Thursday, December 3, 2009

When our responsibility to God conflicts with what Caesar commands

There are encouraging statistics that show more Americans are identifying themselves as "pro-life." Nevertheless, Roe V. Wade is still the law of the land and this to our shame. For years there has been broad agreement in congress that tax payers should not be expected to pay for abortions (the Hyde Amendment). But that uneasy truce may come to an end before too long. Under the guise of "health care reform" pro-abortion politicians are seeking to make use of tax payer funds to pay for abortions. The Stupak Amendment seeks to keep that from happening. However, both Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have expressed their intentions to keep such restrictions out of an eventual health care bill.

If the health care bill that pro-abortion politicians desire to have becomes law Christian tax payers will be required to violate their conscience. What then? I don't like political crusades. Christians must understand the difference between the city of man and the city of God (Augustine). We are not seeking to make America "a Christian nation" or bring about God's kingdom through political means. However when it comes to state sponsored violation of God's law (abortion) then Christians must be very careful to not participate in or give tacit approval of such evil. If the state requires tax payers to pay for abortions then Christians will have to face the possibility of civil disobedience.

National Review Online has an interesting interview with Robert George of Princeton University concerning civil disobedience. Check it out

We believe in law and the rule of law. We recognize an obligation to comply with laws, whether we like them or not. That obligation is defensible, however. Gravely unjust laws, and especially laws that seek to compel people to do things that are unjust, do not bind in conscience. Certainly, one must never perform a gravely unjust act, even when “following orders” or compelled by law. Christians believe — and they are far from alone in this — that one must be prepared to pay a price, sometimes a very high price indeed, for refusing to do what one’s conscience tells one is wrong. Socrates, as presented by his disciple Plato, stunned his interlocutors by saying that if one is faced with the options of doing a wrong or suffering one, it is better to suffer a wrong. That’s the teaching of Christianity, too. So if legislation is enacted that compels obstetricians and gynecologists to participate in abortions or refer for them, Christians and other pro-life men and women who practice in those fields of medicine will find themselves faced with the options of doing what they judge in conscience to be gravely unjust or abandoning their careers. Their obligation will be to abandon their careers. By the same token, if legislation is enacted to compel Catholic hospitals and clinics, for example, to provide abortion
services or refer for abortions, those institutions could face the options of doing what the Church teaches is profoundly wrong or going out of business. Their obligation will be to go out of business. Of course, this would be a tragedy, especially since these institutions do such wonderful work in providing health care to the poor. But the legal imposition will leave them no choice.

- Robert George


Harley A. said...

One problem in this case is that Caesar contradicts himself. Every state in the union as well as the federal gov’t says that we cannot kill another person except in self-defense. Our constitution also says that one of our core principles is not to deny another citizen the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our judiciary has violated both of those in Roe v. Wade – the decision handed down by the highest court in the land was both illegal and unconstitutional.

So, if I refuse to offer abortions in my hospital when Caesar tells me I must, am I violating the laws of the land? I submit that I am not. I submit that Caesar is violating the law – not me.

My conscience is clear…

Todd Pruitt said...


Clearly, Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional and wicked. But unfortunately some of the men and women who right, enforce, and interpret our laws are fools and therefore they either do not see or they do not care about the inherent contraditions between abortion and the rule of law.

Harley A. said...

For sure. I'm afraid there will come a day when men and women will be brought up on charges for this issue if the tide is not turned.