The following are excerpts from Jeremy Mills’ first place essay titled “"Under God?”:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Those words have been declared hundreds of times, over and over again by the citizens of the United States of America. These words, far from mere words, proclaim the allegiance of citizens to a nation who subjects itself to God, and, in so doing, is indivisible, and capable of providing liberty and justice to all of its residents. And yet, two and a half centuries after the founding of our country, one must look at the United States and ask: Are we truly one nation under God? And if we are not, if we have rejected God’s authority, will this nation still be indivisible, and will it still provide the promise of liberty and justice for all? John W. Robbins, in his most excellent book, Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics, provides answers to these and other questions. More than attempting to provide personal opinions on these matters, Robbins shows how the Bible must be used as the guide when it comes to discerning the best operation of government and politics and also the use of the science of economics. Specifically, Freedom and Capitalism clearly shows the importance of limited government, the proper influence the government should have over the spheres of church and family, the importance of a Biblical view of economics, and the freedoms of capitalism, while at the same time reinforcing the Biblical concept throughout all of these ideas of man’s individual, God given, rights and responsibilities.

Of all the ideas Robbins presents in his book, none is more frequently mentioned than that of limited government. This concept is presented as the solution to many of the issues the United States now faces, including increasing taxes, welfare, health care, and education concerns, and the draft. The ways of the Creator, as set down in His Word, the Bible, offer the only true guidelines to life – all aspects of life. Everything can be discerned from the Bible, from Biblical revelation, including the purposes and functions of good government. This idea is true because the Bible, God’s Holy Word, makes what Robbins refers to as “a truth claim” (Robbins 406). The contents of the Bible claim to be the Word of God and, as such, are true because God declares them to be so. By looking to God as the ultimate source of truth and at the Bible as truth revealed to man, one can then begin to discern what good government is from the Bible because whatever the Bible, as the revealed Word of God to man, says about how government should operate certainly and necessarily is true.

When citizens begin to think of their government as the provider of their income, their healthcare, and their education, the true purpose of government and the concept of limited government immediately go out the window. People begin to push for bigger government, for more government control, not because it is necessary, but because government becomes a “Santa Claus” that releases them from responsibility and grants their wishes. Once this control and power is transferred from the people to the government, it then becomes easy for the government to become tyrannical.

A system of national healthcare presents a huge danger to individual security and well being, and gives the government an even more intimidating tool for accomplishing and promoting its means among the citizens it governs. National healthcare prevents physicians from providing proper treatments, citizens from seeking the type of healthcare they desire, and patients from receiving the best treatments possible. The hands of the physicians are tied by government regulations stating what they can and cannot do and the will of the patients is stayed by forcing them to accept treatments and physicians that may not be desirable to them. However, everyone has healthcare, everyone’s so called “right to health” is being met, all courtesy of the government. This false “social right” to healthcare is allowed to become so powerful that it destroys the freedom of the individual.

The same concerns of national welfare and national healthcare programs apply to national education. Not only can the government decide who receives the education, but also, what kind of education is received. The Bible instructs parents, “Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6 HCSB). This is a responsibility imparted by God to parents to raise their children in the way they should live their life, specifically in God’s ways. It does not say turn your children over to the state and whatever the government decides your children should know, they will be taught. However, it is easier to turn one’s children over to the state for teaching because this action allows the parents to “not worry” about educating and preparing their child. The “Santa Claus” state has granted the parents the ability to have more time for themselves and freedom from their responsibilities. To quote Robbins, “the family is no longer the basic institution for determining values for children – instead, that is the government’s province in and through its various agencies” (Robbins 319-320).

