‘Render Unto Caesar…’


On our small island in the United Kingdom we have just held elections for no less than three national assemblies-  in Wales  Scotland and Northern Ireland. Much as I respect the democratic process I am concerned that the current system of party politics works on the principle of divide and rule rather than bringing people together.

One of the teachings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  which I consider particularly wise in this regard is the advice not to become involved in partisan politics.  For example in ‘Paris Talks’  he says

Politics are occupied with the material things of life. Religious teachers should not invade the realm of politics; they should concern themselves with the spiritual education of the people; they should ever give good counsel to men, trying to serve God and human kind; they should endeavour to awaken spiritual aspiration, and strive to enlarge the understanding and knowledge of humanity, to improve morals, and to increase the love for justice. This is in accordance with the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh. In the Gospel also it is written, ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s’.

Source: http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PT/pt-50.html

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2 thoughts on “‘Render Unto Caesar…’

  1. Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…”, which leaves nothing whatsoever for Caesar. And that is precisely what Jesus meant, which is why the same crowd who tried to “trap him in speech” by asking if they should pay Caesar’s tax could say to Pilate when they dragged Jesus before him and began to accuse him saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar…” Of course Jesus would oppose taxes and counsel resistance, for his Father said, “Thou shall not steal!” God did not absolve agents of the State from His unequivocal commandment. It is impossible to distinguish taxation from extortion, which, I need not tell you, is stealing. If you think Jesus was unconcerned with such “political” things as taxes, do a word search of the word “tax” and you will get 36 or so returns from the three synoptic gospels alone.

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