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Should the secular state legislate morality?


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#101 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:23 PM

So, who here is ready to demand to begin living under an earthly unlimited autocratic despotism?


Well, this pretty much sums up what we are taught in school about kings doesn't it?

#102 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:07 PM

So, who here is ready to demand to begin living under an earthly unlimited autocratic despotism?

I don't know there were some people once who wanted to what was the kings name again erm oh yer King David king of Israel.

Then of course there was the Christian Roman Empire (which became less and less democratic till the point of a puppet senate before or after it became Christian?), Russian Empire, Georgia, England, Scotland.

Point is this upto now has been for discussion and debate over the issue not just for one sentence questions.

B.T.W. The point also I belive Evan raised is looking for the best bases of government from and Orthodox point of view not just a monarchy vs republic sprat.

#103 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:38 PM

God told the Israelites that they would be better off without a king, but they demanded and God acquiesced. Tsar Peter the (not-so) Great did more harm than good when it came to "modernizing" the Russian Church and imported all sorts of Roman influence. I am just not so sure that monarchy is all that "beautiful". I find G. K. Chesterton's observation that the monarchy is sort of the ultimate democracy, in that it implies that anybody, even by accident of birth, can rule a nation. However, does history really bear this out? This bear of little brain prefers a trinitarian form of government (executive, legislative, judicial) to the autocratic but that might just be me.

But the whole idea that we have some sort of government, above the tribal level, is to prevent internecine conflict and provide for the common good and that does have to include a "common" view of morality, yes?

Herman the Pooh

#104 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:52 PM

Did God tell the Israelites they would be better off without a king or rather was it they would be better having God Himself as there king rather than man? Before the king God ruled directly through the judges in effect a Theocracy.

Tsar Peter was interfering in the Church it is not the place for the state to interfere in the Church he is there only to defend it.

This bear of little brain prefers a trinitarian form of government (executive, legislative, judicial) to the autocratic but that might just be me.

I'm not convinced executive, legislative, judicial can really be seen as an example of the Holy Trinity for one it would mean diving God into parts that fulfil a function I don't think this can be done (And in this the role I don't think is really mimicked in the state). Even though in is action in time the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each play a part in our salvation the only difference between them I have been taught is that the Father is not begotten, the Son is begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit is not begotten but proceeds from the Father. Plus under a monarchy there are still laws the king has to abide by and his is not the only judge.

But the whole idea that we have some sort of government, above the tribal level, is to prevent internecine conflict and provide for the common good and that does have to include a "common" view of morality, yes?

Which to me is why a king who in maters of state rulels but in faith obeys is right the king and the Church work together for the salvation of the people the king by providing a stable and free country letting the Church tend to the peoples faith.

#105 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:34 PM

Point is this upto now has been for discussion and debate over the issue not just for one sentence questions.


However, if anyone truly believes that absolute monarchy is superior, why is nobody volunteering to live in one? Why is praxis not following political doctrine? Where is this sinless King? Where is this Holy Monarch?

#106 Paul Cowan

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:54 PM

However, if anyone truly believes that absolute monarchy is superior, why is nobody volunteering to live in one? Where is this sinless King? Where is this Holy Monarch?


I'll go. Point the way.

#107 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:26 PM

"Heavenly King Comforter...." and how often do we call the Theotokos a queen? I guess here are our sinless and Holy Monarchs...

But just to be clear, I am not actually advocating a return to a sovereign rulership, nor saying that a Republic is intrinsically bad. It's not being a monarchy that makes what Russia had beautiful, but the fact that it was understood and lived out in a sacramental framework.

I am saying that we need a change of mind rather then advocating a change of govt.

The governed and those governing have to see themselves, their relationship with and obligtions to each other, and the greater society differently. Then maybe some aspect of the sacramental could be present in a Republic too. This is just my very uneducated opinion.

#108 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:55 AM

Tsar Peter was interfering in the Church it is not the place for the state to interfere in the Church he is there only to defend it.


Um, well, actually, says who? The Tzar? Evidently, not always. As Mel Brooks says "it's good to be the king!"

Which to me is why a king who in maters of state rulels but in faith obeys is right the king and the Church work together for the salvation of the people the king by providing a stable and free country letting the Church tend to the peoples faith.


