The Religion is a Law
Theologians and philosophers for the church have always looked up scripture, as though they were looking up law. Throughout St. Augustine's book The City of God, there are numerous references to the books of Psalms and Romans to support arguments. The book, too, though regarded as a theological work, is highly political. While St. Augustine may have been focused on heaven, his words were materially about the relationship of Christians in regards to the Roman government and other religions. The basis of St. Augustine's foreign policy for the religion was the scripture of the Bible, just as a diplomatic might draw up a treaty, citing powers assigned to them by the constitution in making a national agreement.
When looking through any of the speeches by the Popes, you always find many citations and references to the Bible's scripture. Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, for instance, made references to Luke and Ephesians' lines when addressing his own bishops. [*1] Similarly, Pope Urban II made references to Luke and Matthew when giving a speech in 1095 to justify the first Crusades against the Middle East. [*2] In conducting their own affairs, the Catholic Church has regarded the scripture as a type of law, which gives powers and responsibilities -- which declares innocence on one party and guilt on another. The Pope even blessed the bomber planes and the concentration camps of Mussolini, because it contributed to the political and economic strength of the church. [*3]
There is a curiosity about using religious scripture in this way, where its intent is to achieve some worldly benefit in favor of the church. When looking through the gaps of barbed wire and posts that make up the concentration camp walls, one may necessarily ask, "But didn't Jesus say 'Love Thy Enemies'?" (Matthew 5:44) How is it that those who are given the responsible of upholding the will of Christ have made enemies out of their neighbors? How is it that those who "love their enemies" are those who put their enemies through the most excruciating, painful tortures?
When you see such a contradiction, there is one thing you know more than any other: dishonesty. No person could believe that they were loving their enemies by piercing them with shards of glass in a confined space of the Inquisition's dungeons. If you examine the process more deeply, you'll see that those who adhere to the religion do so because of its soft and compassionate parts; Christian families do not celebrate the Old Testament's rape and slavery of children, but rather focus on somewhat more pleasant thoughts, like the afterlife and redemption. The banners of the church speak of the glorious compassion of Christ, but in their basements, they are subjecting prisoners to the most inhuman torture imaginable.
This has been the church's history for more than a thousand years. From it, you become convinced that the peace and love in the scripture is used to lure in the people, and convince them they are participating something that wants peace and love -- but in reality, those in power can work through scripture any way they like, and by emphasizing one part and ignoring another, they can manipulate the outcome of "faith" to anything they like. And so the workings of the Inquisition look less like honest people looking through the scripture and trying to actually implement. In actuality, they look like those who rework the scripture to fit whatever meaning they want it to have. How else could those who "love their enemies" burn and kill so many in the name of Christ?
The Law is a Religion
But then you throw a human being in court, after the police dragged him there in an orange jumpsuit with chains on his wrists and shackles on his feet. The infraction could have been anything: sleeping in a field that he didn't know belonged to someone else, loitering or begging, public assembly without a permit (three or more people), and even asking for employment. [*4] Ask him to explain why he was at the park at 8:00 pm on a Friday night, or why he was in town while being intoxicated on alcohol, or why he was walking through a privately owned field. Ask him to explain why he has deviated from the written law.
The judge will certainly remind him of the crimes that are listed under subsections A-B plus D, of the city statutes of 184.108.40.206, which were enacted with the authority of the state constitution's constitution under clauses 2, 3, and 17 in the section on legislative powers, which are in accordance with similar sections, subsections, and amendments to the national constitution. "But doesn't the first sentence of the declaration of independence state that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Am I not pursuing liberty by walking freely, am I not being happy when I enjoy society without harming anyone else?"
