The theocrats want to take over the government but horrors if the government interferes with them and says “to retain your tax-exempt status, you cannot try to force your adherents to support any particular candidate or party”. Now, more vocally than before, it seems like religious groups in the US want to have their cake and eat it too, to have no government interfering with them but oh they want to interfere in government. And they are willing to ignore their supposed gods to do so. More on that in a minute.
This Sunday, October 7, has been ginned up as “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”, where some priests and pastors want to harangue their flocks to obey them in voting for one or another political candidates or parties. They will insist that their god really really does support one side or the other. That god, always choosing sides in politics and football. Evidently, it’s more fun than actually helping people. Tsk.
What’s hilarious as always is that they will inevitably contradict each other and they haven’t a shred of evidence for their claims. Of course, it’s hard to say that God votes Republican or Tea Party or Libertarian when you can’t even show that your version of it exists at all. These wannabee rebels claim that they will also film the proceedings and sent the films to the IRS so they can force a legal challenge to the law that says that if you support a political party or candidate, then you are unable to avoid paying taxes because you claim “religion”. They of course don’t think about how that law protects churches, church leaders *and* the congregation from gov’t intrusion. A good run down on the law, and how it actually works is here.
Yes, we will see men and women who are sure that they and they alone know what their god thinks insisting that everyone obey this god AKA them. They will rail that the bible supports them and their claims of what their god “really wants”. Of course, they have to make this up wholesale. Poor wannabee “martyrs” when they can’t even agree on what to be martyred about.
I’m still waiting for each sect to set up an altar to show us all who are the “True Christians”. No answers on that front yet. So, while we wait, let’s see what the bible says about their intentional actions to rebel against the government. Nope, I don’t believe in teh bible and it’s nonsense but since Christians do, they reap what they sow. Hypocrisy is a bitch.
Romans 13 is the best one for this. Paul is talking about obedience of God, his laws and the leaders he puts in to place. Per Paul, that’s every leader everywhere. He mentions not *one* exception, not Caesar, not Jewish religious leaders, not the Persian kings, etc. Everyone of them, per Paul, gets their authority from this god.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
So, Pulpit Freedom Sunday has believers ignoring authorities and laws put into place by their god. They are not given a choice on whom to obey; they are only expected to upon pain of the “sword”. There are no verses that read “And those whom you personally disagree with, you may ignore them since humans know better than your god”, or “you’ll know the ones I don’t mean by what color their skin is or their gender (wink, wink)”. We see that Paul is pretty sure that this government also deserve the moneys owed it, just like Jesus:
“You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Seems we have “United States of America” on our coins and bills. So, churches should indeed want to surrender it to the gov’t and pay their fair share of taxes if they want their freedom to do whatever they want. But they don’t. They want to receive a subsidy from the government and the people, to suck on the public teat even more, accepting for free the services that the church uses like infrastructure, so they can attempt to force their religion on others. Well, that’s not constitutional and that’s not America. Considering the whining about how bad it is to accept gov’t help, it’s also quite hypocritical.
(Incidentally – yep, we have in “In God We Trust” too so should the money go to this god? I’d love to see the catfight over which of the thousands of sects thought they and only they deserved it.)
I’m sure some Christians will want to claim “context” in regards to Romans 13. It’s a common tactic in attempts to rewrite the parts of the bible that Christians don’t like. Well, let’s consider that. The prior chapter says that one should not seek revenge, that one should only allow this god to do so. There is no resisting of anyone, only the admonition that evil should always be repaid with good. This goes along with Jesus’ famous “turn the other cheek”, which so many Christians ignore. No mention of rebellion, no mention of acts, violent or civil disobedience against the powers of the world, powers that this god supposedly put into place. Anything like that simply doesn’t exist in the bible.
Of course, there is the problem that Paul was certain that God was returning “nearer now than we first believed”. And that has not proven to be the case. So, you may take it that Paul was wrong once with advocating blind obedience to authorities, and wrong again with his predictions. What else might he, and the bible, be wrong about?
There will also be excuses that Acts 5 says that people should obey God rather than men, thus allowing an exception if the Christian declares that some leader isn’t following what they have decided is what God “really meant”. Again, we are back to the problem of Christians being unable to show that their answer is any more “right” than the next. Who gets the final say? Roman Catholics? Pat Robertson? Unitarians? Fred Phelps? What a conundrum.
Happily, the founders of the United States of American were thoughtful enough to put up a wall between church and state. They knew the problem of having state religions from living under one and having immigrated from others. A state religion means that all doubt is outlawed since everyone *must* believe (or at least pretend) in a certain way and follow a certain version of some god. The problem with this is that if you outlaw doubt then you will always wonder who really believes. All good police states have that same problem. These laws that keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion protects both sides. All of the smaller religions can practice as they choose without fear of the larger ones. Government is not influenced by any variety of religion and can be fair to all. It takes a willful ignorance, pathetic arrogance and malicious greed to think that your religion will benefit from forcing its way into government.
And you know these jackasses would take a fit if the congregation of a mosque would do what these particular Christians claim is their “right”.