Martin Luther, the Gospel, and Government

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Martin Luther wrote,

“The world and the masses are and always will be unchristian, although they are* baptized and nominally Christian.  Hence a man who would venture to govern an entire community or the world with the Gospel would be like a shepherd who should place in one fold wolves, lions, eagles, and sheep.  The sheep would keep the peace, but they would not last long.  The world cannot be ruled with a rosary.” (from Ch. 14 [p.239 of Hendrikson’s 2017 441pp., Hb. printing; 20.00 + P&H] of Here I Stand (1950) Bainton)

[* This might be better translated, “though they be”, because the world’s masses are not baptized, nor do the world’s masses imagine themselves on a basic level as being “Christian”; therefore the indefinite verb tense should be used, which then merely refers to those who fit this description, and not actually the world’s masses en toto.  “Though they be” would carry more of a connotation as, “even if they are”.  Note mine.  R.A.B.]

Luther’s statement is interesting, but has many flaws, and in other statements he draws wrong inferences from various passages of Scripture, and had a confused notion that government did not have to be Christian in order to function successfully.

This is true, untrue, and invalid.  It all depends on what one considers “success” and it all depends on presuppositional factors.

First of all, the sheep would not “keep the peace”.  That is a silly notion.  They would simply be a testimony concerning how not to be aggressors, and like good pacifists, die horribly without putting up any resistance.

However, if our bodies are the temple of God and God forbids us to defile them, is it then not also a sin to let someone else defile what is God’s? (our bodies) to which they have no right?  If it is a sin to steal, is it not a sin to stand idly by and let your neighbor be robbed?  If it is a sin to murder, is it not a sin to stand by passively and let your kinsman-neighbor be murdered? your very family murdered? yourself murdered?  

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)  

This passage from a Pastoral Epistle... does it not apply equally to self-defense as well as to providing food, raiment, and shelter (and education, including godly instruction)...?

I believe Luther was wrong in some of his opinions concerning the Crusades and the Turks.  

[I was floored that Luther said the best government on earth was that of the Turks who had no civil or canon law and were ruled only by the Koran! —and that he was opposed to theocracy!  Of course, different things that he said or wrote could have been written at different periods of his life when he had greater or lesser light; and presumably later in life he did not still hold to some fallacious things that he had expressed earlier in life; if he changed his mind about the Jews, I would hope he did about the Muslims / Islam also.  Count Dracula, Vlad Tepes III. “the Impaler” (1431-1476) also “kept the peace” and ruled quite successfully... but the term Draconian fits him perfectly.  He delighted in impaling people upright from their rectum upward on sharpened poles fastened in the ground (as the American Indians did too)... even hundreds at a time, during his garden parties.  He impaled people equally for large or great offenses, for murder or for stealing a piece of bread or short changing someone a nickle.  While people were afraid to commit any crime in his jurisdiction of Transylvania, and his enemies of foreign nations feared him even more, I would certainly not suggest that his was the best government on earth—and that characterization applies identically to the Turks / Islam.  The end does not justify the means.  God gave us His people the best government on earth via Theocracy and His Word.  When we obeyed God our nations experienced their Golden Ages.]

It is “one-eyed” thinking to imagine that if God sends evil nations against us that we are not to defend ourselves because it is God’s Judgment.  What if it was a “test” (or God’s method of a national cleansing, culling out those God ordained to be removed) and not terminal Judgment?  If God expects us to accept invasion by enemy alien nations why then would God require the blood of the watchmen on the wall if they saw but did not warn of the enemy’s approach? —if we are simply to allow the “scourge of God” to pass through our nations unopposed and destroy us?  In one rare example at the end of the Kingdom of Judah God told the inhabitants of Jerusalem through Jeremiah not to resist the conquering Babylonians; those who surrendered (the good figs) would live; those who resisted (the bad figs) would die.  This was a rare exception, not the modus operandi that God expected of his people.  If God desires us in some specific situation to surrender and not resist, then would He not tell us in some way, since that is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself?