Again, says who? This might be the case in a parliamentary monarchy, but it is not always the case and even so only after much struggle by the people to put such a system in place. Let's see, aside from Tzar Peter and Tzarina Catherine, there is good ol' Julian the Apostate—now THERE is an interesting example of king and church working together (not). Accident of birth indeed! Seems like getting a good "God-fearing" monarch can be such a gamble. At least a trinitarian form of government ensures that no single individual or even group gets too far out of hand. I think the Founding Fathers of America were incredibly wise to make things hard to change by the government, all those checks and balances. Not perfect, but it toddles along anyway. The USA has the worst government in the world, except for all the others …

Herman the accidental Pooh

#109 Antonios

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:52 AM

I think most types of systems of government are in theory wonderful and can reach great heights, if the people truly agree with it. The reality is that for some of these systems, for example socialism or communism, it can usually only work and survive if done on a small scale by like-minded people who are geographically able to create and sustain a productive and growing economic system. In such conditions, these forms of governance may be beneficial. Unfortunately, this is a fallen world, and as such, any form of government we create is corruptible and the passions of men are many.

I personally like monarchies but only when the king is good. I think it is natural as a people to have someone as a leader, and some of the saints were kings.

Sadly, such saint kings are rare if non existent today. History instead is replete of stories of kings who were tyrants and murderers, or who enslaved others or made indentured servants out of them. For this reason, because of the evil in the world, there are great risks in a monarchial system, because one bad apple can rot the entire barrel.

That is why I am in the opinion that a Republic is the best form of government. In fact, is not our ecclesiastical heirarchy constructed in similar fashion? Not exactly, but pretty close when compared to all the others. Federation of bodies who send their representatives chosen by the people to discuss in consul the pressing matters of the day?

And even in the three branches, it suggests a trinitarian image, however imperfect and limited image it is. That in three there is harmony and justice and balance. A Legislative, a Judicial, and and Executor branch. I am not a theologian, so what do I know, but this notion intrigues me and I don't believe it to be coincidental.

And the entire Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written in the expressed knowledge that EVIL exists, and that GOD is the source of our liberties and gifts. And that each person is of worth and should be given the same opportunity to advance in their life. What perfectly Christian ideas! And, most importantly, that even against the greatest odds, the truths should exists, even amongst the ravaging masses. And so, in order to defend the God given graces and liberties of man and protect the minority (even to the very single individual!), a Constitutional Republic was formed, where everyone was ensured a voice and to be treated equally. By this, even if but a remnant remained who professed a particular wisdom or truth, a corrupted government and its corruptible human leaders could not quench their rights or ability to spread the truth. The world has never been the same, and this has been the model used for most developed nations of the past century. There is no denying the remarkable work of the founding fathers and I'm sure there spinning in their graves right now.

When the general public practices fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of Law is respected and legislated democratically by a knowledge and concerned citizenry, and when there is an equal separation of powers of the three branches, history has shown the greatest prosperity and achievements, outpacing and outdoing all the preceding thousands of years combined. Of course, some might also say that the greatest evils have occurred too, and because civilization is decaying then that proves the inadequacies and weakness of such a system of government. But is that really fair? I don't know. In some ways, sure. We have become in many ways materialistic power hungry imperialists, using fake and imaginary credit from fiat paper money created out of thin air by a bunch of money-changing central bankers who loan it out at interest. Wasn't it Lord Rothschild who said "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws!" I'm more of the notion that it is because we have allowed central bankers to control the people that we are in much of the mess we are in.

Oh well, I've rambled enough and have strayed from the topic. I guess that's my opinion on the matter, after all most of what we have read in this thread, be it a quote from Thomas Jefferson or Herman the Pooh, are merely opinions, as I don't believe there is an official teaching from the Church regarding most of these topics(although I may be wrong, and if so, would love to learn it). In the end, I can agree with the founders of this nation that my liberties are from God and that the government's sole and main purpose is to protect such stated rights of every person made in the image of God.

#110 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 11:43 AM

However, if anyone truly believes that absolute monarchy is superior, why is nobody volunteering to live in one? Why is praxis not following political doctrine?

