In his book Deliver Us from Evil, Dr. Tom Dooley relates a punishment the Viet Minh inflicted upon their countrymen for listening to evil words. The Viet Minh were the predecessors to the Communist Viet Cong of the Vietnam War.
Says Dr. Dooley of some of their victims, "Each of them had a big scar where an ear should have been. I remembered that in the Roman Catholic province of Bao Lac, near the frontier of China, the Communist Viet Minh often would tear an ear partially off with a pincer-like pair of pliers and leave the ear dangling. That was the penalty for the crime of listening to the evil words. The evil words were the words of the Lord’s Prayer."
At my first reading of this account, I was shocked and nonplussed. Why would anyone take offense at such a simple and loving prayer, indeed to the point of maiming people?
The Apostle Paul tells us that many do not like to retain God in their knowledge (Romans 1:28), but to take this to the extent of the Viet Minh seems to go beyond a simple rejection of the Creator. Dr. Dooley’s explains, "How downright treasonable to ask God for bread instead of applying to proper Communist authorities! How criminal to imply that the new People’s Republic was an evil from which one needed deliverance! A mutilated ear would remind such scoundrels of the necessity of re-education." (Quoted from Dr. Tom Dooley’s Three Great Books, by Thomas A. Dooley, copyright 1956, pp.17-18)
Too many movers and shakers of this world, whether Communist or not, want us to look to them for our sustenance and security. In them would reside our retirement and employment security, our food, our shelter, and our clothing. To them we are to look for our protection and support.
Commentator Jonah Goldberg has coined the term "God-State" to describe this approach to ordering society, pointing out that this 20th Century virus has infected most ideologies in almost every corner of the globe. The "God-State" moniker highlights how people tend more and more to look to government for their daily bread, and as Dooley points out, "How downright treasonable to ask God for bread instead of applying to proper Communist [or any other human] authorities!"
In Revelation 13 John describes a beast that he sees rising out of the sea. It is significant that "all the world marveled and followed the beast" (verse 3) and that "they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast?’" Could there be a more appropriate description of the God-State?