designed to preserve the soul of man, furnish him with every spiritual need — the government to supply man with the advantages of an organized society which can provide an economy for his physical requirements and the physical force necessary to protect him from evil-doers. I believe that Jehovah proved that His design was for them to remain in their separate spheres, by His command to "render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Moreover the declaration in II Corinthians 9:7 that God wants no financial contributions from anyone that does not come spontaneously, "not grudgingly nor of compulsion," serves notice that the coercive taxation which is an integral part of a church — state union never has had a part in His design for mankind.

Fruits Of Spirit Vs. Grapes Of Wrath

History also furnishes conclusive evidence that the "fruits" of a church-state union, which inevitably results from religious taxation and a religious monopoly, are not "fruits of the spirit" but "grapes of wrath," bearing out the principle that "by their fruits ye shall know them." Furthermore, God has made it quite clear that He is no respecter of persons and earnestly desires that "no one be burdened and others eased," (II Cor. 8:13) yet from the time of ancient Egypt when the priesthood owned one third of the fertile land and enjoyed its vast incomes tax-free while millions groaned under an intolerable and exorbitant taxation, to contemporary times this union has "eased" the "clergy" and "burdened" the masses.

Not only does it violate God's principles in this respect, but coercive tax support vitiates the drive and initiative of those who are supposed to promote God's work, thus also violating God's command to the early Christians that "those who don't work, don't eat."

Despotic Church Administration

With the advent of the "Christian era" and its union of church and state inaugurated by Constantine in the year 325 A. D., the basis was laid for a millennium of tragedy, in which the masses were exploited and intolerably burdened, while the "clergy" grew rich, indolent and politically powerful. Members of the clergy were placed on the public payroll, exempt from all personal and collective taxation. The church was empowered to, not only to receive gifts and legacies, but to appropriate all property of persons who died without direct heirs. Under this despotic religious hegemony, the church grew rich and powerful and acquired one third of all the property of Europe while the people were burdened by taxation and tyranny almost beyond their endurance. As wealth is power, for centuries civil magistrates were merely puppets of ecclesiastics. Under this despotic administration which lasted for over a thousand years, European culture deteriorated beyond our comprehensive ability, every human right was vetoed, and under the influence of iniquitous ecclesiastics and public officials man became totally depraved.

Man has always been greedy for power and pelf and he has learned that the most effective way to acquire both is to augment the power vested in civil government with the power to tax the religious realm, and to control, not only man's physical being but to use man's superstition and awe of God as a club force him to mortgage his property as well as his soul. This power over man has always led to a religious monopoly and a church state union, creating a "Frankenstein" monster with man little more than a puppet on a string, which must be destroyed for the best interests of the majority. Its very creation has "sown the dragon's teeth," and will inevitably be destroyed, as it not only violates God's laws, but man's inherent love for freedom, but not before it foments an intense hatred for all symbols of religion, fosters disenchantment and eventually revolution and bloodshed.

The church was predicated upon love of God for man, and the love of man for God is its motivating force. But when the church obtrudes upon man's God-given free moral agency and assumes the prerogative of coercion, which is foreign to God's will, and all that is holy, it becomes rich and politically powerful, which axiomatically breeds corruption, then arrogance and tyranny. This, in turn drives out all the love man has for the divine Being — leaving only hatred.

A man in a prison cell, although he may have been a compassionate man when free, seldom retains any love for society and especially for those responsible for his imprisonment. With his body imprisoned and the projection of his ideas restricted to the prison-world, he has only his own private thoughts free. Whether guilty or not, he instinctively blames those who were responsible, and often this hatred is harbored so long, and with little else to entertain his thoughts it becomes a malignancy which erodes his very soul, warps his thinking and the only thing he lives for is revenge. By the same token, when a man sees the corrupt power of a church-state union which has enslaved his body and soul, exploited him until he has nothing, all the time instinctively knowing that his God never intended such to be, and with his private thoughts alone free, they also turn to hate. Multiply this hatred of one man who has been enslaved, by millions — and one can begin to comprehend the extent of the hatred which is directed toward those responsible, the anticlericalism which has written so many bloody pages of history for all to see.

