Not rendering unto Caesar

Russell Moore on the City of Houston's subpoena of anti-gay sermons:
Every authority, under God, is limited. Daniel is obedient to King Nebuchadnezzar, until the king decreed the way prayers should be offered. Peter and John are obedient to the authorities, until they are told how to preach, in which case they defy this authority (Acts 4:19-20).
Moreover, the issue is even clearer when we recognize that the City of Houston, and beyond that the broader American governing system, is, unlike in the case of Caesar, not the rule of one man (or one woman). There were all sorts of governing officials up and down the chain in the Roman Empire, but the ultimate accountability was Caesar himself. In our system of government, the ultimate “king” is the people. As citizens, we bear responsibility for electing officials, for speaking to laws that are made in our name, and for setting precedents by our actions. Shrugging this off is not the equivalent of Jesus standing silently before Pilate. It’s the equivalent of Pilate washing his hands, so as not to bear accountability for our own decisions and precedents set.
How would people react to a subpoena of Reverend Wright's sermons?


Ymar Sakar said...

Who would dare speak heresy against the Messiah's mentor, the Holy Reverend?

Grim said...

As I told Dad29 when he posted about this, the right response is: "All our sermons are open to the public. If you came to church more often, you'd know exactly what we talk about."

MikeD said...

This is NOT a matter of rendering unto Caesar. Caesar (in this case) is expressly forbidden from chilling the free expression of ideas by a higher authority (the Constitution) and is not allowed to attempt to squash disagreement with their wishes. And while the service was indeed open to the public, I do not for an instant believe that is the same thing as a matter of public record. What individuals say, even in public, is open to governmental scrutiny unless there is an allegation of lawbreaking (i.e. incitement to riot, etc). And for all those who are claiming "well if they are speaking on political matters that makes them fair game because they get tax exemptions", then I would direct those people to IRS regulations which simply forbid a church or religious institution from telling congregants who to vote for.

tl;dr this isn't Caesar's to ask. So Caesar's not due anything in this case.