Monday, September 10, 2012

"Render ... unto Caesar..."

Here's a familiar passage (choose your translation):

"Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, [ye] hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose [is] this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

This little exchange has been the genesis (pun intended) of a lot of Christian statism. For no good reason.

I would say that all this means is "don't steal". Render unto "Caesar"... Let's get rid of the name Caesar. Perhaps then we can see it more clearly. Render unto "Bob" that which belongs to Bob. Don't claim Bob's stuff as your own, and if you are in possession of Bob's stuff, give it back to him. I don't think it means you have to give Bob anything of yours that he did not earn in a completely voluntary fashion.

Does your money belong to Caesar- or in current terms, The State- just because The State says it does? Ridiculous! Only those things which are the rightful property of The State need to be handed over to The State.

What does The State rightfully own? You? Your life? The fruits of your labor? NO! The State, every State, possesses nothing it did not steal or "buy" with stolen (including counterfeited) money.

Render unto Caesar, or Bob, whatever you want to, including whatever you feel you must to avoid being murdered by him, but don't ever feel guilty for keeping what is yours. And never again use this passage as justification for "taxation" or a State.