Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« Kudos To Mr. Siegel | Main | The Baby Harvesters Vs. The Baby Heroes »

July 20, 2006

Comments

Brent Robbins

"And Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they were amazed at Him." - Mark 12:17 (NASB)

Here's the catch, though. Does not everything belong to God? If everything is God's, then what is truly Caesar's? Nothing!

Mike

Excellent analysis, Jimmy. Ancient Rome was every bit as bad as the US today, if not worse. The Emperors used the tax money to pay for their drunken orgies, slavery, wars of conquest, and the atrocities that they called "entertainment."

Simply put, the parallels between our government and old Rome indicate that Jesus did take the uses of the tax money into account.

Sadly, if we do move into a post-Christian era, our governments will fund even more atrocities. We are still required to be good citizens.

SDG

Does not everything belong to God? If everything is God's, then what is truly Caesar's? Nothing!

The trouble with this, Brent, is that it flies in the face of Jesus' line of reasoning. What's the point of asking for the denarius, and asking whose image and superscription is on it, if we were meant to conclude that even the denarius wasn't due to Caesar?

More reasonable is the conclusion that what bears Caesar's image and likeness belongs to Caesar, and what bears God's image and likeness -- that is, we ourselves -- belongs to God.

Shane

Remember that Satan is the prince of this world. To a certain degree, he has dominion over the things in this world. If Satan can have dominion over certain things, then certainly governments, which both St. Paul and Jesus say are established by God, do as well.

As SDG pointed out, Jesus' statement to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's shows that Jesus did consider Caesar to own certain things. It's a simple logical arguement

1) Jesus renders unto Caesar what is Caesar's

2) Jesus renders money to Caesar

Conclusion: Jesus considers money to belong to Caesar

Shane

Remember that Satan is the prince of this world. To a certain degree, he has dominion over the things in this world. If Satan can have dominion over certain things, then certainly governments, which both St. Paul and Jesus say are established by God, do as well.

As SDG pointed out, Jesus' statement to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's shows that Jesus did consider Caesar to own certain things. It's a simple logical arguement

1) Jesus renders unto Caesar what is Caesar's

2) Jesus renders money to Caesar

Conclusion: Jesus considers money to belong to Caesar

I understand your concern over this, it is unsettling to me, too, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to think that I am supporting these sorts of things. I think, though, that Jimmy hit the nail on the head with his list of reasons why it would be bad not to pay taxes, particularly the one about the fact that they'd still get their money.

I say this because the teaching of Christ is not so much that all things belong to God as it is that we as Christians must think of ourselves as if nothing belongs to us except God. This is the mindset behind the vows of poverty that religious take. As Christians, we are in the world but not of it. If anything, I think, the money doesn't belong to us, it belongs to the world. In paying taxes, we are just giving back to the world what is already the world's. That's why they'd still get their money - they are in the world and of the world; they will get the money because the money is the world's. We are in the world but not of the world.

decker2003

Jimmy,

Given that no other issue is proportionate to abortion, how could the considerations you cite ever provide a sufficient reason to cooperate with abortion by paying taxes? Sure, by not paying abortion taxes I might bring suffering on myself and those who depend on me, reduce my ability to influence the political process, and even undermine the good things the government does, but how could any of those ever be proportionate to 1.3 million abortions per year? If these reasons wouldn't justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate, how can they justify paying taxes to a government that uses tax funds to murder innocent children?

SDG

Given that no other issue is proportionate to abortion, how could the considerations you cite ever provide a sufficient reason to cooperate with abortion by paying taxes?

The answer is that the actual harm done by some level of remote material cooperation with abortion is far, far outweighed by the more immediate consequences of one's actions. In other words, when it comes to remote cooperation in evil, it's not a matter of "the issue" as a whole, but of specific consequences.

Consider: If "the issue" of abortion so trumped all other considerations that absolutely no form of cooperation whatsoever is acceptable, then by that logic we mustn't pay for groceries or gas, electricity, water, and other utilities; mustn't pay our rent or mortgage; etc.

Nearly any expenditure you can think of ultimately put some money in government coffers which are then used to support "health" services including abortion.

