I have recently read a little about the iconoclast contraversy around 800-900 AD, and it got me thinking about the authority of Christian governments to stomp out idolatry. Another period of history that comes to mind is the time period of Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia. Gregory's father had killed a king of Armenia and fled to another country where Gregory was either raised as a Christian or became one. Gregory went back to make ammends for his family and to share the Gospel. He was persecuted by the new king, the son of the old one, and put in a pit, according to legend, for years where a widow fed him. He managed to survive. When one of the king's family members was demonized, Gregory was called for and cast it out. The king was converted. The king, whose name started with a T. fought a war against armies of pagans, and used the sword to get rid of paganism and pagan temples. The iconoclasts were those against the use of icons, primarily in the eastern part of the Roman empire around 700 and 800 AD. There were a few iconoclastic emporers who did away with icons and used force against pro-icon bishops and monks. Image worshipping bishops were deposed, and things of that nature. Eventually a pro-image emporer took over and did away with the reforms. I know the idea of the state doing anything against religion goes against American political philosophy. But I am asking you to set that aside and try to think about this Biblically for a moment. The kings in the OT who used force to kill the prophets of Baal and tear down pagan shrines were spoken of in a positive light. The New Testament says that rulers do not bear the sword in vain, that the ruler is a minister of God to execute wrath on him that doeth evil. Idolatry is evil. If a ruler chooses to use the sword against those who practice the evil of idolatry, is this wrong? I am thinking of medeval and ancient kings, here, primarily, not promoting reconstructionism. I am not talking about rulers forcing people to convert to Christianity, but rather punishing those who worship idols. Any opinions?