God also kills 2 birds with one stone: He sends savage aliens to chasten His people, but He also gives savages opportunity to fill up the measure of God’s Wrath, so that they will be fully deserving of the Judgment that God has ordained for them.  However, if God’s people gave up whenever savages attacked, God’s people would have become extinct long ago.  The righteous sometimes suffer with the wicked, as even godly King Josiah was struck by a stray arrow in battle (even as the evil King Ahab had been).  Everyone must die and God determines how and when.

Again, as I have long stated, when meeting on the field of battle in sport or war, if one side religiously follows a rigid set of rules and the other side follows no rules, without outside intervention the side that follows no rules will win every time.  

However, it is not the job of sheep to lay down their lives for the wolves.  The fact that sheep are not the aggressors in sheep-wolf interaction is not a truth that is to be generalized to any area of life or thinking.  Wolves and sheep are not supposed to be together, and therefore, to imagine a society in which they are together is otherworldly.  In the Kingdom the fear and aggression of animals toward one another and toward man will be removed, and those creatures that God has ordained to continue to exist in the Kingdom will live in harmony as before the Flood and as (briefly) in Eden.  However, such passages are only talking about the creatures so mentioned (lion, lamb, ox, adder, etc.) and are not to be falsely generalized to people.  God clearly says that He will make a full end of all the nations whither He scattered His people, but He will not make a full end of His people.  There will be only one people in the Kingdom—God’s people; and Christ said that when He returns that He will command the angels to uproot every plant that His Heavenly Father had not planted.  Wishing-well theology, spiritual fantasy, and all other forms of humanism are not of God and have no bearing on reality and those who embrace their own humanistic fantasy instead of the doctrine of the Word of God, are the enemies of God.

Christ indeed said that He sent forth His disciples as sheep among wolves—but those wolves were mostly their own people (instigated to aggression by alien imposters as leaders, wolves masquerading in sheep’s clothing, with sheep “name-tags”).  And furthermore, the purpose of sending the disciples out as sheep among wolves was not to convert the wolves but to rescue the sheep!  

Christ trained His disciples to be “fishers of men”—not of just any men, but of God’s people—the sheep whom God scattered and promised to regather.  The “other sheep” that Christ had were those of His people whom God had scattered abroad throughout the earth whom He promised to regather.  Christ was sent to organize the beginning of this regathering.  That is the reason why He was training His disciples to begin seeking them out (first locally under His direct supervision; then worldwide).  

God said that He would send out hunters (not to kill, but to track and lead the sheep back) and many fishers—for His people; that He would make a full end of all the nations whither He would scatter His people, but not make a full end of His people.  

Christ commanded, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs [the children’s Bread—Christ] nor cast pearls before swine”.  It is the duty of the fishers of god-men to bring in the fish that God has ordained to be brought in—it is not the duty of the fishermen to throw themselves overboard to the sharks!  THAT is the error of modern missions which violates all that God commanded and all that Christ taught in these areas.  In the parable of the fishes (which follows the parable of the tares) Christ says all sorts / kinds of fish were brought into the net.  The GOOD were kept and the bad / vile (PUTRID) were cast into a furnace of fire!  What was a furnace doing on the beach? —which is where fishermen sorted the day’s catch.  God does not use words for no reason.  The “good” are those whom God has called of His people, who have received substitutionary atonement through Christ and justification whereby His Righteousness is imputed unto them.  

In Genesis 48:16, Jacob, in blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, prophetically declared,

“The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
The Hebrew word translated here as “grow”, #1711 dawgaw, means “to spawn as a fish”.  One of the main gates into the city of Jerusalem (where only God’s people were to be admitted—that was the purpose of walls and gates and watchmen) was the “fish gate”; and another was the “sheep gate”.  Coincidence?  Meaningless?  

The Prophet Amos recorded:

“2The Lord GOD hath sworn by His Holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that He will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.  3And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.” (Amos 4)

[Understand, words in italics in the King James Version of the Bible are words that are not in the Hebrew or Greek Manuscripts, but words that are added by the translators for clarity; most often the are correct, but not always.  Many words can have more than one meaning and sometimes they picked the wrong meaning, missing the contextual intention.]