The first line of the constitution means nothing compared to an addendum, written in small font, on the back of the constitution, which allows the governors to break any part of the constitution at will (the "Necessary-And-Proper Clause"). It is like the masses of women and children, sitting before their executioners at the Vatican, and begging for mercy, "But didn't Christ say to love your enemies?" The Pope's response was swift and quick, "That's the message on our banners. But the technical law of our religious books tells us to execute blasphemers." The victims beg once more, "But the primary message of Christ was love!" And the religious executioner responds, like the judge, "But if you open up the Old Testament, refer to the section of Leviticus, turn to chapter 24, and select verse 16 specifically, you shall see that we're actually supposed to rip you to pieces in the name of the lord." [*5]
This rattling off of page numbers, books, sections, paragraphs, and subsections is preferred to thinking. Why should the Pope interpret something as wide as "love," or a judge have any meaning for something as deep as "liberty"? It is easier to refer to a range of punishments, such as solitary confinement and maximum security prisons, than to apply something as universal and powerful as either love or liberty. Likewise, judges and bishops have never been chosen for their intellectual or compassionate qualities. They're chosen on the judgment of politicians who expect them to obey orders. Obedience to those in charge, whether a lawyer or an inquisitor, is more important than obedience to that source of ultimate truth -- whether called "scripture" or "law."
Here, like religion, the government manipulates its laws. "Faith" is determined not by what is written in the holy books, but by what is convenient for the pope and his clergy. Likewise, "law" is not determined by the constitution or what is written in the lawbooks. It is whatever is convenient for those in charge of the government. Ask the United States government where it has enacted "Equality Before the Law," an important amendment to the US constitution. And it is nowhere: debt for a corporation lasts for six months, for a poor person it is seven years. Stealing millions of dollars for a CEO results in absolutely no jail time -- this after more than a century of a the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which punishes offenders with prison time.
Ten-year-old children are serving prison time today on US territory for stealing food. [*6] And yet, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stole more than $40 billion in a cartel in 2002, with none of the guilty executives receiving jail or prison sentences. [*7] There are two people who are going to look at the United States and believe that the law is enforced for the equality, liberty, and happiness of everyone: fools and those who have something to benefit by a brainwashed population.
Why is this law not upheld? It is the same as asking why the Catholic Church did not uphold the law of love when waging the Crusades: because it benefits those in charge, and helps them in dominating and controlling the masses. The concept of equality in law, then, is like the concept of love within scripture. They both appear as these intoxicating sentiments based on a society where everyone receives something according to their particular tastes, without infringing on the opportunities or rights of any other person. They are beautiful ideas, but they are nothing more than masks for the demons lurking beneath -- church and state.
A Simple Idea, like Love and Liberty
Consider the man who knows no laws and pleads to the judge, "But don't I have that right? Am I not at liberty to that?" An ignoramous, a fool, an idiot, someone begging to be given the maximum sentence and without a slight bit of mercy -- this is the interpretation of such a human being by the court system. It is the same individual as the human being who question the church's torture and murder of human beings, "But did not Christ tell us to love?" What a fool! the bishops and the priests and the theologians belched out. But today, these unknown, questioning individuals -- victims of the church -- make up the first half of the book in the history of intellectual freedom.
They are like Newtons and Einsteins, who take these complicated, contradictory and ridiculous systems of science, and then reduce them to one or two single statements. An objection in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest. This is far more simple and complete in explaining physics than a system that imagines every object to be composed of fire, earth, wind, and fire, and to be moved up or down, left or right, only according to how much it is composed of these "elements." So it is too with the man who's mind cannot "move beyond" the concept of absolute love, and knows no other defense when resisting a church who conducts torture of non-believers.
And, so it is too, in our modern court system, where a man states simply that he has nothing to harm anyone else, and therefore, he ought to deserve the right to liberty. Thousands of pages have been spent on such abstract ideas as will, sin, inherent human nature, and the intentions of god to justify to the Church's power to wage wars. These are the writings of theologians, constantly contradictory and constantly being rewritten. You have heard that man is inherently evil, and therefore needs to be to sent to war or the torture chamber, as the church sees fit. So, too, you will hear the same doctrine in the law, except with the state committing these actions. Humanity, by participating in society, has consented to the laws, which are used against him, without his consent. No law book has ever attempted to argue more than that.
You will hear that a man, by being born in society, has given his consent to be coerced and thrown into prison, even before he has heard of the idea of consent. Just like the babies that the Catholic Church has condemned to hell or purgatory, because their souls were not saved -- though they had no idea what a soul was when they were sent to be judged by those in heaven. Ignorance of the law and ignorance of consenting to be governed by the law are, likewise, no justification. If you didn't know it was illegal to walk across an empty, green field, you'll still serve two weeks in jail -- even if you were an infant who passed away from pneumonia, you must still go to purgatory to be tortured for not accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. Ignorance of god is no excuse for avoiding hell. Nor is ignorance of the law no excuse for avoiding jail.
