Monday, September 24, 2018

#2074: Christopher Ortiz

Christopher Ortiz is (or at least was in 2006) the editor of the reconstructionist journal Faith for All of Life, communications director for the Chalcedon Foundation and a remorseless theocrat. His goal, and the goal of his group, is to establish “the universal rule of God” and “impose the full text of Biblical law” in the US, which, it should be noted, is quite a bit more stringent than what the Taliban tried to do in Afghanistan. (To his credit – or not – Ortiz seems dimly aware of the similarities.) The Chalcedon foundation also promotes not only young-earth creationism but geocentrism.

Ortiz and his group – which is not really a particularly small one – seem to see themselves as the heirs to Rushdooney and Rushdooney’s promotion of a “theocracy as the Bible sets it forth,” a government not “by the state but a government over every institution by God and His Law, and through the activities of the free man in Christ to bring every area of life and thought under Christ’s Kingship.” The phrase “free man in Christ” means one who voluntarily chooses theocracy. Freedom to choose what you want as long as what you want is exactly what I want you to want (otherwise you’ll be forced), is not freedom under any ordinary definition of “freedom”. It is worth noting that the Chalcedon foundation promotes itself as “libertarian”.

Ortiz does, however, think that critics of theocracy get it all wrong. The goal of his group is not to establish theocracy by undemocratic means. “Theonomists are often accused, wrongly, of wanting to impose Old Testament penal codes on contemporary offenders, against the will of the vast majority of the populace. In fact, what they argue is that by the preaching of the gospel and the adoption of this interpretation of the Bible, the nation should, and one day will, repent and reaffirm the covenant. Old Testament sanctions will then be the will of the people and the law of the land” [quote by Canadian fundie extremist D.A. Carson]. The means by which they gain control, we suspect, is not most people’s primary objection to theocracy, nor the primary reason theocratic rule is thought to be oppressive. There are historical parallels that would illustrate the distinction. And of course, when Ortiz goes on to say that “Biblical theocracy is not opposed to the American democratic process,” he sorts of misses some rather crucial features of how constitutional democracies like the US are actually supposed to work (e.g. that somewhat essential “constitutional” bit, for instance). 

Diagnosis: Yes, not only do they exist: There are plenty of them. And it should scare you.

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