Biblical Freedom vs. State Compulsion in Military Service (Or: Why the draft is evil.)

AmericaDoesntOwnAmericans

Who owns you?

Does the American State own you or do you own you?

According to most American Christians, particularly those of a self-identified conservative bent, if you are an able bodied male within a certain age range (which is always adjustable, of course), the American State owns you. If you are an able-bodied male within certrain parameters (which is always adjustable according to the “needs”/whims/desires of The State, of course), the American state has the “right” to take possession of you as its property to use you as it sees fit in its various military adventures, compelling you to serve in its ginormous, globe-spanning military featuring a lesbian general and a new navy vessel proudly named after a gay rapist.

God bless ‘Merica!

And if you don’t think this is a good and right and awesomely patriotic deal, then you are a Bad American.

You oughta be ashamed of yourself! (Wait, what’s “shame” again?)

Maybe you oughta move to North Korea or Canada or something.

Love it or leave it, don’tcha know!

This is the vibe that has rolled over our culture and coagulated to form the “land of the free” and the home of the NSA that we see today.

We think we’re free, we sing about our freedom, we take pledges to the Almighty, Indivisible State that “protects” our freedoms, and we get all uppity with anyone who says anything about how we’re not really very free at all and are getting less free by the second.

Newsflash: We can’t even own a home in America!

And now, thanks to things like the draft (for men and soon women, too), we don’t even own ourselves.

The American State owns everything…and everyone, including our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers.

And “American Christians” are, by and large, pretty much fine with that.

One of the few things creepier and more disgusting than the thought of either President Hillary or President Donald (or whichever even worse “lesser evil” comes along after them)deciding to reinstitute that “treasured tradition” of America claiming ownership of its able-bodied males for use in its perpetual war machine via the draft is that most professing Christians just go right along with it, and happily so.

That’s how completely programmed we’ve become as a people.

That’s how completely we’ve been converted to the religion of Statism in practice here in America (all while claiming Christianity with our lips, of course).

So it is that Spirit-filled, biblically grounded Christians in America need to be bracing for some very specific storms that are likely to come soon – storms that will almost certainly include the American State seeking once again to claim full blown ownership over people, forcing them into the service (a practice known as “slavery”) of a godless, dying empire with the full, proud, and vocal support of most professing Christians in the land.

As their worldviews exist now, many of these professing Christians are very likely to be cheerleading (or otherwise enabling) the American State’s confiscation and bondage of people via the draft if and when that system is re-launched in the coming years, so we need to be ready to confront and correct these professing believers right now with the Word of God as we have the opportunity in the days before the greater storms of Statism arrive.

To that end, I want to share an excellent article entitled The Bible and the Draft by John W. Robbins.

Here are some excerpts (with bold emphasis added):

The federal government is again contemplating the conscription of young people for both military and civilian labor. The liberals are supporting “national service,” i.e. they advocate forcing young people to spend two or more years of their lives in some sort of “public service”-including, but not limited to, the military; and the conservatives are supporting the military draft, i.e., forcing people to serve in the armed forces. The liberals’ position is consistent with their other positions favoring unlimited government. The conservatives’ position seems to be inconsistent with their usually limited government views. What is the Christian position? Can the consistent Christian favor either the draft or national service?

Unlike either the conservative or the liberal, the Christian must derive his views on the morality of the draft and national service solely from Scripture, not from any theory of natural law or general notion of justice, but from the propositions and commands written in the Bible. The Christian position on the draft-as on all moral and theological questions-is based upon the principle of sola Scriptura, the Bible as the only and as the final authority.

There’s that pesky sola Scriptura thing…always causing trouble, that…

The article continues:

The first of the many verses that are pertinent to a discussion of the draft and national service is the Eighth Commandment prohibiting theft. Two common misconceptions must be eliminated if we are to understand the meaning of this Commandment. First, the Commandment does not refer only to inanimate property. The Hebrew word is used in connection with both property and persons, and in Exodus 21:16 we read of “manstealing,” i.e., kidnapping, which is a capital crime. This commandment clearly forbids not only the theft of property, but also the removal of innocent persons against their will.