God has created three separate contexts of influence in society, each with a legitimate purpose and role to play in the lives of the individual. Each of the spheres belongs separately within a larger concept called the “Will of God.” Each entity, family, church, and state, must remain within the sphere of the Will of God, but must not try to extend into, and regulate the purposes or intents of the others. Ideally, every human should be separately a member and a partaker of all three. God has given the family responsibility to raise and train up children, preparing them for life. The church is to spread the Word of God. It also provides fellowship and instruction to believers, preparing them and training them in much the same way the family is to prepare children for life. Finally, the state is to provide justice and protection to the citizens it serves. It is of extreme importance that the church never regulates the state, the state never regulates the church, and the state never regulates the family. Every arena is to be governed through the purpose and will of God for its specific area.

Church and family are not the only two institutions government must leave alone if Americans are to truly enjoy freedom. If the government wishes to see the economy grow and citizens prosper, it must also not meddle with the economics of the United States. Robbins makes the point in Freedom and Capitalism that secular economic theory is full of unbiblical concepts, concepts accepted from misguided philosophers and thinkers. In fact, Robbins spends an entire chapter refuting many of them. These include Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. One does not have to read much of their philosophy to discover that it does not seem to be very logical. After all, Robbins defines economics as, “a body of propositions concerning the logic of human choice” (Robbins 391). Robbins reminds readers that economics, “may indeed furnish us with a considerable body of truth” (Robbins 369). Once again, the Bible can be the only source of truth, because of the truth claim it makes. Christian economics, grounded in Biblical truth, can indeed make sense of a system that has been made progressively more confusing by worldly scholars. Acknowledging the Bible as God’s truth revealed to man provides a foundation that economic theory can be built upon. One does not have to turn to sense experience, nature, or any other fallible source because the Word of God provides a very credible source. On this foundation, Robbins places the three axioms of economics. According to Robbins, these are: (1) man chooses, (2) only individuals choose, and (3) men act in their own self interest.

Out of the ideas and concepts of Biblically based economics, capitalism, emerges as the economic system most consistent with the concepts of the Bible. Unlike other systems, such as socialism or fascism, capitalism promotes a work ethic and stewardship among the people who live under its structure. The government usually exercises little to no control over the private property of its citizens, and it does not regulate their pursuit of additional wealth. The government does protect the ideas and rights of enterprising individuals from those who would “steal” these ideas from them. The government does not regulate how much, or what, is produced by its citizens. Robbins makes it quite clear that capitalism is, “the economic counterpart to the political system of limited government in which the only functions of government are the punishment of evildoers, that is, criminals, and the praise of the good” (Robbins 466). Capitalism also does this, perhaps in a more subtle way, as it rewards those who are responsible, hard working, and industrious, and, in a sense, punishes those who choose to be lazy and do not work. This system rewards the individual who works hard by allowing him to keep the property and gain he has earned. Capitalism does not funnel the hard work of some to the government where it redistributed evenly amongst the industrious and the slothful. To do so would destroy any purpose or drive on the part of the worker to work.

John Robbins’ book, Freedom and Capitalism, provides great insight into what the Bible has to say about government and economics. Government must be kept limited, small, and confined to its legitimate purposes. Government must not regulate economies, but leave capitalism free to flourish. Now it is time to answer the question: Is the United States one nation under God? Furthermore, does the nation seek to follow the guidelines of Scripture, God’s Holy Word, in regards to government? Does the freedom of capitalism flourish as a reward for following the concepts of limited government? Sadly, the answer seems to be, “No!” While vestiges may remain of a limited government, the state is now a monster that is beginning to grow out of control. As more controls are being placed on the freedom of capitalism, and the citizens of the country decline more of their personal responsibility of stewardship to the monster state, our national economic system will continue to erode as a direct result of the government’s policies. As the state grows, it will devour the remains of the capitalist system, for both cannot exist when the government is out of balance. Within the Bible, it is clear that both can and should exist. These systems are pleasing to God, for they leave individuals free to serve and honor God with their lives and possessions. However, just as America has turned its back on God; so it has also turned its back on His ways. By doing so, the United States gives up the ability to accept this wonderful system of government and the economic freedom that accompanies it.