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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Politics of Caesar

posted by on July 17 at 12:34 PM

A new book presents Jesus as a political thinker:

The revolutionary idea finds its most powerful expression in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The familiarity and brevity of the Golden Rule sometimes obscure its radical implications. Unlike the Ten Commandments or various secular codes, it does not list a series of prohibited acts. Instead, it provides a way to think about how to behave toward one’s fellow man.
But against the Golden Rule as a political platform there is Mark 12:17: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Ultimately Jesus rejected politics. His mission on earth was basically spiritual. It’s hard to hide or get around that fact. The same is not true for Muhammad; politics was at the center of his Medina period. (During his earlier Mecca period, Muhammad was more like Jesus—apolitical.)

Christians should just take their founder’s advise and keep God out of politics. As for the Golden Rule, it’s as empty as Kant’s categorical imperative: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

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I'd "advise" you to proofread your pretentious drivel.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 12:41 PM

"...the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Yeah, it's a damn shame the Christians don't have that one anymore.

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 12:44 PM

Caesar was an asshole, but he made a helluva salad.

Actually, Charles, the personal is political, and there is no more important political act than how you treat those around you. There is no conflict at all all with Mark.

Posted by Fnarf | July 17, 2007 12:46 PM

Not sure how you can describe both the golden rule and Kant's categorical imperative as 'empty,' unless as a critique that they mean nothing without the human experience. But what does?

Posted by Nick | July 17, 2007 12:54 PM

open letter to the web admins of

please revoke CM's ability to post to the Slog.

open letter to the powers-that-be at The Stranger:

please give CM some really involved and long assingment so he doesn't have time to post to the Slog.

Posted by ddv | July 17, 2007 1:07 PM

Actually, there are a couple of books by Knight & Lomas that theorize that Jesus was very political. Or maybe it was just one. It's either The Second Messiah or The Hiram Key I can't remember which.

Posted by JessB | July 17, 2007 1:13 PM

"Christians should just take their founder’s advise and keep God out of politics"

Charles, how is that their founder's advice?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 1:17 PM

Jesus' words in the Mark passage were in response to legalistic bastards trying to get him to publicly commit treason. In that context, I interpret his response more along these lines: God doesn't want your money. The government does. Give Caesar what he wants until and/or unless it starts to encroach upon what God wants from you (love God, love your neighbor). This is a tricky way of getting out of the trap with which he was presented... If the questioners honestly believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, creator God, then they will come to their own conclusion: their question is stupid. They are required by such a belief to bring God into every political decision. If they don't, then they are hypocrites AND they are denying God his place in their lives.

Oh that tricky Jesus! Trapping those Pharisees with their own narrow definitions. Maybe even we non-Christians could learn from this and use the Religious Right's narrow and inconsistent definitions to show them up as the hypocrites they often are!! A little forced self-examination goes a long way.

Posted by Katelyn | July 17, 2007 1:26 PM

Chuck, how many angels can fit on Marx's pinhead? Please reply in 1000 words or more. Thank you.

Posted by Big Sven | July 17, 2007 1:26 PM

please follow the golden rule charles, we do not want to read any of your egomaniacal proofs of being an "intelligent black man".

Posted by all of seattle | July 17, 2007 1:34 PM

An "intelligent black man"... Chuck? Well 2 out of 3 isn’t bad (but is generous).

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 17, 2007 1:47 PM

The thing is that the Romans (aka Caesar) were an occupying force, albeit one that was less hell bent on assimilation than the hated Hellenistic Greeks. I wonder what Jesus' position would have been if Judea had been controlled by an indigenous government.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 17, 2007 1:55 PM

I am deeply offended at comment #11.

I would flag it and have it removed if it were up to me.

Racism is not funny or cute.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 2:29 PM

to #13~

i can see how you can read it that way.

i actually read it that the poster @ #11 was merely mocking charles, not the idea that there are intelligent black men out there. i took away that #11 thinks charles is black and a man, but not intelligent. in that regards i'm not sure it is racist, but i could be wrong...

Posted by ddv | July 17, 2007 2:36 PM

I feel slightly dumb for quickly attacking Charles.

Charles has a point, as Jesus never went around protesting Rome, only seemed to go head to head with the Pharisees. He seemed more disgusted with them rather than the Pagans. I'll admit that (Biblically speaking). But it doesn't change the fact that it's still a contradiction in the Word when you take every event and verse into consideration. It's pointless to grab-bag verses and events, since many of them contradict each other. It's also pointless to point out to the Christian community, because they will side step anything with other verses. Their word will be greater than yours, because it is their belief. That is what I should have said at first.

I'll admit I ran after you quickly, Charles. I'll try to stop that.