The second misconception is that the Ten Commandments, including this one, apply only to private individuals and not to governments. This notion, which has absolutely no foundation in Scripture, illustrates how far we have gone toward deifying government, for it is attributing divine qualities to rulers to say that they in their official (or private) capacities are exempt from the law. The Commandments, as both the Bible and the Westminster Confession say, bind all men without exception. Rulers and governments are commanded not to steal, murder, covet, lie, or do any other act prohibited in the moral law. Zacchaeus the tax collector stole from the people, and upon his regeneration he recognized his subordination to the moral law. King Ahab broke the Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth Commandments in desiring and taking Naboth’s vineyard. John the Baptist in Luke 3:14 specifically applied the moral law to an agent of the government. There is not the slightest hint in Scripture that governments are above the moral law. And that moral law, as we have already seen, includes a prohibition on manstealing. Yet what are national service and the draft if they are not manstealing? There is no moral distinction between the actions of a private individual who kidnaps a person and a government that drafts its subjects under color of law. Both actions are clear violations of the Eighth Commandment.

The article continues in examination of various Old and New Testament passages (including those in the Old Testament that some use to try to justify compulsory military service), before closing as follows:

Compulsory military service does not merely bring a danger of militarism; it is militarism. To adopt it in this country would mean that no matter how this war results we are conquered already…..

I am not arguing against preparedness….. What I am arguing against is compulsion, which I believe to be brutal and un-American in itself, and productive of a host of subsidiary evils.

Are you ready to confront and correct the gaggle of biblically illiterate, pop-culture programmed professing Christians who think the draft is just peachy (or good even)?

Are you ready to help the more seasoned, serious Christian who is just cloudy or confused on this vital issue? (After all, we’re all works in progress. We all have our blind spots.)

If not, get ready.

Now.

And begin helping others to see the light on this…before they become cheerleaders for a desperate (and desperately wicked) American State as it strives to confiscate our children to feed into its unholy perpetual war machine.


 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Scott. I enjoyed making your acquaintance last year in Tennessee. While I am in general agreement with you concerning the evil of American warmongering, and that we have not fought a just war in a very very long time, your argument against the draft completely ignores the many Scriptures on this subject. Your argument is couched solely in the claim that the magistrate may not demand that men serve, because to do so is stealing their time. The Law of Christ is more nuanced. There is a biblical draft.

    First, Numbers repeats the phrase "all of the men over 20 who go to war" over twenty times.

    Second, the reason that Israel was condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years was because they refused God's draft to go up into Canaan to wage war.

    Third, Numbers 32 makes it very clear that all of the men of all of the tribes were expected to serve together in the army until the war was finished.

    Fourth, the categories for exemption given in Deuteronomy 24:5 and Deuteronomy 20 assume that all the men of age 20 and older were called up, and that only the exempt were sent home. The fearful were sent home, not at the beginning of the war, but only before a battle so they do not put fear in the hearts of their brothers.

    Lastly, David's numbering of Israel recorded in 1 Chronicles 21 indicates that he brought a curse because he numbered the men for war without just reason.

    Based on these passages, the problem I see with the American draft is not that there is a draft, but that the men have to register in peacetime (which is like 1 Chronicles 21), that we have used the draft for unjust wars in foreign lands that did not attack us, and that when we do go to war, all of the eligible men should be called up together. Of course the American draft ignores the exempt categories of the Law as well.

    In these articles I see from recons speaking out against the draft, I am not seeing the true alternative taught. It seems as if the assumption is that any draft whatsoever is unlawful. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Bible doesn't seem to teach that.

    • Howdy Ken,

      It's good to hear from you! I hope that all is well with you and yours.

      As for our disagreement over any man-made State's claim to the physical ownership of men in the form of a draft, I think you're building upon some extra-biblical presuppositions.