This translation may or may not obscure the meaning.  It is true that Scripture often mixes metaphors.  In v.1 God’s people were referred to as “kine [cows] of Bashan”.  The word fishhooks is used, because the brutal Assyrians often put a fishhook in the lips of their victims, tied to a fishline, and the prisoners would have to keep up the pace or suffer incredible pain.  If the hook ripped through the lips, it seems most likely the hook was put back in, in another spot.  

However, God ordained for the Assyrians to employ this practice of using fish-hooks because it also parallels fish.  Thus, the metaphor may continue referring to kine / cattle, or it could refer to fish (or at least convey that secondary concept to the mind that understands the language and Bible prophecy).  The breaches could refer to compromised spots in a fish pond, where fish would escape or be swept out from a high plateau reservoir, to be washed down the waterfalls and cataracts; or breaches could refer to gaps in the pasture enclosure through which stupid cattle escape (and thus no longer being safe from predators or poachers / thieves).  In the Bible the general term cattle refers to all ruminant livestock, large (cows, oxen) or small (goats, sheep).  Though this chapter of Amos begins speaking specifically of a special breed of wild bovine, the concept of escaping through breaches or gaps in a fence or hedgerow apply to sheep and goats as well; all such ruminants being a bit dense-minded and stubborn—not being content with the luxurious bounty provided for them, but always thinking that there is something better just on the other side of the lawfully established boundaries.  God’s people are no different.

However, “palaces” as a translation seems to be completely misconceptualized.  The intention is not a palace, but a high place.  The cows of Bashan were extremely powerful due to their breed and the rich pasture land of that highland area fed by the rivers from the mountains even higher up.  Being powerful, they were also haughty, and they thought that they were invincible, and occupied the high places in the plateaus or mountains where they grazed.  But God declares, not that they would be thrown into “a palace” (a completely senseless notion), but that they would be cast down from their high places.  This is what God’s people were condemned for in v.4 and in many other passages of Scripture: They had a fondness for having “learned the way of the heathen” and polluted the true worship of God with pagan practices which rituals of worship and sacrifice were observed in the high places (on tops of hills, mounts, or even man-made structures, the Tower of Babel being the epitome of the concept—the intention was not a tower that literally reached to the heavens, but a tower that had at the very top a shrine for the worship of heavenly bodies: sun, moon, planets, comets, etc.).  It is from these high places that God says that they would be cast down; not that they would be thrown “into palaces”.

In Jeremiah 16 God declares,

“16Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain [large nation], and from every hill [small nation], and out of the holes of the rocks.  17For Mine Eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My Face...”

Christ sees Peter and his brother Andrew plying their trade by the seashore, mending their nets, and declares, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18).  Coincidence?  God said that He would scatter His people as wheat and regather whom He scattered; and Scripture prophesied, “Smite the Shepherd and scatter the flock” (Zechariah 13:7).  Christ said, “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30).  God said that He would harden the hearts, blind the eyes, stop the ears, stiffen the necks, close the minds of His people because of their unrepentant sin (Isaiah 6:10).  Christ said,

“18‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord’.  20And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.  21And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears’.” (Luke 4)

Christ then told the disciples to go to no one but His people, locally.  The Second Great Commission did not change the target, only the scope: worldwide whither God had scattered them.  God said that He scattered His people as a farmer scatters wheat (which grows and produces more, which is planted and grows and produces more) until finally God would regather whom He scattered—His people, the wheat; not the tares; not the weeds, thistles, briers, stubble, insects detritus, or vermin in the field.  Again, God said that He would make a full end of the alien nations whither He scattered His people (from whom they were to be separate, not amalgamate) but He would not make a full end of His people (Jeremiah 30:11; 46:28).

