The Throne of Iniquity
Psalms 94:20 (King James Version) asks, “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?”
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
This passage refers to evil government policies, the answer to the question being that surely God is opposed to such practice. But “thee” can apply also to the citizens and residents of the realm. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with the people subject to it? Should people just adapt to it and go with the flow, or should they educate and overcome?
The term “throne” clarifies that those accused of iniquity are not private criminals but government officials, especially the chiefs. “Iniquity” means that these officials are tyrants, ruling unjustly. To “frame” mischief means to commit evil under the rubric of law, abusing governmental authority.
The ancient context is Israel before they got themselves a king. Israel had been ruled by judges, and some judges became wicked and disgraced their offices. This evil induced a call for a king. But the kings after David abused their power even more, resulting in a rebellion that split Israel into two countries, weakening the nation so that it would later suffer a double conquest.
The general message is that we should not have “fellowship” with a corrupt government and oppressive statutes, but rather expose them and seek to replace wicked rule with righteous law. In a democracy, the throne can be overturned by changing public opinion, and the best strategy is often civil disobedience. This was the strategy adopted by Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and the other heroes of the U.S. civil rights movement. They refused to have fellowship with the evil segregation that was imposed from the thrones of state officials.
Mahatma Gandhi refused to have fellowship with the iniquity of British rule over India. His nonviolent civil disobedience brought independence to India. A hundred years ago, women refused to follow laws prohibiting them from voting; they marched and struggled, and today it would be unthinkable to not have political equality for females.
But before we can overcome iniquity, we need clarity on what it is. Too often folks push policies that they think are right, but are actually oppressive. There was a movement to prohibit alcohol that created “mischief by law” as it resulted popular disobedience and criminal gangs that supplied the booze. Those who advocated prohibition thought they were doing good, but they did not understand that the use of force against peaceful human action is itself evil.
To overcome iniquity, we first need to understand the universal ethic that applies to all humanity and frames the moral foundation for social harmony. Secondly, we need to understand the structure of governance that best limits the abuse of political power. Third, we need to understand the economics of public finance, so that governance and civic goods are funded in harmony with justice and prosperity.
The first step for those who seek to avoid fellowship with iniquity is to educate themselves on the moral, political, and economic dimensions of righteous governance. The next step is to educate others, with organizations, publications, and political action. The action can be political campaigns, civil disobedience, or contacting officials. The third step is to repeal or change “mischief by law.”
The inappropriate way to counter mischief by law is to create mischief by force. Those who use violence, destroying property and injuring police officers and civilians, themselves create a throne of iniquity, setting themselves up as petty tyrants. Too often those who assassinated what they considered to be evil chiefs, ended up creating a worse tyranny. They assassinated Caesar and ended up with corrupt tyrannical emperors. The assassination of an archduke in Sarajevo in 1914 led to the disaster of World War I. The assassination of Lincoln did not help the South after the Civil War.
Revolution may be appropriate when there is dictatorship or rule by oppressors who do not represent the subjects. But revolution can turn into tyranny, as did the French and Russian revolutions. We may think that the American revolution was a blessing, but it led to the Civil War and to the imperial American power that joined World War I to defeated the German and Turkish empires. The defeat of Germany led to the disaster of World War II, and the defeat of the Turkish empire led to the rise of Levantite terror and the current war in Iraq.
We must therefore be very careful in the overthrow of the throne of iniquity, to avoid tearing up the evolved social order. The Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek warned against “constructivism,” the attempt to totally reconstitute a society. Righteous rebellion focuses on the evil to be overturned, and uses the least disruptive means.
Mischief by law is far greater than what most folks realize. The mischief includes all laws interfering with peaceful and honest human action, including laws prohibiting acts which do not coercively harm others. The mischief includes all taxation of peaceful human action. The mischief includes empowering lawyers with the ability to impose a litigation tax on society.
Psalms 94:20 can be a weapon in the defense of justice and liberty. When the authorities of iniquity try to suppress your civil disobedience, show them Psalms 94:20 and explain that the Bible tells us not to have fellowship with the throne of iniquity. And if we just sit there and allow mischief by law to occur unopposed, are we not indulging in fellowship with iniquity?
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2005 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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