      The State – just like each and every man and woman in the State – is bound by the Law of God. The State is no more above the Law than any man is above the Law. The State has no "right" to kidnap or forcibly coerce a person into service, just as no person may kidnap or coerce service in such a manner. The same Law of God that prohibits individuals from doing such a thing also applies to the State. If there's a "nuance" to Christ's Law in this area, I'd appreciate chapter and verse citation beginning with the most clear, detailed, and relevant clarification available.

      Additionally – and perhaps more importantly – your example from Numbers conflates a people literally led by God with the concept of the man-led State. While there is obviously great value in understanding the mind of God where the role of the state is concerned throughout His Word (and particularly in the Old Testament record of His dealing with Israel), the difference between the a people literally led by God and a man-made secular State couldn't be more stark or more critical to the subject under consideration.

      The Deuteronomy 20 reference that you noted seems to presuppose some things that aren't actually conveyed in the text while also missing the important point that there are many men (outside of the "fearful" category) who were commanded to be send back home, lest this or that bad/destructive thing happen to them. This distinction puts what the Lord (who is, again, **not** to be confused with any man-made State) commanded in stark contrast with anything resembling the State-imposed unbiblical draft.

      The presupposition of a "necessary alternative" for the secular/anti-Christ State where some sort of draft is concerned is another point that I don't see getting off the launch pad, biblically, so long as it includes any sort of claim to ownership of people (which is what the draft is – a literal claim to physical ownership of human beings regardless of their *ahem* actual God-given rights).

      The man-made State has no claim to ownership over men. The State has no "right" to steal. The State has no "right" to kidnap. The State has no "right" to set aside the Law of God.

      The State is bound by the Law of God and when we elevate the State to the position of the Lord, we are begging for bondage to a false god…which is what we have now in America. If we don't repent of this idolatry, it will destroy us (as it should). My hope is that we will see that repentance and the resulting return to the loving Law of God in every realm of life…including our understanding of civil government's place under – rather than above – the Word of God.

      I hope that these clarifications are helpful.

      Thanks for chiming in!

      • Thanks for answering, Scott.

        There is one more biblical passage that makes it clear how Israel understood the passages of the Law that I cited above.

        In Judges chapter 20-21, we see a lawful calling up of the Assembly of Israel to fight a war against the rebel tribe of Benjamin that was harboring and protecting gang-rape murderers.

        After the battle was over, they asked who had not "come up … to the Lord" and it was found that none of the men of Jabesh Gilead had done so. They were punished with death for their failure to "come up with the assembly to the Lord."

        They evidently understood the call to war to be part of the national covenant, and failure of any eligible man to answer the call was viewed as treason against God himself. The fact that none of the men of Jabesh Gilead came indicates that some kind of decision was made at the city level not to answer the call. The resulting judgment against them was the annihilation of the families of that city.

        Your understanding of the meaning of the Law clearly contradicts the understanding of the assembly of Israel only a few generations after Moses had given these laws to them. They did not understand calling a holy convocation to the Lord for war to be "stealing men's time." The reason was that they understood God to own all of their lives and all of their time, and coming up when called was a duty of the national covenant.

        • Again, Ken, you've skated right by your presuppositional conflation of the Lord (and a directly God-led people) with the secular, man-made and man-led State.

          This is one reason why your position blows up on the launch pad.

          Everything that you build upon that false (and dangerous) presupposition cannot stand.

          Thanks for chiming in, though. I definitely appreciate the time you've taken here.

          Have a good one!

  2. The first rule of writing an argumentative paper is if I as the reader of said paper can destroy your argument without ever opening a book, then you as the author of said paper have failed. On January 28th 1973, President Richard Nixon, signed into law an act that abolished the draft. This is not hyperbole, it is fact. There hasn’t been a draft since. This is also fact. In 2007 and 2008 when the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their darkest, their was still no draft. Even though many of the soldiers and marines were on their fourth or fifth deployments, still their was no draft. Whether it should have happened is an issue I would love to discuss with you. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, the war’s in Iraq and Afghanistan for example, have been fought by less than one half of one percent of the current population. They have borne this enormous burden, as volunteers not as conscripts. The word “volunteer” should resonate with you as a citizen of the state of Tennessee. You aren’t being asked to serve, and furthermore as I have stated in previous posts, you aren’t going to be asked to. But what good is an article of this nature? What are you doing to bring these men and women home? This article accomplishes nothing on this front. I recommend that you go to the nearest veterans hospital, find someone in need, and ask to pray with them or for them. We would appreciate that. It would also accomplish far more than this essay did. You really need an editor.

