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May 26, 2014

"The lie in the black heart of democracy is that we can overcome Caesar by electing another Caesar."

To my mind, it is nevertheless incumbent upon every Christian: to understand the nature of our political order;
that it is answerable, ultimately, to the Prince of This World; that it stands in open defiance to the claims of Christ; and that we, as Christians, cannot honour it without dishonouring Our Lord. For the demands of pagan Caesar are no different today than they were in the first centuries: that we bow before his abstract image, worship and pay taxes to him; that we publicly subordinate our conscience to his ghastly will.
David Warren , Hapless voters

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 26, 2014 11:22 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's Mat 22:21.

Unfortunately the verse offers little clarification, even with a reading of the entire passage Mat 22:15-22 for context. This phrase has become a widely quoted summary of the relationship between Christianity and secular authority. The original message, coming in response to a question of whether it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar, gives rise to multiple possible interpretations about the circumstances under which it is desirable for the Christian to submit to earthly authority.

I am a Freemason. In our Craft we are obligated with our hand upon the open Holy Bible to uphold certain values. Honesty, Charity, Morals, Faith, several others. We are charged to be good fathers, good neighbors, good citizens; to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds. Therein lies some contradiction not easily resolved.

The military and to some extent Law Enforcement face a similar contradiction; they have similar admonitions of conduct and duty; they are sworn to uphold the laws of the Country and urged to hold high morals. (There is something about a group called Oath Keepers. This group urges obedience to basic laws and the Constitution but suggests that when unlawful orders are given they should not be obeyed. I am not sure about this, I only heard of them. I could use help from an astute reader here).

What I am getting at is: when obeying the laws of Man there may come a time when to do so would mean supporting and enforcing laws that are illegal, immoral, just plain wrong. I won't provide examples; if you made it this far you can supply your own. I do pose a question: where does a person, a citizen draw the line? How do we determine if a law is wrong? It can't be so individual or whimsical. The determination and the course of reaction should in themselves be "legal" or moral.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 26, 2014 12:19 PM

I believe what the passage means is to surrender your obedience to Caesar, not your agreement.

Posted by: james wilson at May 26, 2014 1:32 PM

I'm an individual and don't care about laws created for *we's*.

In my life I determine all things, including so called laws, rules, regulations, etc., and how they might intersect my life.

I've never been a fan of authority and respect even less other individuals that presume to direct any aspect(s) of my life and reject most of it outright.

Does that mean I don't wear my seatbeat?
I do, when I believe it is warranted, not as a programmed reaction to a state mandated rule.

I harm no one and mind my own business, there is no higher authority than that. There is just thuggery, and I try to avoid it.

The first giant step was to move to an isolated location far away from societies. It is little hardship to not be able to get a McSquishy burger in 34.17 seconds and I'm not necessarily concerned about the sales at the mall.

It is however much more difficult for all thugs to access us and I find peace in that.

Code yellow all the time around here.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 26, 2014 6:40 PM

Ghostsniper, for a right winger your very high opinion of yourself and your code is as alien to Burke as it is familiar to progressives.

Posted by: james wilson at May 27, 2014 10:55 AM

You cannot successfully outsource Citizenship.

Posted by: Scott M at May 27, 2014 12:54 PM

IMHO, that Bible verse means this. Your religious beliefs are about your personal relationship with God. Because we are different, our approach to that relationship will vary. (Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.)

Government is about man's relationship to other men. If we were all angels, no government would be necessary. We would all treat one another well and fairly. Because we aren't all good, there must be some agreement between men as to how we are going to treat one another. In the bad old days, they had the "Golden Rule." That is, he who had the gold to hire enough muscle made the rules. Then we had the plan where church and state merged. The rulers were supposedly "chosen by God." It made for a cozy relationship for both parties. After printing and more education made the Bible available to more people, they began to see that the church/state cooperation was keeping them poor and inservitude to the rulers. It took quite a lot of bloodshed, but the idea of separation of church and state slowly became accepted. Then an even more revolutionary idea took hold. That the people should have power over the governors through elections. From that came another idea - laws concerning the ownership of private property with courts to enforce them that applied to all equally . This system of governance through elections, with laws and courts enforcing private property rights sprang mostly from what is now known as the Anglosphere. Much of our approach to laws has been derived from Judeo/Christian ethics. So, while government allows free practice of religion, our religious sense of morals have iinfluenced our laws and the way they are enforced. Because the Constitutional Republic that we have is such a relatively new concept among men, it is still fragile and must be defended. The urge to control our fellow man as in the bad old days is ever present among humans.

