Ephesians 4:14 Good News Translation (GNT)
14 Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.
This post is about one of the consequences of believing in pacifism. The belief in pacifism serves as one of the major distinctions between Christians. Pacifists generally believe that all violence is wrong. Others believe that violence is appropriate in self-defense and in the defense of others. I believe self-defense is appropriate, and here are a couple posts that explain my stance.
What this post is about is relationship between pacifists and government. Logically, pacifists should not believe that government is compatible with pacifism. Why? The power of government rests upon force and the threat to use force. Consider this definition from Investopedia.
Definition of ‘Tax Evasion’
An illegal practice where a person, organization or corporation intentionally avoids paying his/her/its true tax liability. Those caught evading taxes are generally subject to criminal charges and substantial penalties.
A tax evasion/fraud conviction can result in penalties such as fines, incarceration, and asset forfeiture. (from here)
Generally, because our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people (paraphrasing President Abraham Lincoln), we do not equate government with force. Nonetheless, even our government would cease to exist if it did not have the ability to exert force against the recalcitrant. The Whiskey Rebellion, put down by our first president, George Washington, exemplifies that fact. To put down the Whiskey Rebellion, a tax protest resulting from a new tax on distilled spirits, required Washington to once again lead American troops in the field. Ironically, the force of 12,000 men Washington led to put down the Whiskey Rebellion was as about as large as any he had led during the American Revolution.
So why would pacifists, people who do not believe in violence, want anything to do with an organization that exists solely because of its capacity to exert violence? The answer, I think, lies in how some people define charity. Because they want to help others, some pacifists rationalize that it is okay to force other people to participate in government wealth redistribution schemes. Apparently, the logic involved just depends upon presentation. Want an example? Read President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address (2013). Consider some key phrases.
- It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country….
- It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few….
Obama promises success for everyone. How can the leader of a limited government guarantee everyone success? He cannot, but he can make lots of people feel dependent upon the government, and he can scare us and make us feel like victims.
- But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful.
Obama can use our fears to make us gloat at the prospect of soaking the hateful rich. Gloating is an appropriate activity for pacifists, right?
Consider this doozy.
We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.
For how many years have politicians been breaking their promises? When our Democrat-run Senate has not even produced a budget in four years, we are suppose to trust Obama to balance the budget? And yet even pacifists — people who would never hurt anyone – would have us trust, whether we like it or not, deceitful politicians with the quality of our health care and the security of our retirement?
Anyway, this post is not about Obama. I have no real interest in completely dissecting his lying speech. This post is about the teaching of deceitful people, and it is about self-deceit. Too many of us have been taught that if government can do something bad, like force us to fight in a war, then it is okay to use government to force other people to give their money to the “poor.” That is, we have been taught two wrongs make a right. Stated plainly, that teaching does not make sense; it also does not work. That’s because dishonest politicians never rob either from their own pocketbooks or the pocketbooks of their wealthy benefactors. What they do is take a cut of the wealth they “redistribute.”
So are pacifists bad people? It is not my place to judge. I just think pacifism a mistaken belief. Unfortunately, we all maintain some foolish beliefs. As imperfect human beings, we each have to choose what we want to believe is true. Otherwise, when the time comes to make important choices, we will not have a foundation upon which to base those choices.
For Christians, the Bible serves as the foundation of that which we call Truth. Yet even though it is God’s word, not even the Bible contains all the answers; it contains only the answers we need. To gain access even to those answers, we must study, but being human we do not interpret the Bible the same way. Often, our beliefs about the Bible differ enough to create schisms between us. Thus, we have separated into different denominations and sects. And so it is that some Christians are pacifists.