Ted Malloch: The Christian Idea of the State
Last week President Trump welcomed Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary in the White House.
Orban is the present leader of the Hungarian national conservative, Fidesz Party.
This word means “civitas” or civic alliance in Hungarian, and signals what Orban and his ilk stand for.
Handshakes apart, it was a particularly warm meeting of minds and souls.
Orban is “probably like me,” Trump announced in a joint appearance at the Oval Office with the visiting dignitary. “A little bit controversial, but that’s OK … you’ve done a good job, and you’ve kept your country safe,” Trump sighed, while suggesting that Orban, a controversial leader — “has done a tremendous job” and is “respected all over Europe.”
It seemed as if Trump had finally met his real soul mate.
In fact, they are remarkably alike.
The two leaders share not only strong conservative and nationalist patriotic zeal, they express a similar fondness for what could be called, the Christian idea of the state.
What is that political philosophy?
Biblically, the state is an institution ordained by God, embracing both government and citizens, organized for the administration of justice and based on the monopoly of coercive power over a particular territory.
The structure of the state is obtained by understanding the normative, political manner in which the state functions in the basic ontological aspects of reality.
This ‘principled realism’ has its foundation in the Old Testament and the moral foundation for legitimate government, the ten precepts or commandments, given at Sinai.
According to the Christian worldview, human government was instituted by God to protect our unalienable rights from our own selfish tendencies (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1–7).
Human nature is of course capable of both vice and virtue.
We know our tendency to infringe on our neighbor’s rights in an effort to improve our own life. Therefore, we know government and political systems must exist to protect freedom and to keep evil tendencies at bay.
The right of self-determination and governance of nation states allows for a more civilized society.
In this new definition in the New Testament and under the long centuries called, Christendom, the Ruler served as protector of his population. But they were not above the law.
It also secured the biblical vision of independent nations we have come to know.
Since the Westphalian peace in Europe (1648) this vision has witnessed a variety of regimes but the notion of limited government and separation of powers guide all those that endure.
Threats have come from those with imperial designs, whether ancient kingdoms, third reichs or communist revolutions.
The Christian centuries were marked by religion taking a prominent place in public life and a thorough and open debate about just policies.
In this post-Christian era of globalism and totalitarianism — from the left and the right — the basis and fact of both of these principles has been more or less eradicated.
There is less and less freedom and the State has increasingly taken a monolithic and bureaucratic stranglehold on both persons and families, and on the other mediating structures so critical to a Christian definition of life. This includes the Church itself.
Trump and Orban start from a totally different and non-liberal place.
They are conservatives and nation builders, not leftist socialists, who decry all countries, and want none.
Their very definitions are radically diametrical to the prevailing globalist elite and its cosmopolitan ideology of—no borders, no, nations, and no limits on governmental control.
The Trump-Orban view of the world would alter all this and return us to the sound and just sovereignty of nations.
The world is taking notice of this friendship and the worldview it represents!