At least that's my take

Posted by: Jimmy J. at May 27, 2014 2:12 PM

Fletcher Christian: "An ye harm none, do as thou wilt."

Many blue laws were passed because the harm to families was seen to be worth trying to remedy such. In my family I had an uncle who was an alcoholic. His family suffered greatly because of his affliction. He was harming both himself and his wife and children. Prohibition didn't work, so it was changed. Now we have legalized marijuana in some states. Will it be good or bad? The jury is out.

The good thing about a government where the citizens are in control is that those laws can be changed, if enough citizens change their minds about an issue. In some states now the laws about gay marriage have been changed because the voters decided that was what they wanted. No government should be set in stone. In a perfect world arguments could be made for change, and when enough voters agreed, the change would occur. Humans are not yet quite that rational. Democratic government will always be in a state of flux because it is basically a negotiation between voters as to what laws they want and don't want.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at May 27, 2014 4:13 PM

Let's look at this:The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits:
the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion;
impeding the free exercise of religion; abridging the freedom of speech;
infringing on the freedom of the press;
interfering with the right to peaceably assemble;
or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

The part about establishing a religion means to me that the State can't sponsor its own religion and force the citizens to join it.

That having been said, there is a difference between religion and morals. Being religious includes having some moral values; having moral values does not necessarily include being religious. Our nation and its Constitution and the laws follow a set of morals. We are guided by morals in our social intercourse. No mention of religion there.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 27, 2014 5:03 PM

I never claimed to be a right winger and I'll ask you to refrain from calling such.
Thanks, Mgt.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 27, 2014 7:45 PM

There is only right wing or left wing. As a man said well, anything not specifically right wing sooner or later will become left wing.

Posted by: james wilson at May 27, 2014 9:04 PM

James: those terms are only relevant in the paradigm of a bipolar system.

Either/or is simplistic and illogical. How about both or neither? How about a little of this and some of that? Some folks are not playing the game. We're standing back a bit watching the exits.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 27, 2014 10:23 PM

Jimmy J - Sorry, your reply to my comment now means very little because my comment has been censored. It seems that leftards aren't alone in the "shut up, he explained" debate tactic.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at May 28, 2014 4:02 AM

The Founders designed the system to be bipolar, in defect of "better" motives, because that is what humans are, defective and bipolar. Right wing thinking is a search, often frustrated, for truths, and especially the understanding of what are equal and opposite truths in tension. Left wing thinking is invariably intellectual and moral quackery. Pick and choose all you like between wine and sewage, but it will come out sounding like "relevant in the paradigm of a bipolar system".

Posted by: james wilson at May 28, 2014 11:24 AM

james wilson - Baloney. And that's the polite word. All too often, right wind thinking isn't thinking at all - it's mindless parroting of something written in some book or other, often one written thirty centuries ago by some semi-literate Bronze Age tribesman and badly translated several times since then.

And, to be fair, left wing thinking is usually similar mindless parroting, this time of a book written somewhat more recently.

Personally, I think that the left/right axis is at least partially missing the point. The libertarian/authoritarian axis is much more important.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at May 28, 2014 2:56 PM

Fletch, you have shown over the years how well chosen your pseudonym is. Jump on a righteous but shallow idea and maroon yourself with it on the smallest possible island. You wouldn't know an axis if it fell on your head, although apparently none has.

Posted by: james wilson at May 28, 2014 9:34 PM

I confess my inability to locate any passage within the Bible wherein GOD may have commanded man to set up earthly rulers over himself and other men. In fact the opposite seems to be the case, as with Saul.

Actions give meaning to words, clearly the actions of Jesus displayed an open animosity to both the religious and civil rulers of the time, as did the actions of Abraham, Moses, David & c.
Additionally Paul's action with regard to government indicates what his words truly meant.

If man is good then no earthly ruler is necessary; if man is evil then an earthly ruler being man also would be evil.

It is easier to find people fit to govern
themselves than people to govern others.
Every man is the best, the most responsible,
judge of his own advantage.

Lord Acton

Posted by: itor at May 30, 2014 3:56 PM

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