An excellent Reflection for New Year's Day from Chuck Colson at Prison Fellowship, who, of course, does not agree with my desire to abolish the institution of "civil government."
Men like William Wilberforce and John Newton worked to abolish the slave trade in Britain. Slavery was an institution. It was legally protected by "the government," which was also called an "institution," even called "a divine institution." Many great statesmen believed that abolishing the institution of slavery and freeing the slaves would result in cultural chaos and economic ruin. This belief is no longer respected. We can respect these great statesmen and still disagree with them, and work to abolish that which they are working to preserve.
How can a small group of Christians ever hope to abolish an entire institution?
Our New Year's Resolutions don't have to take the form, "I resolve to single-handedly abolish an inhumane institution that oppresses millions of people around the world and brings billions of dollars in profits to their exploiters."
All that's required is to resolve, "Every time I am given an opportunity, I will respectfully and winsomely denounce this inhumane and unChristian institution. Every time I get a chance, I will remind my neighbors that this institution needs to be abolished."
If 200 million Americans who claim to be Christian would make this little resolution, the effect would be extraordinary. It would change the world.
But 200 million Americans who claim to be Christian in 2008 are in the same boat as Christians in the days of Wilberforce and Newton: they accept the moral legitimacy of huge global institutional immorality. They never even think about it. They never ask the question, "Is this morally acceptable?" because they are only dimly aware of "this."
The institution of "the State" is the institution of theft, kidnapping, moral subversion and murder on a global scale. Many people sincerely believe that without it, we will be plunged into cultural chaos and economic ruin. We must be respectful to them as human beings, knowing that in the future their faith in this inhumane institution will no longer be respected.