Someone in this comment thread has no business saying that anything is racist. Guess who?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 2:46 PM

Icky Hobo: my comment @ 11 is not “racist”, and could only be “offensive” to Chuck. (But then offensive is such a value laden label isn’t it? I prefer to believe that Chuck is more liberated then that.)

It is merely a response to the comment @ 10.

I do not debate the possibility (or even probability) of an “intelligent black man”. I assume that many exist. What I do question is applying that label to Chuck. Of its three components, I readily accept that one applies, question, but am willing to concede the applicability of one, and am convinced that one does not.

That is all.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 17, 2007 2:47 PM

Its still racist...

If it were up to me, and had SLOG had the ability to flag comments, I would do it in a heartbeat. It needs to go.

Its racist and lame. I hope it gets deleted.

I am greatly offended by it.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 3:03 PM

Gosh Ecce, I seem to remember someone saying something long winded about hate speech and banning people on another thread:

As for "Hate speech", what is the definition? Who gets to define it? Is someone saying something I find offensive engaging in hate speech? Is it the use of certain words or the publishing of stereotypes? Would these count if the context is ironic or would it be a blanket prohibition? Who would become the comment police? Would they have the power to just delete what they find to be annoying posts?

If the community flags and deletes posts, what happens then is that unpopular speech just gets deleted. I personally believe that unpopular speech is what does our society good. In fact, the problem with todays society is that there is this notion that its everyone's divine right to never be offended. Well excuse me if I call bullshit on that.

You may not like me, but I am who I am. I get insulted here on a daily basis. Oh well. I just think its bs to delete one members posts even if they deal with the topic at hand.

Could someone explain to me now who it's ok to insult and who its okay not to insult? Because near as I can tell, the Stranger itself couldn't adhere to a policy on SLOG or in print that are being discussed here.

Now I remember... IT WAS YOU

Try not to contradict yourself next time YOU FUCKING TROLL.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | July 17, 2007 3:21 PM

Smell that UB?

Its called sarcasm, I don't think the cure for hate speech is censorship. The cure is more speech.

Get the point? Man, not only are some of the posters on SLOG obnoxious, but they aren't that bright either.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 3:24 PM

Someone in this comment thread has no business saying that anything is obnoxious. Guess who?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 3:33 PM


Poe you're an idiot. You claim to hate the bible and dnot believe in god, and now you're here thinking you know what you're talking about by siding with chaz in apologies for being a jerk to him constantly without thinking, only to continue saying you were still right. Letting the pagans be pagans but going after the pharisees is not a contradiction. No wonder you hate religion so much you don't understand it.

You're a lot like Ecce homo, you know?

Posted by kevin yau | July 17, 2007 4:37 PM

i thought there wasnt much in the world that wasnt political or economic in action. right charles?

how can you say that on the one hand christians should back the fuck up outta politics, but then say there is no human action that isn't political or economic in nature.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 17, 2007 4:37 PM


Kevin, you're the idiot. I had to read your reply a good three times to understand what the fuck you were trying to say. First off, I never said that 'letting the pagans be pagans but going after the pharisees' is a contradiction. You pulled that right out of your ass. I mentioned that it is pointless to grab single events/verses from the Bible and use them to your opinions advantage: because a lot of the times there is a contradicting event/verse. Moron.

Come to think of it, where the fuck did you pull that shit out of your ass? It's so incredibly random. Is your vagina bleeding from something I've said in the past? The Pharisees claimed to know God and speak for Him, yet Jesus said they were "blind guides and hypocrites" who didn't obey the law, nor did they lift one fucking finger to help others who wanted to obey and follow God. That's why he went head to head with them. Are you even reading these posts/comments? Do you know what you're talking about? They referred to anyone who didn't see things the way that they did was having a curse on them. Jesus saw the people as sheep without a shepherd because the religious leaders didn't want to "soil" themselves by slumming with those beneath them. But they imposed a huge tax burden on them, they had no problem taking their money. Moron.

As for hating the Bible and not believing in God, so what?! So I can't possibly know anything about the Bible because of my disdain for it? I happen to come from a very religious family, like most atheists. Being forced to read the Bible every night, attend Church, and swallow his holy load every Sunday made me hate the Bible. Moron.

In conclusion, you fucking moron (moron! moron! moron!), explain to me how the fuck I am anything like E**e? I'll make this easy for you. You can choose any number of ways that we behave alike. You do not have to make up for saying it blindly in your comment, since that might be a bit of a struggle for you. Moron.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 5:01 PM

I know your just too cool and smart to believe in God poe, but you can believe in me.

I would take that last comment about being like me as a compliment.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 5:40 PM

Lol Ecce, it's you+are = you're

"your too cool"

Posted by TallSquirrel | July 17, 2007 5:52 PM

Kevin? Kevin? Earth to Kevin?

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 5:54 PM

God I love Slog.

Posted by Justinius | July 18, 2007 12:44 AM

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