How can I if it does not exist?

Where is this sinless King? Where is this Holy Monarch?

Christ is our sinless King our Holy Monarch. Kings on earth are not expected to be sinless they are only human like us they are to work out there salvation with fear and trembling, they also have the resonspbilty again in the fear and love of God to administer to the country which they have been given to rule over. In other words the king is in effect a earl or governor with Christ himself as the King.

Um, well, actually, says who? The Tzar? Evidently, not always. As Mel Brooks says "it's good to be the king!"

It is not upto the Tzar to say I am not saying that the king is above all as in medieval England after the "reformation", rather the King (Tzar/Prince/Emperor) is still subject to the Church in matters of faith.



Again, says who? This might be the case in a parliamentary monarchy, but it is not always the case and even so only after much struggle by the people to put such a system in place. Let's see, aside from Tzar Peter and Tzarina Catherine, there is good ol' Julian the Apostate—now THERE is an interesting example of king and church working together (not).

I agree there is an example of Church and king not working for the common salvation of the people there is the problem not in the system itself. Other times it does work,

King Edmund the Martyr,
King Alfred the Great,
King David the builder,
Queen Ketevan the Martyr,
Emperor Constantine the Great,
Emperor Justinian,


Accident of birth indeed! Seems like getting a good "God-fearing" monarch can be such a gamble.

Indeed it can, but a democracy provides far more people pleasing mps.

At least a trinitarian form of government ensures that no single individual or even group gets too far out of hand.

Do you mean that it is three or are you linking this to the Holy Trinity?

I think the Founding Fathers of America were incredibly wise to make things hard to change by the government, all those checks and balances. Not perfect, but it toddles along anyway.

What difference does whether one person or many do something wrong make, the taking of the Indian's land, the resent invasion into Serbia in the Kosovo conflict, republics seem no better to me, just look at the first French republic.

The USA has the worst government in the world, except for all the others …

Sorry but you cannot say the USA has a better government then the rest of the world. Now in this democracy who gets in office the Republicans or Democrats there is no real choice anyway the same here with the Tories and Labour just not as bad as there is a small chance a smaller party could gain office or at least some say.

#111 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:06 PM

Sinfulness in itself was never for the Fathers the test of whether one was loyal to the authorities or not. If it had been then it's clear there would be no one to be loyal to.

Instead the Fathers worked from the concept of obedience which is clearly Christian. And from this concept came the idea of obeying the authorities.

But this never meant robot like doing what you're told; it didn't mean being mindless or going against God's law. Rather it meant fulfilling God's law here on earth by honouring those placed in authority.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#112 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:31 PM

"Heavenly King Comforter...." and how often do we call the Theotokos a queen? I guess here are our sinless and Holy Monarchs.


You have made my point quite well. What Tsar was the equal to the Heavenly King? What Tsarina to the Theotokos?

The governed and those governing have to see themselves, their relationship with and obligtions to each other, and the greater society differently. Then maybe some aspect of the sacramental could be present in a Republic too.


It has been the nature of government from the 17th century onward, and this includes the allegedly "sacaramental" state of Russia, to see itself as the ultimate sovereign, answerable to nobody, not even to God--although it has been happy to invoke God for its worldly purposes. I do not see this government-is-God trend reversing. Thus, I would rather see government weak and dispersed.

#113 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:33 PM

Instead the Fathers worked from the concept of obedience which is clearly Christian. And from this concept came the idea of obeying the authorities.


Very well, then, in that case, how does this mean "Absolute Monarchy = Good" and "Republic = Bad". Can there not be obedience within a Republic?

But this never meant robot like doing what you're told; it didn't mean being mindless or going against God's law. Rather it meant fulfilling God's law here on earth by honouring those placed in authority.


Well, let's see, God has placed a Republic in authority where I live. Therefore, I must honor a Republic, not a monarchy.

#114 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:08 PM

It has been the nature of government from the 17th century onward, and this includes the allegedly "sacaramental" state of Russia, to see itself as the ultimate sovereign, answerable to nobody, not even to God--although it has been happy to invoke God for its worldly purposes. I do not see this government-is-God trend reversing. Thus, I would rather see government weak and dispersed.