God commanded His people to be the aggressors at times, going out against evil people to cut them off from the land of the living.  Some may argue that this was solely civil government, but that is a fallacy.  The civil government itself was comprised of the same people following the same laws given by God—and there was an entire company of Levites who were singers who sang praises to God—and even went before the army into battle (as in a campaign of King Jehoshaphat against the Ammonites and Moabites; II Chronicles 20:21), and priests who blew trumpets often followed behind the army.  Furthermore, the Izharite, Chenaniah, Chief of the Levites, was skillful in song and called “master of song”—however, his sons, Levites, were officers and judges!  Phinehas himself was a priest, but when the judges were slow to act, he acted boldly with zeal to obey God and struck down a prince of Simon and the alien princess with whom he was fornicating.  God did not intend for the ecclesiastical and civil arms to be a left hand that does not know what the right hand is doing but for them to be woven together and act in unison—one body, with different, but interrelated functions.

There is also a difference between authority and power.  Just because someone is in the seat of power does not make him legitimate authority.  The Herods were illegitimate puppet kings over Israel—but they were not established by God, the priests, or the people, but set up by Caesar (to have a Shylock in power who would be loyal to Caesar, not to God or the Israelites).  However, God forbade the Israelites to set up over them as ruler any man who was not a pure kinsman—no alien (Deuteronomy 17:15).  Thus, while God certainly, as Benjamin Franklin declared, “governs in the affairs of men”, God indeed ordained the Herods or other evil illegitimate usurpers to be in positions of power but that does not mean that God expected the people to obey them.  That is part of Judgment: being between a rock and a hard place; trying to kick against the pricks (ox-goads); having to swim against the current; against the wind; laboriously travel uphill with a heavy burden.  The road back is not an easy road, but it is the only road.  It is a fine line to straddle.  Look how Daniel and the 3 Hebrew men Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah refused to bow down.  How many others did bow down? —they are the ones who deserved the fiery furnace and the lion’s den; and that is why God delivered those who refused to compromise, while all the masses of Israelites who cowardly prostituted themselves in idolatry have no lasting testimony to their honor, and they probably died in judgment.

Indeed God set Philistines and Midianites and others as oppressive overlords over the Israelites, during the period of the Judges; and the Israelites were not even allowed to have their own sharpening instruments (lest they make weapons) and they had to take their farm tools to the enemy to be sharpened!  But understand: Any Israelite who had his own sharpening tool or who made weapons was not sinning against God, any more than Gideon sinned by secretly threshing his wheat so that the illegitimate authority—the occupying enemy could not know how much increase that he had and tax him on it.  Ehud, Shamgar, and others, who “resisted” these illegitimate powers (though those powers were ordained by God for the purpose of oppression, not for legitimate rule) were not in sin against God.  It had to do with the individual.  If the individual’s heart was right with God, then the oppression was not sent for him, though the overflow affected him.  Thus, if an evil Israelite, for whom God sent the oppression, attempted to resist the power, then most likely he would be slapped down because God sent the oppressors to judge people like him who refused to repent of their sins before God.  So just because God has ordained evil rulers to fill an evil role to oppress His people to chasten those of the elect who are in sin to repentance, this does not establish them as legitimate authority; though indeed they were established by God for a different purpose.  

[For more info on this see my, The War Between the Children of Light and the Powers of Darkness (1995), 506pp., pb., 20.00 + P&H; Hb., 30.00 + P&H.]

In the nations of Christendom, people had a general concept of right and wrong (until the invasion of the Third World and the ascension of Antichrists to pollute our society and minds) because God promised to write His Law upon the hearts of His people.  Other peoples do not share these basic concepts of morality because they are not of God.  Luther may have expressed something like a belief in the basic goodness of man, but that is not what he meant; (though he did not so express it, at least not as quoted in Bainton’s biography) Luther meant a degree of blanketing of God’s people with General Grace whereby in their consciences, they knew certain things were immoral.  However, the recognition of this morality has changed as we have absorbed aliens.  To many of them, stealing, murder, adultery (especially against “infidels”, but also against their own people) are considered “virtues”...!  And these are the people that our corrupt, treasonous, criminal politicians are importing en masse into all of Christendom—to our destruction.

