Sunday, December 06, 2015
Calvinism and the Second Amendment
Calvinism sees the world ordered by the sovereign God, and disordered by human foolishness.
Yet Calvin was a protestant reformer - he protested against a disordered church, and enacted a wide-ranging reform in church and state.
For anyone who believes both in divine order and godly protest, there is a bit of a problem. Calvinists can't be anarchists. They cannot countenance resistance to duly constituted authority, in church or state, by mere personal judgment.
Calvin solved this by justifying reform, and even resistance, through the doctrine of the "lesser magistrate". Reform and resistance against the actions of the greater magistrate were only legitimate if conducted on behalf of the fundamental order of society and were supported by some lesser magistrate.
The American Founding Fathers were as influenced by Calvinism as they were by any secular Enlightenment theories.
Therefore I conclude that the Second Amendment could not have been intended to justify arming each citizen against the government. The Founding Fathers were, indeed, revolutionaries against the duly constituted authority of the day. But they were also lesser magistrates in their own right. The well-regulated militia in which citizens have the right to bear arms is itself part of the government - not a justification for armed citizen anarchy.