This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.
(For reasons that I am not going to elaborate on here, I believe the Fourth Commandment to be ceremonial in nature rather than moral. As a ceremonial law it has no impact upon what we are discussing in this essay. I will therefore ignore it.)
Exodus 20: 12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
On first consideration it seems difficult to see how the State is purposefully breaking this commandment. The Fifth Commandment deals with the honor that a child is to have for his parents. The State is not even involved in the practice of obedience to this commandment. How is it possible that my contention that the State is breaking all of the commandments be true?
There are two primary ways that the State is actively breaking the commandment for a child to honor his parents. The first has to do with the common practice in the government school system to indoctrinate children in the view that the State is superior to the family, in particular, to the parents. Government schoolteachers begin with the assumption that they are better qualified to raise the children under their care than the children’s parents. This is seen in the fact that most school systems have counseling programs established for the purpose of teaching the lessons of “parenting skills” to the parents of the children! Teachers routinely intervene in family situations under the guise of providing a public service. In reality, the teachers believe that they are better qualified to be the primary influence in the lives of the children.
This situation is especially true when the children have “religious” parents. Religious parents are seen as a real hindrance to the intellectual and emotional development of the child. Much of the intellectual side of the government school indoctrination is designed to undermine the truths of biblical Christianity. Evolution is taught as a scientific fact. Creationism is denigrated as an anti-scientific belief system worthy only of consideration by sub-standard, superstitious pseudo-intellectuals. I do not have to go into detail on the war that the government schools have declared on Christianity, and Christian parents. Others have written many excellent books that prove my point. What is important for my purposes is that the State has asserted that children are to honor the State, not their parents.
The situation has become so bad in some government school districts that the children are now being asked to turn their parents into the police (usually on charges related to whatever happens to be popular with the teachers at the time, often related to drug laws) as the ultimate act of allegiance to the all powerful State. It is difficult to see how the content of the government school teachings have not seriously undermined the ability of children to honor their parents. In that sense, the State is actively breaking the commandment.
The second way that the State is breaking the Fifth Commandment is in its refusal to enforce the negative sanctions related to the breaking of this commandment. When a child refuses to honor his parents, the parents have a monopoly over the use of the rod to correct the child. As the child grows older it becomes less and less effective to utilize the rod as a means of discipline. Should the child continue to be disobedient it is only a matter of time before his sinful rebellion is manifested in sins that require greater sanctions than a spanking.
Jesus addressed exactly this problem in Matthew 15: 3-4 where He says, “And He answered and said to them, ‘And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honor your father and mother” and, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.” This verse always comes as a tremendous shock to evangelicals who believe that Jesus never said anything other than “I love you” to the people that He addressed. In this debate with the Pharisees Jesus takes the theological position that children who break the Fifth Commandment are to be put to death. This was, and still is, the law of God on the matter.
Immediately pietistic Christians conjure up images of toddlers being stoned and five year olds being burned at the stake. That is not the correct understanding of the law. The father was responsible to use the rod during the early development of the child. As the child develops it eventually becomes the case that the rod is of no more value. A child (I believe that is any child above age 13 and before age 20) that continues to rebel against the God ordained authority of his parents in his older childhood gives his parents the right to have him executed by the State.
Obviously the parents may not have the child executed for sins/crimes that are not biblical. If Dad is mad because Junior just executed his third consecutive “California stop” at a “Stop” sign, that is not biblical grounds for execution. Clearly, the child must be in continual, public rebellion against the law of God. Most, if not all, members of juvenile gangs would be fine candidates for the death penalty.
The State refuses to even consider the idea of enforcing the death penalty upon juvenile delinquents. This is a direct act of rebellion against the revealed will of God for the magistrate. The magistrate does not have the option of ignoring God’s opinion about what to do with juvenile delinquents. The fact that the State ignores God’s law is a prime example of breaking the Fifth Commandment. By taking away the right of the parents to present their children to the State for execution the State is flagrantly arrogating to itself the right to determine the future of the juvenile delinquent. God assigns that responsibility to the parents in the Fifth Commandment and the State is actively breaking that commandment by its behavior. When Christians side with the State on this issue they have become assimilated to the world.