[God send a pestilence of Bubonic proportions! and turn the weapons of the enemies back on themselves!  Go down Babylon!  Let the perverts and antichrists no longer be a reproach and parade their filth blatantly and proudly and fearlessly.  Give them reason to fear and have them run and hide in a closet in their basement from Your Wrath.  Where is the God of Elijah!  Arise and put on Judgment!  Gather Your lambs into Your Arms and send a plague on the wolves and dogs and pigs and vermin and bottomfeeders.

“7For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.  8O remember not against us former iniquities: let Thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.  9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the Glory of Thy Name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy Name’s Sake.  10Wherefore should the heathen say, ‘Where is their God?’ let Him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of Thy servants which is shed.  11Let the sighing of the prisoner come before Thee; according to the Greatness of Thy Power preserve Thou those that are appointed to die; 12And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord.  13So we Thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever: we will show forth Thy Praise to all generations.” (Psalm 79)  

“Awake, awake, put on strength, O Arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old.” (Isaiah51:9)]  

One of our Founding Fathers, First Vice-President and Second President of the U.S., John Adams, expressed,

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious [Christian] people.  It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”  

[When the Puritans, Pilgrims, early Colonists, Founders used the word “religion” they referred to Christianity: for they knew there is only one true faith, only one true God, and other peoples did not have “religion” but paganism or superstitions.  Referring to false religions as “religion” gives them a false sense of legitimacy in the minds of the liberals and the ignorant, into thinking that they are valid, acceptable, and have value—when they are not and they do not.  What part of “no other gods” don’t Christians understand...?  It might be good for the average Christian to begin working on an answer to that now—for they will soon have to answer that question before God.  All roads do not lead to Rome.  False gods and idolatry are abominations that God will judge—and He will also judge those who tolerate, support, recognize, and “defends the rights of such evil, even if they do not personally engage in it.”]  

Our original form of government is not possible in a multicultural, inter-“faith”, gender perverse society, because they play by a different set of rules, they are not “hard wired” for morality, they are not the same, and our Founders did not extend to them equal rights.  No sane society gives equal rights to those who are not the same, not equal, not legitimate.  Again, that is like sheep and wolves voting on what to have for dinner (a concept attributed also to Franklin).  You cannot have a fair vote or a safe society if more wolves are being imported to stack the voting ballot.  As Adams expressed, our form of government is only suitable for a moral, Christian people.  And THAT is why the conspirators are importing tens of millions of aliens (who reproduce 10x faster because they don’t care about the quality of life of their offspring—they are merely breeding an army; like wolves, once they have learned to fend for themselves, they are on their own).  And fools expect a “fair fight” or a “peaceful society” between such savages and lambs!

[See also my short parody booklet, New “Department of Farmland Security” Mandates Effective Immediately, 8pp., 1.25 + P&H.]

Luther did not realize that the “successful” administration of secular government was only possible when it is our people who fill every level of government and society to rule over our people who fill every community.  Later in life, Luther seems to have realized some of these things more clearly; but not in the beginning.  Furthermore, he could not have possibly—without a Divine vision—foreseen that all the alien heathen savages of the world would not merely invade Christendom—but be invited to invade by treasonous wolves in sheep’s clothing in every level of church and state.  Later Luther explained that the antichrists were unconvertable and that the secular public schools were incubators of evil to which no parent should send his children.  So much for the “successful” secular state that does not need to be Christian.  

God gave His people the Dominion Mandate: Tread down.  Subdue.  Have dominion.  It is not a “gentlemany affair” where one requests permission wearing white gloves and a tuxedo.  It is not the inane, insane older notion of the British notion of a “fair fight” in which both sides line up on opposite ends of a field, stand exposed in ranks, and take turns shooting volley of lead into each other!