Honora

Only 11 men (and then 12, again) bloomed where they were planted -- and helped to change the entire world -- in His name. Bloom where you are planted, in His name. We are stewards as the State is steward -- of some things. If the State goofs up their portion with our forced donation, the State will answer Him for it one day. Meanwhile, we not only vote, we nominate. Let's poll Opus Dei and see who's running for office. Any office.

Brent Robbins

I say we buy an island in international waters and start up a Catholic nation. ONLY hardcore Catholics are allowed to come to shore.

What yall think? Who's with me?

Honora

ROFL, some of us might be with ya, Brent, and I like your enthusiasm, but it's been done; Ireland was an island in international waters and was completely Catholic at one time.. but now, she is prostituting herself for the Celtic Tiger momentum, allegedly to economically improve life for the Irish people. There's not only divorce there now, and the 90-something % Catholic number dropping, and abortions in some cases (otherwise, they ferry to England PDQ), but churches are for sale as pubs-to-be, and I encountered condom machines in the Ladies' (room) in the western part of the Republic. The Gardai still don't carry weapons (unless maybe they've had to bulk up in Dublin..), but sadly, S.W.A.T. teams are not unheard of. All of this is so very strange for a land who still has statues of the BVM in very public places. I fear they'll soon be replaced with emblems of the EU, as was Irish money.

We'll have to bloom where planted, Brent, until we reside in our true utopia Who waits just beyond our bodily life, Who has prepared a place for us with His wondrously scarred Hands.

decker2003

SDG,

I agree with you 100%. But doesn't that mean that it could be licit to vote for a pro-abortion politician over a pro-life one, at least in certain circumstances? Imagine a contest for mayor in a city with a history of corruption. Candidate A is pro-life and has been convicted of accepting bribes in public office (Randy Cunningham of San Diego, for example). Candidate B is pro-abortion, but has a long history of public service and of cleaning up corruption in other offices where he has served. Isn't it possible that the actual good accomplished by eliminating corruption in the city government would outweigh the actual harm that a pro-abortion mayor might do? After all, the office of mayor confers no power with respect to restricting abortion, at least in any meaningful way. But, it certainly confers a lot of power to eliminate corruption in city government. If the relevant comparison is between actual effects, as opposed to ultimate issues, then it must be same for every case of remote material cooperation, regardless of whether we're talking about paying taxes, buying groceries or voting for political candidates.

Catholic Whiteboy

At the risk of shifting this discussion, I'd like to ask a question that takes the post one step farther. What of purchases where the company donates money to various groups that promote immoral views?

For example, Starbucks donates a hefty chunk of cash to Planned Parenthood. Or the example I struggle with, I'm an avid concert-goer, and I know that a number of the bands make donations to various groups. Does that still qualify as remote cooperation even though I have more choice in the matter (as opposed to paying taxes which I don't have a choice over)? Or that I'm choosing to purchase something from Starbucks make me more culpable for them donating whatever portion of my money that they do?

Dr. Eric

To second Catholic Whiteboy, what about certain stores that sell things that are hard to find like organic foods, ie Whole Foods. I believe it supports Planned Parenthood, I know for a fact that they support the GLBT lifestyle as their checkout lines stock The Advocate.

The answer to this may be for all of us to move (back?) to Ireland and change the political/spiritual climate.

Jamie Beu

If we had an "opt-out" box on our tax forms that let us withold money from Planned Parenthood (or any other evil thing that is receiving government money) then we would be morally obliged to use it,

I've been thinking about this for at least the last 5 years - it would be great if you could check a box to ensure that your tax dollars do NOT go to a certain cause/group/program/etc. The problem is that there are so many things in each budget that the budget document is a good 1,000+ pages long every year. Do we really want our tax forms to be that large? Especially considering that there would be no real way to demonstrate for certain that funds were limited that went to a certain area.

Unfortunately, there is also next to no chance of a "morality opt-out" or "conscientious tax objector" box being placed on the 1040 form. They still haven't put a box to place more money toward reducing the national debt (but they put one to fund elections), so what chance is there?

Jamie Beu

What of purchases where the company donates money to various groups that promote immoral views?

