The collectors of the temple tax approached Peter asking, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes.” Jesus asked, “What is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth tax, from their subjects or from foreigners?” Peter replied, “From foreigners,” Jesus retorted, “The subjects are exempt.”
Thomas Jefferson’s, “He who governs least governs best,” separates liberals from conservatives. The socialist thinks people are by nature bad, so government control is governing the least. The capitalist, the communist, and the anarchist believe people are good and need no government. To argue for less than necessary government is to argue for irresponsibility.
The phrase, “He who governs least governs best,” begs, “The least to do what?” What does governing least mean in practical terms? Without answering the “To do what,” government falls upon the foreigner, those foreign to us. For the rich, the poor need more government. For the poor, it is the rich.
We are not one nation, but two, one black, one white, one enslaved by wealth, one by poverty. To bring this nation back to being one nation we need to define the proper role of government as it relates to life and civil harmony.
Our Declaration of Independence states, “All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Conservatives and Liberals disagree on the definition of life, and the proper role of government, in particular as it relates to our American heritage.
One definition of life states life is blood. Anything with two cells has blood. This definition tells us when life begins. To understand when it ends we need more. We need to know how blood makes life. Dead people still have blood, but it does not flow, it is not vibrant. The Catechism states, “God made us in his image. C.C.C., section 1701.
Deuteronomy 30 relates, “This Mitzvah which I am giving you today is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart… Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” This is one of the 613 Mitzvah of Jewish traditions. How is this Mitzvah? All life is life in potentiality. Either we increase life in all of its potentiality or we decrease it.” Life as potentiality, as lived in the image of God is the definition of life we will use in this debate.
Capitalists believe corporate CEOs, and business owners are by nature good and do not need regulation. Wisconsin has a Congressman who voted, twice, to prevent stockholders from setting top executives’ salaries. This congressman’s party shows by their actions, they believe some men do not need checks and balances, upon their actions.
Catholics believe the writings of John Locke who noted that no man is a fair judge in his own case. That includes the corporate CEO, and our political leaders. St. Augustine, the man in the mural relates, we are all imperfect human beings, born with original sin. People are neither good nor bad; we are a mix of both. Our C.C.C. Section 1882 tells us Catholics believe man is a social animal. Catholics did not used to believe in the Protestant Work ethic or rugged individualism.
The Eucharist is building upon the source, the rock, which is how Jesus finishes the Sermon on the Mount. Conservatives build upon the bottom 50% of the population earning only 19% of all income, the sand. We saw the result with the so-called Reagan economic boom. When the earthquake hit, the sand went into liquefaction and great was the fall of that house.
Solidarity must have a foundation. Cardinal Ratzinger tells us in, “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” “The Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one… Christians can learn from a Jewish exegesis practiced for more than 2000 years.”
In Mark 10, our Gospel reading for just a few weeks ago, Jesus quotes the last six of the Ten Commandments, as he understood them. He combines St. Augustine’s last two. Jesus’ first Mitzvah comes from Deuteronomy 5:1-7, the call to Eucharist. God tells us, as a community, “The Personal Name cut this Social Contract with us, each of us, alive, here, this day… I am God your Almighty Judge who rescued you from the land of Oppression, the house of menial labor” You will remember what it was like to be there, and you will remember your rescue.
Catholics believe in the Physical Presence in the Eucharist, rescuing us, as a community, for the first time, each time, we celebrate the Mass. Deuteronomy 5 begins as an address to the community. God rescues those who struggle with God, as a community. He calls us to love him, as a community. Our heritage means remembering our oppression, in 19th century Europe, as community, and our working in the sweatshops of the early 20th century, as a community.