Saturday, November 24, 2007

Coin of the tribute

Some people have a strange emotional fixation, of great psychic import to themselves, where they bind some perceived affront to their belief system, to the core of their souls. Often they conflate the religious and the political. Since their religion and nation is so very important to them, they combine the two.

There are some statements in Scripture, that are very heavily laden in an imperative to act and live in spiritual conformity. Some are glanced right over, others are contorted and blended in a non-Gospel way.
Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny.*
And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this?
They say to him: Caesar's. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's. — Matthew xxii.19-21.

I have not meditated and dwelt enough on this passage. I would think, that, I would further develop and extend my thoughts about it.

Recently, I have been taken aback on how this statement may have reformulated in certain people's minds onto two false dilemmas. One is the religious beliefs of "the framers" of american government, and the other is on the motto "In God we trust" on money.

There are aggressive atheists and secularists who want any and all discussion, attachment and recognition of religion, primarily christian religion, done, if at all, in complete shadow, so that no one else notices its presence. Some of this is done in a provocative and aggressive manner that garners insulted negative approbation on the aggrieved. In some arenas this may play to the grandstands, but not many. This might come into implementation, but only by severe repression, i.e. bolshevism, nazism, military dictatorship cf. Burma, extreme anti-clericism cf. Mexico. And even by implementation it won't hold.

An x number of individuals, who are all christian, may form an organization concerned with growing roses. In this activity they are only accidentally christians, no matter how fervent they may be. An x number of individuals formed, or framed, the government of the United States. Those documents of founding are not religious programmes, they are political documents. Where are there religious appeals?, in fact there is this:
... shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. — Article VI, section 3, Constitution
From: U.S. Treasury - Fact Sheet on the History of "In God We Trust"
The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins
largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing
during the Civil War. ... first such appeal came in a letter dated
November 13, 1861. ... IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on
the 1864 two-cent coin. ... The use of IN GOD WE TRUST has not
been uninterrupted. ...Since 1938, all United States coins bear the
inscription....was first used on paper money in 1957...
From this one can see, that the inclusion of this particular motto, was done by the prompting of a segment of the population urging such an addition. The government was spurred by the sentiment of a people during internecine wartime, people who wanted reassurance of their political survival. And, perhaps, this acknowledgment would be pleasing to God. In this light, it comes close to superstition. After that it became standard and tradition. Now, folding money — 1957. Caesar had his coin, but no banknote. In the political climate of the 1950s, who cannot see that this enaction was part of the cold war?

*a silver denarius
†this is from the Gospel for the 22nd week after Pentecost

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