Oh what a funny lot we are. Watching the outrage of offended defenders of the Bible over Jeff Sessions passing mention that the Bible teaches submission to government — I could not help but compare the Christian world’s often heard criticism of the Koran on the basis of the way a minority of Muslims use it to justify inhumane actions.
Muslims are by definition potentially violent because they follow the Koran and the true interpreters of the Koran are those who read it literally in justifying their violence — so the common assertion goes. That’s what the Koran says so that’s what Muslims (really, if secretly) believe, they say. The voices representing the vast majority of Muslims are accordingly shut behind closed doors by the hand of a generally wilful ignorance. Wilful? Whenever a reminder of them or a pointer to them is made the claims are generally trivialized and dismissed as irrelevant.
Now the Bible really does command obedience to government authorities. Christians and governments have known and preached that throughout history. There can be no denying it.
So out come the rationalizations. The reputation of Christian values and its holy book is at stake, after all. So we are now told that one cannot just use such a passage as Romans 13:1-7 “out of context” – like the context of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, for example. One has to be kind to strangers, etc etc etc. Sure. But that doesn’t change the clear direction to submit to government authorities. Christian pacifists have even taught that they must accept punishment and go to prison if they do not submit to the government’s direction to go to war.
Many people refuse to allow such rationalizations by the majority of Muslims for the Koran’s violent passages, however.
Surely the Jeff Sessions remark should wake us up to the absurdity of modern folk having any respect for an ancient text as a guide to living today.
Failing that, one might wish that the followers of one book might see just a little more of themselves in followers of another holy book.
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One thought on “The Jeff Sessions Test for Hypocrisy Concerning Holy Books”
Perhaps reading the following book linked below by Vernard Eller can provide a better understanding of Romans 13:1-7.
Eller cites Ellul concerning Romans 13:1-7 in the following passage.
“As Ellul puts it:
“Render unto Caesar…” in no way divides the exercise of authority into two realms…. [Those words] were said in response to another matter: the payment of taxes, and the coin. The mark on the coin is that of Caesar; it is the mark of his property. Therefore give Caesar this money; it is his. It is not a question of legitimizing taxes! It means that Caesar, having created money, is its master. That’s all. Let us not forget that money, for Jesus, is the domain of Mammon, a satanic domain. (Anarchism, p. 20)
As noted, the above has been only somewhat dependent upon Ellul. When he comes to Romans 13, however; Ellul really shines. The passage, of course, is the first a person normally would go to in order ti rebut our “anarchism” argument. But Ellul won’t let such people have it; he wants it as a key to his argument. His contention is that there is nothing here lending one bit of legitimacy to human arky”