Guest Opinion: Render Unto Caesar: Are Catholics Required To Pay for Abortion?
John Paul II could not have been clearer in Evangelium Vitae: Abortion is murder, and civil disobedience through tax protest may be an option.
Pictured: Randall Terry, Long Time Leader in the Human Rights Movement to defend our first neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, children in the womb.
Some well meaning souls have already - perhaps without much thought - repeated our Lord's oft quoted statement: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's."
The simple question is this: does this statement of our Lord apply in a situation like the present? If we know that Caesar is going to use the money to kill our neighbor - one of God's children - are we required, by God Himself, to give the money to our political leaders?
I think the answer is self-evidently, "No!"
The words of our beloved late Pope, John Paul II, make clear that absolute obediance belongs to God alone, and that we have the right and perhaps duty to resist the government - "Caesar" - when the government wants us to participate in the killing of the innocent.
I believe the words of Evangelium Vitae open a wide door of ways and means to peacefully oppose the current effort of some to force us to participate - with our tax money - in the slaughter of the innocent. One option might include the refusal to pay taxes.
I pray the words of Evangelium Vitae give us clarity, guidance and wisdom equal to this troubling hour.
John Paul II - from the Chair of St. Peter - declared that abortion is murder:
"The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder… Evangelium Vitae"(58)
He also made clear that the democratic process in no way can legitimize a crime against humanity, such as abortion:
"When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a "tyrannical" decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? Democracy cannot be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality." (70)
He then made several direct comments about civil disobedience in reference to child-killing by abortion, some of which I now quote:
"Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law."(72)
"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men"(Acts 5:29)…"(73)
"…It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10)." (73)
"In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".(98,73)
"The passing of unjust laws often raises difficult problems of conscience for morally upright people with regard to the issue of cooperation, since they have a right to demand not to be forced to take part in morally evil actions."(74)
John Paul II's words could hardly be more forceful. Perhaps the most compelling declaration of our late Holy Father concerning our duty to refuse to cooperate with the murder of the innocent is this:
"Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God's law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Evangelium Vitae," (74)
I submit that these words - spoken by the Vicar of Christ - make it crystal clear that the "render unto Caesar" principle cannot be invoked here. We have a duty - at many levels and in many ways - to refuse to cooperate in paying for our neighbors murder.
Friend, I know that these are troubling times, that require much prayer...but they also require courageous action. May God give us the wisdom and strength equal to this crisis to do everything we can to stop this juggernaut from the culture of death. May we find our solace and valor in the words of The Gospel of Life, and then herald and live those words with all our might.
(To learn more what you can do, go to www.OverturnRoe.com)
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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