I know what you mean and ideally I would like to see a strong God fearing king. A weaker government does look appealing as it is at the moment.

#115 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:34 PM

North Korea is an absolute monarchy. Cuba might be an absolute monarchy (although it could actually be an aristocracy). If absolute monarchy is the best possible system of government, go live there. Now, don't get weasely and quibbly about it having to be a "Christian monarchy", etc. If monarchy, especially absolute monarchy, is inherently more Godly than is a Republic, then atheist North Korea and atheist Cuba must be inherently more Godly.

#116 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:42 PM

Sorry but you cannot say the USA has a better government then the rest of the world. Now in this democracy who gets in office the Republicans or Democrats there is no real choice anyway the same here with the Tories and Labour just not as bad as there is a small chance a smaller party could gain office or at least some say.


Um, I didn't actually say that the USA has a "better" government, but you cannot say the USA has a worse government than the rest of the world either, not at least without mentioning ONE that is somehow "better". Go ahead, please point out the model government that is "better" than the USA.

Herman the "don't hurry, I'll wait" Pooh

#117 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:19 PM

A lot is being confused here. One is the Christian ideal of authority which is not the same as an abuse of authority. So for example according to Orthodox understanding monarchy is an ideal form of government whereas dictatorship never is.

The other confusion is over the Christian understanding of obedience or honour to authority which in some ways applies even in dictatorships: eg the many saints in former communist countries who did not politically resist 'out of conscience' the authorities (which usually is a very worldly concept anyway) but rather applied a life of transfigured and martyric love to the conditions they lived in and the authorities they encountered (when Fr George Calciu was asked about those who tortured him in prison he smiled and even laughed).

The rhetorical question you raise:

If absolute monarchy is the best possible system of government, go live there. Now, don't get weasely and quibbly about it having to be a "Christian monarchy", etc.

in real life actually applies to many, including Christians. In other words if God places us in a condition of terror and dictatorship, do we choose to remain or do we flee? Such questions can never be answered in a theoretical sense but according to God's will each person chooses to stay or remain. And those who choose to stay certainly do choose a godly path that can sanctify.

I think that any Christian would find this an edifying example.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#118 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 04:13 PM

The rhetorical question you raise: in real life actually applies to many, including Christians. In other words if God places us in a condition of terror and dictatorship, do we choose to remain or do we flee?


That is the direct opposite of the question I raise, actually.

If God places us in a condition of safety under a free Republic, given that a Republic is an inherently more evil form of government vs. an autocracy (which the monarchists have rather plainly stated), are we expected to work toward replacing it with an autocracy or fleeing to an autocracy?

#119 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 04:32 PM

That is the direct opposite of the question I raise, actually.

If God places us in a condition of safety under a free Republic, given that a Republic is an inherently more evil form of government vs. an autocracy (which the monarchists have rather plainly stated), are we expected to work toward replacing it with an autocracy or fleeing to an autocracy?


Dear Bryan,

Christians aren't often supporters of revolutions and for good reason. This gets to the heart of the question raised in this thread. However they often have left for what they believe more ideal conditions.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#120 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 04:40 PM

North Korea is an absolute monarchy. Cuba might be an absolute monarchy (although it could actually be an aristocracy). If absolute monarchy is the best possible system of government, go live there.

No beacuse I am not Cuban or Korean I am English I have a loyalty to my country which is a monarchy despite Her Majesty having no control over her government. Also the examples are more dictatorships then monarchies.

Given that a Republic is an inherently more evil form of government vs. an autocracy

The problem with a republic to me is that it sees a man as independent and as coming together and choiceing to appoint some one to govern them, as tough they had the right to do so. A monarchy is top down a man/woman appointed by God to rule over the people.

Um, I didn't actually say that the USA has a "better" government, but you cannot say the USA has a worse government than the rest of the world either, not at least without mentioning ONE that is somehow "better". Go ahead, please point out the model government that is "better" than the USA.

Herman the "don't hurry, I'll wait" Pooh

I would say the H.M. Government here (if it was working correctly) would be slightly better. But I am not trying to focus on specific countries there are many republics not just the U.S.A.




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