Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Romans 13
13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

When George W. Bush was in office right wingers liked to pull our Romans 13:13 as a way to tell dissenters to shut-up. Now that a Democrat is in office, they've conveniently forgotten about the verse.

Call me an old fashioned "law-and-order" type, but I think that Rom 13:3-5 says a lot to people on the right wing fringe. There are the Libertarians who want their drugs and the Militia/White Supremacy/2nd Amendment types who cut off any discussion of reasonable and responsible gun regulation with the insistence that the founders "knew we'd need out guns to protect us from government tyranny!"

Look, do you believe the words of Abraham Lincoln or not? If government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people," then you also need to believe the words of a comic strip opossum from the 1950's, Walk Kelly's Pogo who said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

Government in the United States is a tool, that's all. Not a boogie-man. It derives it's just powers from the consent of the governed (that's us). And if you don't like it or disagree with it, if you feel it has become destructive of your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." 

But guess what- we're blessed enough that we don't do that by armed insurrection, we do it at the ballot box, in the media, and by becoming politically active and involved in our communities.

The word "citizen" means someone who participates in government. Civility is respect, no matter how much you distrust or dislike them, is entitled to the same dignity and respect that you expect to be granted. That's called the Golden Rule, do unto others (Luke 6:31).

My contention is that when governors and politicians show disrespect for public workers and union members, police officers, fire and rescue workers, government employees and public school teachers- they are disrespecting all of us. And in a democracy, we the people, not only our elected officials, are the authorities.

Sure, this may be a confusing analogy, but my point it, we must put EVERYONE's best interests ahead of those of party, PAC, and political career. Granted, in this day and age doing so may take courage, but- say, isn't there a book about that? Profiles in Courage. Hmmmm. Seems I remember John McCain talking once about how much he was influenced by John Kennedy's famous book.

I think it may be about time that the likes of Paul Ryan and Scott Walker started reading Profiles in Courage instead of Ayn Rand. Come to think of it, they might want to read some other books too, like Romans, Luke, Matthew...

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