proliferation of nuclear technologies across the globe, togethernwith the growing possibilities of nuclear terrorism,nrules out any such easy solution. Even in respect of thenSoviet Union, the Star Wars shield cannot protect Europe atnall, and could be nearly perfect and still (by allowing in a fewnmulti-warhead missiles) allow for the devastation of NorthnAmerica. Whereas it undoubtedly has virtue as a levernagainst the Soviet Union, SDI has been seized upon as antechnical solution for a moral and political dilemma that isnprobably insoluble.nWe return here to the decadence of Western religiousnculture, which is shown in nothing better than in thenendorsement by conservative churchmen of the extravagantnclaims made for SDI. When it is conservative, the conservatismnof Western religiosity is of an Aquarian or New Agendescription — a conservatism issuing in groundless hopesnand based on a repression of the intractabilities of humannLUTHER ON SECULARnAUTHORITYnWe must firmly establish secular law andnthe sword, that no one may doubt that itnis in the vvorid by God’s will and ordinance.nThe passages which establish thisnare the following: Romans xiii, “Letnevery soul be subject to power andnauthority, for there is no power but fromnGod. The power that is everywhere isnordained of God. He then who resistsnthe power resists God’s ordinance. Butnhe who resists God’s ordinance shallnbring himself under condemnation.”nLikewise, I Peter ii, “Be subject to everynkind of human ordinance, whether tonthe king as supreme, or to the governors,nas to those sent of Him for the punishingnof evil and for the reward of the good.”nThis penal law existed from the beginningnof the worid. For when Gainnslew his brother he was in such greatnterror of being in turn killed that Godnspecially forbade it and suspended thensword for his sake—and no one was tonslay him. He would not have had thisnfear if he had not seen and heard fromnAdam that murderers should be slain.nMoreover God re-established and confirmednit after the Flood in unmistakablenterms when He said, “Whoso shedsnman’s blood, his blood shall be shednagain by man.” This cannot be understoodnas a plague and punishment ofnGod upon murderers; for many murderersnwho repent or are pardoned continuento live, and die by other means than thensword. But it is said of the right of thensword, that a murderer is guilty of deathnand should in justice be slain by then18/CHRONICLESnLIBERAL ARTSnsword. Though justice be hindered ornthe sword be tardy, so that the murdererndies a natural death, the Scripture is notnon that account false when it says,n”Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by mannshall his blood be shed.” For it is men’snfault or merit that this law commandednof God is not carried out; even as otherncommandments of God are broken.n—from Secular Authority: To WhatnExtent It Should Be ObeyednAny man against whom it can be provednthat he is a maker of sedition is outsidenthe law of God and Empire, so that thenfirst who can slay him is doing right andnwell. For if a man is an open rebel everynman is his judge and execuhoner, just asnwhen a fire starts, the first to put it out isnthe best man. For rebellion is not simplenmurder, but is like a great fire, whichnattacks and lays waste a whole land.nThus rebellion brings with it a land fullnof murder and bloodshed, makes widowsnand orphans, and turns everythingnupside down, like the greatest disaster.nTherefore let everyone who can, smite,nslay, and stab, secretly or openly, rememberingnthat nothing can be morenpoisonous, hurtful, or devilish than anrebel. It is just as when one must kill anmad dog; if you do not strike him, henwill strike you, and a whole land withnyou. . . .nThey cloak this terrible and horriblensin with the Gospel, call themselvesn”Ghristian brethren,” receive oaths andnhomage, and compel people to holdnwith them to these abominations. Thusnthey become the greatest of all blasphemersnof God and slanderers of Hisnholy Name, serving the devil, under thennnhistory. Such a feel-good conservatism is crucially dependentnon a climate of prosperity, which will likely bendiminished over the next few years. It supports a hopelesslynnaive optimism, not only about the powers of technology tonovercome immemorial tragedies such as war, but also aboutnthe reformability of human institutions. And it occludesnpublic perception of the global environment to such annextent that even avowed enmity cannot be recognized. Thenfusion of Christian meliorism with triumphalist conservatismnbodes ill for us.nIf this account is at all correct, it follows that we cannexpect no quick or easy recovery in our culture. The mostnthat can be reasonably hoped for the future is that the trials itncontains may chasten the inordinate optimism that, atnpresent, represses the eschatological dimension in ournreligious traditions, and blinds us to the apocalyptic vision ofnthe real world in which (for the moment) we continue tonlive. noutward appearance of the Gospel, thusnearning death in body and soul tenntimes over. I have never heard of morenhideous sin. I suspect that the devil feelsnthe Last Day coming and thereforenundertakes such an unheard-of act, asnthough saying to himself “This is thenlast, therefore it shall be the worst; I willnshr up the dregs and knock out thenbottom.” God will guard us againstnhim! See what a mighty prince the devilnis, how he has the worid in his handsnand can throw everything into confusion,nwhen he can so quickly catch sonmany thousands of peasants, deceiventhem, blind them, harden them, andnthrow them into revolt, and do withnthem whatever his raging fury undertakes.nIt does not help the peasants, whennthey pretend that, according to Genesisni and ii, all things were created free andncommon, and that all of us alike havenbeen baptized. . . . For baptism doesnnot make men free in body and property,nbut in soul; and the Gospel does notnmake goods common, except in thencase of those who do of their own freenwill what the apostles and disciples didnin Acts iv. They did not demand, as donour insane peasants in their raging, thatnthe goods of others, — of a Pilate and anHerod, — should be common, but onlyntheir own goods. Our peasants, however,nwould have other men’s goods common,nand keep their own goods fornthemselves. Fine Ghristians these! Inthink there is not a devil left in hell; theynhave all gone into the peasants.n—from Against the Robbing andnMurdering Peasantsn