"There is a mirage among the peoples' minds, that tells them to love and to have compassion," says the ruler, of either religion or government, "But because of the details of the phantom that everyone imagines, we must persecute and kill you. Because of some contradictory verse in the scripture, or because of some unconstitutional law in the lawbooks, because of this small detail rooted underneath that spirit of love and equality we must execute you -- we must take your property, destroy your home, and obliterate all that you have." This is the essential message of the judge and the inquisitor when passing verdicts against the accused in their courts.
To those in power, the minute details of love and equality make every individual a suspect who needs to be subordinated to the state. In signing their prison and death sentences, love and equality are most flagrantly disobeyed. It is true whether you consider Pope or President, Dalai Lama or Dictator. What a marvelous trick for fooling and betraying the people: tell them that they have liberty, and then explain it in such a way as to put a few people in power over the many. And so, too, with love being interpreted so that prisons and wars are still used to carry out its purposes. The actual substance of state and church are the selfish interests of those in charge, and whatever must be done to accomplish their desires.
"Love" and "Equality" are propaganda for religious and political powers. It convinces the people to loan their support to the social organization. But society's rulers are not motivated by these ideas -- they are motivated by interpretations that extend and empower their authority.
Plans of Midevil Persecution Brought Back To Society
Stalin condemned his enemies as "Petit-Bourgeois" and "Trotskyist" and "Reactionary," some of the phrases that Lenin used. [*8] Who were these enemies? Anarchists and Council Communists, Democratic Socialists and Leftists Liberals. It was a wide array politically, involving those who wanted to abolish Capitalism, to those who wanted to maintain it forever. This group of "enemies of Communism," according to Stalin, were themselves either devoted Communists or critics of Capitalism. But new phrases are in order.
Stalin started talking about "Socialism in One Country," the idea of developing Socialism in Russia before spreading World Revolution. [*9] It was such a minor creed, and it meant essentially nothing. The Soviet Union never socialized itself, giving its factories to its workers or its fields to its peasants. Asking whether Socialism needs to be spread in Russia or the world was pointless, as it existed in neither place.
The one leading opposition to Stalin, at this period in Soviet politics, was Leon Trotsky. But they were both politicians in the same parliament, after having overthrown a society that was managed and controlled directly by the people -- workers in their factories, neighborhoods by their residents. What was Trotsky's problem with Stalin? Was it the mass killings? Certainly not, as they brushed shoulder to shoulder when bombing the workers' commune of Kronstadt. Was it the secret trials and secret imprisonments? Definitely not, because they both condemned many innocent people to slave camps and death.
Trotsky theorized that Socialism can be achieved only if the Soviet Union throws itself into world revolution, meaning that the government must be maintained until the people are free. But Stalin took the opposite position: Socialism can only be achieved if it survives in Russia, first, meaning that the government must be maintained until this survival. Two theories of state, both reaching the same conclusion: There must be power of some few over the many, and that power must be held by me. Trotsky's idea of government never varied from Stalin's.
Trotsky wanted a "Democratic Dictatorship" while Stalin wanted a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat." The conclusions were always toward the great power of themselves. Never was it once doubted that Socialism is good and that Capitalism was bad. It was these minor issues of ideology, not practice, that led to Stalin's numerous assassination attempts on his former co-revolutionary -- until Trotsky was found dead with an ice-pick in his back in Mexico, 1940.
In 1054, the Christian Church split into the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Over what great debate did such a powerful divide come from? The addition of the phrase "and the Son" after the word God into the Church's official doctrine. There was also the issue of whether "icons," such as the cross, should be allowed to be displayed in churches -- even though both churches use icons today. And, finally, whether the bread used in communion should be unleavened or not. [*10] [*11] [*12] These are just meaningless disputes that had almost nothing to do with belief at all. Their real importance was helping one member of the church take the spoils from another member. Politicians of another realm.