A great many nations of the world have been plagued by this 'Frankenstein', the union of church and state, brought about either through apathy or ignorance. The tragedy of Spain speaks eloquently for itself, and it has been the stronghold of the Vatican for centuries. The Republican government established according to the will of the majority of Spaniards in a democratic expression of popular vote, resulted unfavorably in the 1930's to the ambitions of the Roman Catholic Church, after having been the mistress of Spain for so long. She now became the subject of regulations instead of the power behind the throne. Her new status could not be reconciled with canon law, which demands that she be the one in absolute authority. We then can readily see why Rome equipped a modern army, gave material assistance to Franco and provided him with mercenary soldiers and money, and then "blessed" his efforts to subjugate again the people of Spain. The loyal son of the church rang out, and the Pope lifted up "holy hands" in prayer for heaven to come to Franco's aid. Spain's destiny was carried back to the Medieval ages, and a new Inquisition was inaugurated. Protestant and Catholic blood alike was shed, persecution prevailed, bibles were burned, Protestant churches were pillaged and ministers executed in the name of religion, fulfilling the prophesy that some would "kill thinking they were doing God a service."

Religious Fascism

The scene changes to Italy, but the background is the same. This unholy power was motivated to action and given impetus, by the signing of the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini in 1935, and vividly illustrates the depths of depravity the political concubinage resulting from the union of that which is "holy" and that which is mundane. A short time before the signing of this treaty the unconscionable fascist bully 'Mussolini showed his utter contempt for God by remarking — "If someone would introduce me to God, I'd show him my fists." This conduct of both the pope and this dictator was repulsive to all who believed in God and the dignity of man. The rights of all men were trampled in the dirt by this politico-religious despotism, and its power became so great that any criticism of it became a penal offense. Fascism was honored — Roman Catholic style in every Italian school — The children were taught to pray before each meal these words — "Duce, I thank you for what you give me to make me grow healthy and strong. 0, Lord God, protect the Duce, that he may be long preserved for Fascist Italy." (New York Times — Jan. 20, 1938)

This unholy alliance climaxed its infamy by marching into little defenseless Ethiopia with all the might of modern armaments to slaughter defenseless women and children with the standard of Italy and the Vatican flying "proudly" side by side. This era of infamy was expressed eloquently by Popolo d' Italia for October 28, 1935 thus, "On the plains of Ethiopia the Italian Standard carries forward in triumph the Cross of Christ, smashes the chains of slavery and opens the way for missionaries of the gospel." Even if this church were the true church and people had to become members of it to be saved — to kill them and hinder their opportunities for salvation is clearly not of God but of the Devil!

However this does not have to be because the very existence of our great nation constitutes a historical verdict that in an atmosphere of freedom from such an alliance a nation can prosper, develop its potentials and achieve a greatness which is ours. Other countries have wasted their energies in trying to escape the tyrannies of a state-church and the intrigues of hierarchies. Brazil, is a prime example, with potential resources even greater than ours, and settled a century before our country, has been exploited by the Vatican for four hundred years, and now is a third rate nation starving to death if it weren't for the bounty of our nation. Any attempt to establish such a union in our nation would be a flagrant betrayal of our constitution, and of its framers who shed blood, sweat and tears to give us the mechanics to avoid all the tyranny and despotism from which they fled.

This mistress and consort of dictators and kings has come from gagging the people of Europe, and with blood still fresh on her hands is flexing her political muscles with the intention of repeating her performance in other countries. If as Christians we are continue to be apathetic and indolent enough to allow it to happen, we are doing a disservice to the Lord, to our own brethren, and are inviting conditions in which our own faith may not be able to survive.

— 3000 S. Lynhurst Drive, Indianapolis, Ind.