I don't know a canonical answer, but I would venture a guess that there is more of an obligation on us to carefully choose who we support in the marketplace, especially in the U.S., because we have choices of vendors/stores/etc. to purchase goods & services from (unlike the government, which is the only supplier of certain functions, such as highway maintenance, food stamps, and college loans subsidies).

The only parallel to choices in the marketplace, when it comes to our government, is our choices at the ballot booth. Where we have the option, we must support those that are following (or allowing for) God's will, while opposing (by all legal means) those that deny or frustrate God's plan.

- Starbucks: you can get coffee from plenty of other locations (I haven't heard anything about Barnie's killing babies)
- music groups/artists: you don't NEED to listen to Dave Matthews, do you?
- organic foods - I just heard that Wal-Mart is getting into the organic foods act (as well as other grocers expanding their selection of organic foods)

Just because something is trendy, doesn't mean we have to buy from them, especially if they are supporting heinous causes. "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." - G. K. Chesterton, 4/19/30.

(Of course, this opens up the whole can of worms known as Middle East oil... good luck with THAT one, because oil is a fungible resource and so intricately wound into our economy, we are basically noosed by our own hand.)

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

"What belongs to God"

For starters, there was the "Temple Tax"-- which Jesus honored.

Then, there was the Biblical "tithe": one tenth of your entire income to be spent on the poor and the Levites (who had no income).

Mike P.

If you kept following that reasoning, you would end up not being able to purchase anything because the taxes paid by the business and its employees would be indirectly supporting these immoral acts...

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

The sure way to avoid the dangers.

Money is a product of the government. Anything that money buys, anything that costs money to produce-- it's all connected to the government.

In order to avoid the danger of being connected in any way to the evils present in the system:
live on an island not owned by any such government;
use only non-manufactured goods, tools and technologies (basically home-made and stone-age);
live entirely off of subsistence farming;
no trading for manufactured goods;
no use of cash, checks, credit cards, etc.

bill912

Father, I think you just described the Unibomber(other than the part about the island).

Mary

it would be great if you could check a box to ensure that your tax dollars do NOT go to a certain cause/group/program/etc.

And as long as their tax income from all other sources is not less than the amount they send to that cause/group/program, they're free and clear. The five dollars they don't get from you, they put somewhere else, and take five bucks from someone else's taxes that would have gone there to replace them.

Alfred

To be precise, it doesn't seem that CCC 2243 offers a definitive answer to the tax question, because it specifically deals with armed resistance.

It does seem that there is more of a burden in making wise selections in the marketplace, as the consumer has a choice. The few cents which are donated to Planned Parenthood from your weekly shopping run to Whole Foods certainly constitute very remote cooperation in the evil of abortion, but is not the quality of Whole Foods over Publix also rather small?

What about larger life decisions, such as choice of school or employer? I have read that several American universities, such as Harvard and the University of Wisconsin, have recently begun active stem cell research programs on campus which kill human embryos. Is it morally reprehensible to attend or work for such institutions? Here again, one has many alternatives. Thoughts?

Ned Netterville

Jesus, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but render unto God what is God's.

Inquisitor: "But Jesus, what is God's and what is Caesar's?"

Jesus, "What do the Scriptures say?"

IQ, "Ah, Psalms 24:1 says, "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it."

Jesus, "You have answered well my child."

IQ, "But what then is Caesar's?"

Jesus, "The rest is his."

IQ, "I don't get it."

Jesus, "Neither does Caesar. But don't fell bad, Christian-church scholars have misinterpreted these explicit words of mine for 17 centuries, ever since their church was enthralled by Rome and they began to receive a share in the booty. I told them they could only serve one master, but, nooo, they were loyal, patriotic citizens of the State. Even after their other master turned them into tax slaves they remained loyal subjects. There's just no accounting for the depth of stupidity amoung those who try to serve two masters."

http:www.jesus-on-taxes.com

bill912

Speaking of "depth of stupidity", that was really deep.

Elijah

From the site:

"LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, IT BEFUDDLES THEM!"

So the above must be an example of love because I am a bit befuddled.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31