Caesar is Not Lord

Caesar is Not Lord October 8, 2012

Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.

No polity that disregards those two truths is worthy of a free Christian’s allegiance.

Fortunately our Founders created a system where I can acknowledge Christ’s lordship without excluded most Americans. They knew rights came from Nature and the Creator and not from the state.

When the Pledge of Allegiance was modified in the middle of the twentieth century to add “under God,” it was in the face of secularist regime that demanded total allegiance.

The Eisenhower era made clear: nobody pledges absolute allegiance to a flag or nation. Millions all over the world died in rightist and leftist regimes that saw all rights as coming from the state and a change in the American pledge mattered in those dark days.

America cannot demand my absolute obedience.

I love my country, but I love life, liberty, and God more. When my country condones limits to liberty, as it did with slavery, or life, as it does with legal abortion, then Christians must dissent from the establishment.

A Christian never puts his final faith in Democratic or Republican princes.

Vital for this dissent to work is a small government. Why? As the government gets involved in more of life somebody’s values must predominate. There are no “neutral” secular values, since science can only taught citizens what “is” and not what “ought to be.”

I am a small-government conservative, because I want to be tolerant of my neighbor’s values. The Christian majority knows the danger of tyranny. The power we use today may be used against us tomorrow. We must protect life, liberty, and human flourishing, including strong families, but must be wary about how we do so.

Religious fanatics see persecution too readily. They shout “antichrist” in a crowded polity when there is no evidence of harm being done.

The Obama administration changed everything, however, with the mandates in the health care act. My own University felt compelled to sue the government rather than fund abortion. As a historically Baptist school, HBU has worked with Democrats (such as Lloyd Benson and Barbara Jordan) and Republicans (including both Bush presidents) and is very sensitive to church-state separation.

This mandate goes too far and the Obama administration has refused real compromise. All Christians favor universal health-care, but most American Christians fear government providing too much of this health-care because of the numerous moral decisions that will be involved.

If Obama-care stands, we will be forced to fill the panels and decision making bodies in moral self-defense or risk abrogating these roles to the secular minority. And yet outside of very few issues, such as protecting unborn life, we do not wish to impose our values on our secular neighbors.

Obama-care in the hands of the religious majority would betray the ability of the secular minority to practice their secularism freely. We would avoid this if we could. Better is the present system with a combination of public and private hospitals, many religious, and insurance plans, some religious, allowing for diversity of thought and practice.

Mr. Romney wants to increase coverage, but not at the cost of religious liberty. For this reason, this election has gained great importance for those of us who value conscience before Caesar’s mandates and for those who value tolerance.

Mr. Obama has refused to listen and so Mr. Romney will get many Christian votes he might not have received normally. Liberty and tolerance, Christian civic virtues, mandates our vote.

Jesus is Lord.

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