Mailvox: give to Caesar

JB wonders when it applies:

Not sure if you’ve run into this, but I’ve noticed a pattern when debating a liberal (Christian or not) about taxes and big government. When they get to the point where they have lost the argument, they throw a grenade with the statement, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”.

Now, I’m not one to take the words of Christ lightly. It is true, Jesus did not go out of His way to incite rebellion against Rome, and seemed to endorse the concept of taxation with that statement. However, something doesn’t sit right with the liberal’s logic when they resort to that statement.

I wonder if you or the Ilk have a solid response to the Render Unto Caesar argument.

I usually run into this with regards to taxes. My response is always the same as the response that preceded the advice. “Show me the coin used for paying the tax. Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” In other words, show me Caesar! So, while you can reasonably use this verse to justify writing a check to assorted dead men or the Federal Reserve, it is a poor argument in support of state or Federal taxation.

Now, it is important to note that it is not any wiser to refuse to pay the tax money demanded by the IRS than it is to refuse to pay the protection money demanded by the Mafia. But it does mean that the Biblical justification doesn’t apply.

As for government, the liberal Christian’s logic breaks down because what applies to a divine Emperor manifestly does not apply to a democracy, not even a constitutional republic in which the democracy is strictly limited. Whereas the imperial subject owes the Emperor nothing but obedience, the citizen of the republic has a duty to ensure that his duly elected government acts legitimately according to the bounds of the republic’s constitution.