    • So did you have an actual point to (attempt to) make in response to anything actually said in the article, or are you just here to set up and knock down straw men (again)? Did you even read the article? There's no way to tell based on your post here, since you've failed (again) to directly interact with any contention actually made therein. Instead of dealing with the actual content of the article, you've once again taken the familiar route of emotional diversion and rabbit chasing. It'd be nice to see you grow out of that phase.

      • I did have an actual point to make, and I believe that I did. First the draft was abolished on January 28, 1973. That's not "emotion" or the senseless ramblings of a lunatic, that actually happened. Furthermore, there is no collective will on the part of the American people, both Christian and Non-Christian to bring it back. If both groups were unwilling to volunteer during the period mentioned before( 2007-2008) it would take a catastrophe of enormous proportions to bring it back. Now I did read your post, and I also read the article you cited in your argument, but I am not convinced. I don't say this to be argumentative, or to question the motivations of the author. On the contrary, I don't feel as though he made the argument, nor did you. Again their is no collective will in this country to bring back the draft. Furthermore, their is no collective will to bring back the great public works projects of the New Deal. Schecter Poultry Corporation vs. United States, 295 U.S. 495, and Morehead vs. United States 298 U.S. 587, the first decision handed down in 1935, the second in 1936, declared public works projects of this nature un-contitutional. Since these decisions were handed down their has been no challenge to it, rendering it the law of the land. So, I am confused, where is this challenge coming from? Because I would argue the exact opposite. The selective service act will be abolished in the next few years, and any thought of mandatory service to the nation died with John F Kennedy in Dallas Texas in November 1963. HR 4523 is a bill that passed in the House, and is waiting on the Senate. It would end young adults having to register for selective service, itself an exercise that costs the taxpayers 23 million dollars yearly. In the interest of saving money this will more than likely pass. Failure to register with selective service is a crime, but one that the justice department has not actively pursued since 1989.
        Now, when I told you that you should go to a local veterans hospital and pray for or with some of the veterans there, I wasn't trying to be "emotional" or chasing a "rabbit" I was being serious. I see many churches, mine included neglecting this group of men. We have women ministry, youth ministry, even prison ministry, but we have no ministry for vets. As a veteran, I have taken this upon myself as my own ministry. However, many of the men and women that I attend church with have ignored this need in the body. I would guess that your church may be similar. You may choose to disagree with me on this point, or for all the points that I have made here. That's your choice, I probably can't convince you anyway. The first time I replied to one of your posts I was far more confrontational than I should have been. But in this case I wasn't. You can be a talented writer, and while we do not agree on many things, your articles are thought provoking. I haven't been saying that you need an editor because I was trying to insult you. I have been saying these things to encourage you. With regards to why I didn't respond with scripture to the arguments, I didn't feel as though it was required. It was merely a response to your post, not an academic rebuttal. Why are you so confrontational with me? If this is something that you believe strongly in, you would think that you would relish the opportunity to defend your thesis. Scott, why do I make you so angry?

        • Roy, your repeated chasing of rabbits and making emotional appeals rather than dealing with the substance of the article in question doesn't make me angry. It makes my point, which actually makes me happy. Seeing someone go into all manner of contortions to divert from the clear points actually made in the article does much to advance my case and make my point.

          So thank you!

          That said, it is also sad that you're stuck in this rut of emotion-laced rabbit chasing rather than simply citing a contention actually made in the article and then at least trying to refute it. That would be a refreshing new approach from you and I hope to witness it one day…though I'm not holding my breath. 🙂

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