Friday, March 29, 2013

Paul of the Bible was a Believer-In-Government Kinda Guy

Do you remember that whole "birth-control" thing that gripped the news as the Obama Administration was attempting to assert that Catholic employers had to supply birth control?  I remember this story a fair bit because I was thinking to myself, "What about persons who are not Catholic?"  So, I remember the statements about government that Paul made throughout the New Testament, and decided to invoke them to make a point.

Here's my discussion about "The Church" issue. Jesus said in Matt 22:15-22 (paraphrased), when talking to the Pharisees, they questioned him "Teacher, how do you feel about paying taxes to Caesar?" and sensing their hypocrisy, he responded, "Who's face is on the denaris?" They answered "Caesar's." Then he replied "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, render unto God, that which is God's." They were amazed and left him.

The point of that story is that Christ understood also, that religious and temporal authorities cannot be so intertwined that "spiritual authority" is the dispenser of civil authority. So in that context, the individual is responsible for his or her morality. The Church itself has an obligation to follow the temporal law as it's written while imparting the values of "The Church" to it's believers, but leaving the believers to stumble, fall, and ultimately learn.

Romans 13 (New Living Translation)

1 Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. 4 The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due. 8 Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law.

So the Church's assertion that they don't have to follow the law even if it conflicts with their "doctrine" is itself an invalid argument. As Paul plainly said, follow the law as it is God's law, and no where in the Old OR New testament is there ANY reference to contraception. Just one single reference in the old testament about God striking down someone for pulling out of a woman and letting his seed spill on the ground which is also the SOLE basis of the stance against contraception.  That circumstance is not within the context of any Levitical law. It was a specific, unique circumstance that occurred one time.  It is a Cherry-picked verse, and the Catholic Church should reconsider it's position on this issue.  The Church is not responsible for policing the acts of it's members OR it's NON-BELIEVING employees it employs. In that very nature, that is authoritarianism to it's extreme, and forcing a doctrinal belief on those who are not a practicing member of the faith and that is VERY immoral by far. Pay what the government says to pay, but let them decide to use it or not. Because the sin of an action is ultimately the individual's decision and the consequences are theirs to bear alone.

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