[It was General George Washington who saved the day, when after General Braddock was shot, and Washington took charge and told the men to run for cover and like the Indians, hide behind rocks and trees and shoot from a safe place, and not stand out exposed while the Indians were shooting from safety, since the Indians did not play by the same rules.]

When God had his prophets and apostles write the Scriptures concerning authority, it was all based on presuppositions of other declarations and commands.  God commanded His people to be separate from alien peoples.  Aliens had no place in the society of God’s people and were to be shunned (aliens are not to be confused with kinsmen “strangers”, that is, those lateral branches of the same family who had not amalgamated with the world, or those very brethren who were raised in foreign lands, for whatever reason, such as Ruth being born in Moab when her parents relocated there to escape famine, and Elimelech and Naomi later followed with their sons who had been born in the land of Israel, and so, were not foreign born; such as Joseph’s sons being born in Egypt, because Joseph himself had been sold into slavery when young, and he was raised by God to prominence in Egypt).  God forbade us setting up any alien—any man who is not our legitimate kinsmen to rule over us.

While indeed the “rosary” (which Luther said tongue-in-cheek, as a dig against the papacy for thinking that it could rule the whole earth by its superstitions) or the Gospel cannot be used to rule the world, that is a non sequitur and false inference.  That’s like saying “An anvil cannot be used to hoe a garden”.  That is true, but irrelevant.  Just because the anvil cannot be used as a hoe does not mean that the anvil has no purpose; and it does not mean that the blacksmith himself cannot be a gardener—and forge a hoe upon his anvil with which he can hoe his garden.  Likewise, it would be senseless to give an orchestra sheets of mathematical equations rather than musical scores.  This does not invalidate the need for mathematics, nor the usefulness of orchestras; neither does it deny that the musical scales themselves indeed have mathematical structure and relation.  However, the musical scores are based on math, and when put in musical form, it is beneficial for governing the orchestra’s playing.  So it is with the Gospel.

The Gospel was not meant to be the means by which the world is ruled, but the spirit by which those who rule, would rule it according to the Law of God.  The Gospel is not the handbook for government legislation (though the 12 Apostles will rule the 12 Tribes of Israel in the Kingdom).  The Gospel is the “Good News” for God’s people—the revelation of the fulfillment of God’s Promise to Redeem His people who had sold themselves to sin.  The Gospel reveals to the elect of God’s People God’s Plan and Method of for the restoration of His people—and the fact that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Law or the Prophets.  However, that Gospel is the means by which God’s people get their hearts right with God, so that they can successfully rule by the entire Law of God, none of which has been abolished.  When we sin, God does not hear our prayers.  Sin is violation of the Law.  He who turns his ears from God’s Law, his prayers are actually an abomination to God.  However, when a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

There should be no separation between church and state in terms of immunity and non-influence of one from the other.  They are two separate spheres established by God to operate based upon the same morality, though each with different (though overlapping) jurisdictions or job descriptions.  However, each is a check against the other and also complements the other.  

Solomon and David set up the courses of priests; and the high priests anointed the kings, and even, on occasion, resisted and replaced them (as did prophets, who were, in one sense, like priests, but “free agents”).  Similarly, at the return of the Ark of the Covenant, David coordinated the sacrifices, even as Solomon did at the dedication of the Lord’s Temple.  Scripture says that David or Solomon “sacrificed”, but they did not actually themselves perform the sacrifices (which only the Levitical priests could do) any more than Solomon actually himself built the Temple.  However, they organized and officiated at the ceremonies of both Church and State.

Finally, if one is a zookeeper, one does not govern the inmates of the zoo as he would govern his own family or community.  But Luther could no more have envisioned in the mid 1500s the invasion of all of Christendom by the Third Word and by Antichrists who opened the gates, any more than he could have invisioned space aliens from other planets invading planet earth.  Regardless, his thinking was flawed in some areas, having freshly come out from one of the largest world-wide brainwashing organizations in history; to be surpassed only by Zionist “Judeo-‘Christian’ ethic” and godless, polluted notions of “political correctness” masquerading as true Christianity and spirituality.