On an academic basis, I consider this study of American cultural boundaries useful. Part of my approval rests on establishing the clear difference between the Puritan Pilgrims (Puritan WASPs) and other Northern Europeans (non-Puritan WASPs). The author helpfully goes on to explain how the Constitution reflects a mostly Puritan ideal of civil law that is revered as sacred, and not simply a matter of sensible compromise between disparate cultures. Thus, the Bill of Rights was little more than a token recognition of the non-Puritan culture that wasn’t obsessed with using law to create a Utopia.
Yes, Puritans are responsible for what we now regard as Social Justice or Political Correctness. Puritanism, in essence, fully accepted the elitism of the English nobility, but not the pagan background for it. The Puritans insisted that their purified “Christian” outlook justified taking over the reigns of the British Empire. Since they couldn’t dislodge the existing “pagan” nobility from the UK, they needed an untamed land to colonize with their better brand of elitism. “We’ll show them!” When the Articles of Confederation were drawn up, the Puritans were not yet a dominant political force. They first provoked a wave of disorder and chaos, then used it as an excuse to assert their more elitist approach. Does anyone remember that the Constitutional Convention overstepped their mandate completely? It was a coup.
The result was a very strong central government that the states actually didn’t want, but the Puritans managed to seized the reins of power just long enough to ram this thing through. Yes, the US Constitution is the result of a conspiracy. The Bill of Rights was a way to keep the non-Puritans from coming back and wiping the whole thing away. You see, the non-Puritans didn’t want to seize control; they wanted a system that prevented it. They wrongly believed the Bill of Rights was enough to preserve their functional freedoms. It was pure propaganda, and the non-Puritans bought it.
Since those days, the thread of Puritan theology has stained the very soul of US government. Meanwhile, the language of liberty with all the various non-Puritan quotations has been used as a false front in a fundamentally oppressive elitist intent.
It’s useful to be aware of this. It helps to understand just what has given life to this awful situation in which we live, and why it simply cannot be amended and made better. The whole point of history as an academic discipline is to track the influences that brought us where we are today. This is wholly consistent with what we teach as a prophetic view of what God is doing in our world today. Allow me to point out how other threads of human history provide a blueprint for driving forward into America’s future as heart-led people of faith.
One of the few things the Roman Empire got right was taking a cue from previous empires: Subject nations retained some legal authority over their own people regardless of where they were within the wider empire. While it was argued and debated in the Roman Senate just how much of Roman Law trumped these other subject kingdom laws, the fact remained that an officer of the Assyrian court could legally track down and arrest any Assyrian subject as far away as Baetica (southern Spain today) for violating Assyrian law. This was the principle under which Saul of Tarsus could arrest Christian Jews in Damascus. It’s also why Jews could observe their cultural uniqueness wherever they went, within some limits.
Rome was the last imperial government to maintain this tradition. Since then, no empire has extended that privilege to conquered kingdoms and states. The US in particular is pernicious and hateful about forcing the Puritan WASP mythology down everyone’s throat, even where she lacks so much as the pretense of legal authority. But the fundamental Biblical Law does recognize the right of kingdoms to maintain their own national culture and law.
We who walk in the heart-led way and share in the Radix Fidem Covenant are free in Christ to maintain our identity wherever we go in this world. We will never see official recognition anywhere on a human level, but Creation (reality) itself will support our efforts to assert our unique way of life. That’s because our way is so much closer to God’s own ways than all of the rest of humanity put together. While one could argue how well we succeed, our entire aim is to walk in His revelation from the start, the same revelation by which our Creation judges all things. We can afford to be gentle and wholly voluntary in our “enforcement” of our covenant, because Creation itself is the enforcement mechanism. There’s no elitism here.
God says He judges us on the desires of our hearts, our commitment and faith, not our ability to succeed. Biblical Law is not legislation and regulation, but love and fellowship. Are you a citizen of such a kingdom?