The collusion of church and state, once again, is wreaking havoc on the world. The 2016 U S elections allowed a christian right wing to usurp what was once a democratic system.
Religious leaders in Jesus’ time tried to trap him by questioning his allegiance to politics or religion. Jesus settled the problem of divided loyalty between Roman Law and Jewish religious law. Jesus pointed to the image imprinted on the Roman coin. Caesar had made it perfectly clear what he demanded from the people … paying taxes with the coin that was inscribed with his image. Everything else belonged to God.
Jesus himself would be confused today about loyalties between government and religion. With the inscription “In God We Trust” on all our currency, the distinction between God and the power of money is greatly blurred. Money has become the God in whom we trust. Trusting in money, do we need to trust in God? Today they are one and the same, as inscribed on our currency.
In our day it takes enormous sums of money to elect our leaders, so it seems natural to religious authorities to anoint elected leaders as if chosen by God. By trusting in the Government to provide, we can feel that we are exempt from taking responsibility for our nation’s actions and our own lives. With God’s name inscribed on our currency, God no longer appears to be in the heavens, and all is not right with the world.
This is a time of weak men preaching weak messages in weak churches. What we need more than ever are bold and prophetic cries against this prevailing idolatry of money. It is the only hope for our people, our nation, our world. But who would dare? Like the people of Jesus’ time our loyalties between religion and government are not only confused they are very much fused: Caesar and God have become one and the same. We are rendering to Caesar the things that are God’s and no pharisees have come to put us to the test and question it.