Sin and Taxes

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Thomas Jefferson

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Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

One of the first things people used to see when they emigrated to these United States of America for decades was the gleaming statue in New York Harbor.  What most people saw was the start of the new life.  They were close to the truth, and millions of men and women have looked on that statue and been reminded of the costs of liberty and the responsibility we all share to ensure that it never dies from this Earth again.

It never will.  That statue welcomed those immigrants in days past as a beacon of hope at the end of a long journey.  Read that inscription again, but instead of Lady Liberty saying it… imagine them as the words of Christ.  In fact, He often said much the same things…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

Usurpation

“…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty…”

Those words were penned by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, nearly two-hundred and fifty years ago.

Today, according to The Hill, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) will introduce a new assault weapons ban bill.

I didn’t need to read much before I balked.

The bill will exempt firearms used for hunting and will grandfather in guns and magazines owned before the law’s potential enactment. However, the grandfathered weapons will be logged in a national registry.

Registration inevitably precedes confiscation.

Ready to cross that Rubicon Senator?

Declare

If you read this blog, you are familiar, at least on a passing level, of the text of the Declaration of Independence.  You are also likely familiar with history as it progressed from that point until now.  I have written about the God-given rights espoused in that inspired document (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), but I elected at that time not to dive into the “injuries and usurpations” part of the Declaration for a variety of reasons.  I have been forced to rethink my own rationale for not tackling that subject in the past.  I find myself compelled to write about the need to live a Christlike life, and yet I shrink from this confrontation because of how murky it can get as we muddle away from unconditional truth into areas made much more murky by politics and the less-than-unbiased lens of personal opinion.

I have been pushed over the edge though.  There comes a time when you have to call a spade a spade, point at the hypocrites and call them out on the mat, or label and define the usurpations and injuries.  For example, modern-day examples of just such violations abound:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. (Refusal to enforce Congressionally-passed federal law).

He (and His administration) has obstructed the Administration of Justice (New Black Panther Party Voter Intimidation Case).

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. (Unconfirmed “Czars” under the Obama Administration: 33 of 38 appointed)

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent. (Illegal taxes being levied by Presidential directive)

Will enough eyes and minds be opened and realize these affronts to our founding?  I do not know.

Will people recall that the underpinnings of our founding were not intrusions and oppressions foisted on the American people by a foreign power, but by those that they called their own countrymen?  Our history is replete with people recalling the greater of those past abuses and examples of tyranny, but few recall that while the British people and ourselves are different now, back then, we were all British (or Englishmen as it we would have been labeled at the time).

What I do know is that the spirit of independence will not go out quietly… not everywhere.  Darkness can drop on all of the world and yet the light of Truth will shine like a beacon in the darkness.  The American spirit that binds us as countrymen, the one shared by patriots from Maine to California, from Minnesota to Texas, will not be extinguished by one man, ten men, or ten million men.  Liberty will endure because it is from God, not men.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

It’s not that liberty is the easiest thing in the world to master.  In fact, I would even assert that liberty itself directly opposes any attempt to impose a master, whether one man or a body of legislators and therein lies the deepest foundation of many of the political divisions that split our country.

Happy Thanksgiving

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

Thomas Jefferson

Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
    Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
    It will last for all time to come.

Psalm 100:4-5

The Mob

Much will be made in the coming few months of the will of the majority.  (Expect much hay to be made about the Electoral College and the popular vote if Romney takes the most Electoral College votes, but comes away on the short side popularly).

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?  For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

Saint Augustine

In Morality, I wrote about moral populism.  I described it as mob rule at it’s core.  Now imagine moral populists taking the reigns of government and enacting laws based on the mindset of “majority rules.”  I went on to explain how the majority’s will does not make anything good, or morally right, it just makes it popular.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
   and clever in their own sight.

Isaiah 5:20-21

As Christians, what should our stand be when faced with an unjust law?  Should we tolerate it as mere temporal folly?  Should we not speak up about the law if it does not effect us?

If society deems evil to be good, should we do nothing?  How much evil should be tolerated regardless of how popular?  Where do you draw the line?  If the culture deems evil to be acceptable and normal, how should we act?

Darkness looms and doubts seed your thoughts:

“What can you, a single person, do against the will of the mob?”

“We live in a democracy and it is the will of the majority.”

It even calls scripture to mind when it tries to force evil down your throat in the form of an unjust law by quoting scripture.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13: 1-2

Despite the doubts, despite the popularity of whatever law, there are some that are unjust at their core.  These laws would have you sacrifice your core beliefs, your principles, and ultimately force you stand and choose between obedience to Christ or obedience to men.  I pray that all Christians have the resoluteness to stand together and say “ENOUGH.  We will not bend.”

Let the world threaten you with fines, penalties, ridicule, and shame.  They will drag you through the mud and try to convince you of how wrong and regressive you are.  They will try to minimize you with their attacks, but each one that you resist successfully will strengthen you against them.   They may even try to imprison you.  They may even try to kill you.

Regardless of how common the beliefs are, the goodness of God is founded in pure righteousness and if the fight you find yourself in is one where you are rooted in the righteousness of God and His Word, then you will win the day.  They may destroy your earthly body, but in the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, “If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can imagine.”

Stand against the mob and tell them “No. You move.”

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God… Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Romans 12: 2, 9

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:19-20

Friendship with the world is enmity to God.

James 4:4

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1: 5

If sinners entice you, do not consent.

Proverbs 1:10

There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:1-4

Will you follow the unjust for the sake of keeping the peace on Earth?

Just because the majority wills something does not make it right or just.  To paraphrase St. Augustine, an unjust law is no law at all. I answer to the One above it all, not to men.

The mob can rule itself.

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