John Birch Society: You Can’t Legislate Christian Charity (Or Integration)

Julie and I have been discussing the influence of Christian Reconstructionism and Bircherism on Rand Paul’s statements about the Civil Rights Act. Now this week the CEO of the John Birch Society says “forced integration by the government is wrong” and that Christians should just be trusted to do what’s right, because you “can’t legislate Christian charity.”

In its weekly webcast, John Birch Society CEO Arthur R. Thompson came to Paul’s defense, and issued a rambling condemnation of government “forcing” integration (although to soften this position, he similarly condemned “forced segregation,” apparently referring to Jim Crow laws). “When you have government involved in this process, it can really lead to serious problems,” he said. Government, he continued, “shouldn’t be involved in forcing people on some things. . . . It’s always been the official position of the John Birch Society that forced segregation is wrong . . . . but forced integration by government is equally wrong. And that’s just the way it is. It’s called freedom. Now there will always be inequities in freedom.”

Thompson never specifically addresses Paul’s statements on the Civil Rights Act, but intimates that, like Paul, he believes people should be, essentially, trusted to do the right thing. He believes this, it seems, because, like Paul, if everyone acted on Christian charity, we wouldn’t need any laws. “With Christian charity,” Thompson concluded, “we can work together. Without Christian charity, we can’t. And you just can’t legislate Christian charity. It’s just that simple.”

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