Thursday afternoon, I was listening to Tuesday’s broadcast of Dr. Albert Mohler‘s radio program via podcast. I like to check out some of his shows because he always has relevant topics, presents his take on it, and interacts with callers and emailers with respect, intellect, and a genuine heart for not only truth but also for energizing people to get more involved in our communities (local and national).
Tuesday’s show focused on whether or not Christians should pay taxes to the government now that President Obama’s health care legislation has passed and the expectation is that, down the line, tax payer dollars will be used to fund abortions. That is a legitimate concern, an important question to deal with. Dr. Mohler took the position that yes we still need to pay taxes, posing as the most fundamental justification for that the command from Jesus that we are to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." Some listeners agreed. Others did not. Feel free to read the article he wrote on the topic on his web site. For now, I want to move forward a bit.
From the emails and calls, I gathered there were more than a few Christians who take an opposing stance: that Christians should not pay taxes because they believe their money will be funding abortions. They do not want to be complicate with what they consider an abhorrent evil.
This got me thinking about the recent video leaked by Wikileaks of US military personnel killing innocent civilians, and doing so with bravado, with joy, with an emphatic carelessness for other human beings created by God in God’s image. I wrote about it earlier.
We know that tax payer funding goes to the military. We know that over 40% (closer to 50%?) of every tax payer dollar goes directly to fund the US military (you can check out some numbers here, here, here, and here; here’s a pdf). So, we know that our tax payer dollars went towards the apache helicopter those men were in, the artillery used to kill the Iraqi men (and wounding the kids), and the salaries and benefits of those men who emphatically desired to open fire on the crowd of men, especially on the one injured who was being placed in a van to get some medical help.
But I have not seen or heard one bit of protest over our tax dollars being used to fund that abject murder. Go back in time a few years and accept that our tax dollars funded the evils of Abu Ghraib. But where is the protest? Where is the Conservative Christian wing of America standing in opposition to this anti-life activity?
Anabaptists have long protested tax funds paying for the military. Not when it was convenient or in vogue, the latest trend. Rejecting the use of the sword (weapons, military, empire, etc) is at the very core of Christ’s teaching, they say. That’s why they have protested for so long. That’s why they can be consistent with what they say and what they do.
But those who call themselves pro-life, protest the federal funding for abortions, and support the war efforts, yet stay silent about the evils found in war like this recent video release of the killings in Baghdad, are being inconsistent in my opinion. The silence speaks volumes.
There may be an objection to what I am saying. The objection could be that the military in general, for the most part, does positive work around the globe. Our tax dollars are funding good, quality activities around the world making it safer for the US, giving other nations better opportunities, and so forth. There will always be some bad apples in the bunch. We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. This case in Baghdad was just one instance of these individuals going rogue. Even if 1 percent of the military does evil like this, having that 99 percent doing good is worth paying the tax dollars to fund it.
But, alas, that is a troublesome idea. The health care plan that was passed will do a lot of good for a lot of people in this country. There are a vast amount of benefits that will reach a large population of the US who could never have had them before. People will finally get a chance to have some medical care. For the sake of consistency, wouldn’t we have to not complain about the money to fund abortions so that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water? In order to be consistent, don’t we have to accept a little percentage of evil so long as the vast majority of the program is doing so much good? (And, when the health care debates were going on, abortion was the number one issue, if not all five of the top five issues, debated; so, can’t really claim abortion wasn’t the problem with the health care plan.)
Am I saying stop protesting federal funding of abortion? No. I’m saying be consistent. If you are going to be vocal about the killing of innocent life, then be consistent and be vocal about all innocent life being killed, which includes the Iraqi men who were gunned down by equipment we know for sure we paid for.