Over the course of the past few generations, American society has digressed into the extreme polarization of partisan politics. We use arbitrary labels to pigeonholed individuals into identifying with a single party even though they may not completely agree with every aspect of that group’s platform. Many politicians no longer represent the people or the values which made this nation the greatest in the world, but instead they first represent their political party and Super PAC donors. Is there an alternative?
Two of our Founding Founders, in particular, spoke of the dangers of political parties and the subjective rule of man. John Adams warned early on in 1780 that:
“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
In his 1796 farewell address, George Washington repeated Adams’ warning, adding greater detail:
“I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State… Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.”
The American system needs less partisanship. Enough with the “hard-line” Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Given that there’s likely no more than 10% of the populace who have even the slightest bit of knowledge regarding the historical development of the American political parties, how can the average American fully understand what these parties really represent? What this country needs is a true Third Party, and no I don’t mean the Green Party, Libertarian Party, or the Tea Party. No, what we need is a resurrection of an idea, one that never fully developed into an official party or political movement, but nonetheless was ever present and highly influential during our national’s early history. America needs more Christocrats.
Founding Founder Dr. Rev. Benjamin Rush coined the term in 1789 in a letter to his friend David Ramsay saying:
“I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am now neither. I am a Christocrat. I believe all power whether, hereditary or elective, will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him.”
Perhaps recalling the passage of Scripture, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge” (James 4:12), what Rush meant by this is that there must be an absolute standard by which law and government can be established. He asserts that this law stems from God who established it and who rules over all according to it. Men are to govern and keep order and better humanity, but unless the law they adhere to follows the absolute standard of God’s Law (also referred to as the Law of Nature), all would be subject to the relative changing whims of the human mind.
Stemming from the same cause of this two-party problem (human nature), since the dawning of the 20th Century two startling trends became all the more apparent in the American landscape:
- government, particularly at the Federal level, getting bigger and more corrupt
- inalienable rights and liberty being restricted, in some cases to the point of being completely denied
Following decades of slow but steady progress, these negative changes have resulted in the current dismal state of American culture and society. As our human nature dictates, we have the urge, the need to blame somebody or something for the hardships we suffer. Many of us blame the government and politicians for our problems. However the reality is that corrupt government officials and the corrupted system they have created are not the sources of our problems, but are themselves symptoms resulting from a greater problem. People are the problem! More specifically, the ever increasing level of immorality in people is the ultimate cause for our woes.
A fellow Founder and close friend of Rush, John Adams recounted that it was the “general principles of Christianity” and the “general principles of English and American liberty” which formed the basis of the system that was to become the United States of America.
Judeo-Christian principles of liberty, law and justice developed the America political and judicial system. Christ’s teachings about morality, both our duties to God and to our fellow man (and woman), helped influence the abolition of slavery, temperance movements, suffrage movements, and civil rights movements. Even the biblical concept of “tolerance” is evident in the precepts behind the 1st Amendment which protects the freedoms of conscience and religious belief and worship. These principles, when protected and promoted, will allow this country to remain ”one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Whether or not a person accepts Jesus Christ to be the divine Son of God and Savior of the world, at the very least all should be able to recognize the truth of His teachings on morality. A favorite target of atheists and secularists, even Thomas Jefferson (who actually considered himself to be a Christian ) confessed time after time his love for Christ’s Platform of morality! It is this platform that our Founders adhered to and it is the platform that needs to be re-established in this country if we wish to get it back on track.
- John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Frances Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1856) Vol. IX, p. 511, letter to Jonathan Jackson, 2 October 1780.
- George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Worthington Chauncey Ford, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons & The Knockerbocker Press, 1892) Vol. XIII, p. 301, Farewell Address of 1796.
- David Ramsay, An Eulogium Upon Benjamin Rush, M.D. (Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1813) p. 103, Benjamin Rush letter to David Ramsay 1789.
- John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856), Vol. X, pp. 45-46, to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813.
- See: Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904) Vol. XI, p. 498-499, letter to Charles Thomson, 9 January 1816. & Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905) Vol. IX, p. 457, letter to Benjamin Rush, 12 April 1803.