Abolish Hierarchy of the Mind and the Body
In governments, "law" receives the some respect and mysterious qualities as "god" does within the church's realm. It is something that exists only in the minds of the people, without any physical manifestation in reality, except how those believers react to their beliefs. The gods do not exist! And, with the same reasoning, we might also declare, the states do not exist! There are only human beings who claim to represent these things.
A state, in theory, is an entity that passes laws democratically and enforces them equally before all citizens. Nothing even remotely resembling this has ever existed, even though wherever it has been believed in, it has always been given those qualities: in the interest of the people, equal, fair, just, etc.. Similarly, god does not exist, but wherever people have believed in such a deity, they believed he was equal, fair, just, etc..
The inquisitor speaks on behalf of the immutable powers of god in order to to hold down and torture millions of victims. The state speaks on similarly immutable powers, the will of the people, and both organizations have the same intentions. But in both cases, there is no such thing as the abstract concept of god or the abstract concept of the will of the people. How could you become a philosopher of abstract concepts, like god and peoples' will, when you're surveying a scene where millions of enslaved and thousands have been openly slaughtered?
"As yes, it is a harsh punishment, but after all, the Pope is the speaker of the universe's greatest authority, the lord almighty." This is the reasoning that someone may make when a handful of men condemn a human being to being burned alive. But we are too civilized today. We no longer see god's will enacting itself through the torture chamber of the inquisition. We recognize that pitiful, sad scene now for exactly what it is: a group of vicious killers who have been allowed to victimize individuals. And all this because they have convinced society that this persecuting organization is necessary.
Is the situation really all that different when we view the scene of a criminal court, whether it's in an elected government or a dictatorship? The judges, taking the place of inquisitors, are no longer moved by the unseen, abstract concepts such as god, purgatory, and communicating with the divine. The new superstition is the will of the people. This unseen entity speaks in the ear of the judge, helpfully guided by bribes just like the priesthood. In the past, the Inquisitor condemned a Muslim or a Jew to be burned alive, and today, the judge sends their victim to a death chamber, where victim's veins are filled with a burning chemical.
The justification is always curious. The inquisitor burns alive a human being for having a different religion, and provides this elaborate explanation, "The universe, having been created by a god, needed to be cared for, since humanity sinned and was not perfect, and therefore, we have power to uphold the lord's ultimate honor." And this is why a living human being, who has done nothing against us, must be tied to piece of wood and thrown into a tower of flame. The reason for this murder goes back thousands of years to a different people who were living off of the land without much society. What an absurdity!
And is it less absurd when a court today condemns a human being to such miserable oppression? Even though the United States Constitution protects the right to religion in the first amendment, the United States government has ruled that this does not apply to the Native American in 1990. [*13] Homes, jobs, families -- lost because of this criminalization. And what justification is there? What god or spirit do the politicians pull out of the closet to explain as their divine inspiration? Why, it is the Will of the People, of course! A few years ago, the majority voted for the politician of one party, instead of the other. Either it was judge or it was a politician who picked the judge.
"Why must we condemn this human being to being ostracized from society and culture because of their tradition? Because a few years ago, people threw their ballots into a box, that selected one of two nearly indistinguishable politicians. Because of this, we now have the eternal, unbreakable, unbridgeable right to govern and control those who have given us this abstract concept of WILL OF THE PEOPLE!" In viewing the two, the persecutor of church and the persecutor of state, we find minimal differences. The source of power, some ridiculous story that may or may not be true, is unusually translated into such brutal and vicious commands. And, in both cases, it is clear that phantoms and spirits govern the mind.
It is superstition, if it is believing that god hand-selected a few people to control the souls of everyone. This idea is propped up by myths and fables, questionable histories and questionable rulers. Government is also a superstition, except its inspiration is the abstract concept of the will of the people and it is based also on fables and stories. But even if the stories were true, even if some elections were fair, even if there is some inherent sin in humanity, even then -- the idea was used not to do anything good with society. It was used simply to persecute, exploit, oppress, and enslave.
*1. "Address Of His Holiness Benedict Xvi To Members Of The Bishops' Conference Of Puerto Rico On Their 'Ad Limina' Visit," Saturday, 30 June 2007, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican.va Link.