Monday, April 05, 2010

Render unto Obama even if it pays for abortion?

Albert Mohler responds to a question that is sure to come up with the passing of "Obamacare". Titled Render Unto Caesar? On Paying Taxes After Obamacare, Dr. Mohler asks a very vital question: Is it right for Christians to pay taxes into a system that will fund abortions? This is a very valid question because only a fool thinks that a meaningless executive order is going to stop the inevitable: tax-payer funded abortions. Dr. Mohler rightly answers this question “yes”. Trusting in a sovereign God means that we recognize His hand at work in the governments that rule over us. Whether that is what we would choose is not really the point.

Abortion is a moral catastrophe. The murder of the unborn is one of the greatest sins any society can tolerate, much less subsidize by taxation. The impact of the new “Obamacare” health care legislation is not yet fully clear, but the legislation lacks any adequate protection for the unborn. Immorality is added to immorality when the power of the government to tax and confiscate the funds of citizens is involved in such a catastrophe.

For this reason, Christian citizens should be involved at every level in the political process, seeking to use legitimate means to establish full protection for the unborn and for all other vulnerable persons. Elections have consequences, and this new legislation is a reminder of the power of government to do both good and evil.

But to refuse to pay taxes is to deny the legitimacy of the government itself, and to declare it beyond political remedy. Even to Christians suffering under the repressive, murderous, and dictatorial yoke of Rome, Jesus instructed the payment of taxes. Caesar, Christ knew, will one day face the judgment of Almighty God. Rome would one day be brought under his own feet and made subject to him.

We do not “render unto Caesar” because of our confidence in Caesar. We render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, because we are committed with our lives and confidence and consciences to render unto God that which is God’s.

The same question could be asked of paying taxes that support a military and thereby takes life. It was an issue for the Anabaptists back in the day when there were separate “war taxes” and the question of paying them caused all sort of trouble. It is a question that unfortunately doesn’t garner the same attention among Christians, many of whom seem perfectly fine with funding war while at the same time being vehemently opposed to funding abortion. Not the same thing? I beg to differ. I hold that an unborn child is every bit as much a human being as a full grown adult. The converse is also true, an adult is as much a human being created in the image of God as an unborn child. Both are sinners and as such both the unborn child and the adult are in need of Christ. It is disingenuous to say that it is OK to wage war but to oppose abortion and falls into the same trap as the pro-abortion left by devaluing a human life based on age and development. So as a Christian we should “render unto Caesar” whether those taxes fund abortion or war, confident that God is in full control.

Now when it comes to personal participation, that is a different issue. I would feel perfectly justified in not participating in abortion directly. I would likewise refuse to take up arms even under penalty of imprisonment or death. I recognize the government as ordained of God and that the government has a legitimate right to use the sword. I do not see the recognition of that right as a requirement on my behalf to kill or die for a secular nation. This is where pacifism and non-resistance part ways. War is tragic and often unnecessary squabbling over borders and resources but it is an unpleasant reality of the fall. Pacifism seeks to abolish war, an understandable but futile goal. Non-resistance recognizes that while war will exist and may even play a part of God’s grand plan, Christians are forbidden from taking up arms to kill another, preferring instead to live under persecution and even martyrdom for our faith as God wills it. I would rather die at the hands of an unbeliever than kill that unbeliever to save my own life. Human life is precious, whether in the womb or in a foreign city. The heathen and pagan will war with one another and lives will be lost but we who are redeemed from spiritual death by God have no business dealing physical death to others.

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Edwin said...

Arthur, I understand where you're coming from, though I disagree that Christians (as you seem to imply...though I may be misunderstanding you) should not take up arms in war.

But just to you think it consistent with Christianity for a man to be a police officer and thereby perhaps have to shoot a criminal?

Arthur Sido said...

Edwin, I would hold that it is inconsistent for a Christian to be occupied in a way that bears the possibility of taking the life of another human being as part of the job, which would include soldiers and police officers. I don't see that we are called to dispense or be instruments of justice but instead to trust God in all things.

Edwin said...


That is radical indeed.

Just so I understand your position, you hold that there is never any instance where a Christian is permitted per the scriptures to take another's life in either self or other defense?

If you have defended this before on your blog, could you point me to where? If not, could you defend it biblically here?

Arthur Sido said...


I did a series on this topic a few months ago. You can start out here:

That is the conclusion but it links to the whole series at the beginning. I am not sure how radical it is Biblically or even historically but it certainly is in modern Western evangelicalism.