As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.
The Imperial Tax
Acts of Conscience:
Christian Nonviolence and
Modern American Democracy
Paying tribute to the Roman Emperor was not voluntary, but necessary for survival under occupation. It violated the conscience of believers because the coins contained blasphemous inscriptions, a reminder of the gods imposed upon them by the Romans. Some revolutionaries refused to pay Roman taxes and died as a result of their rebellion. So when Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:17 whether or not it was right to pay taxes, he was being asked a larger question of conscience that believers face today. How far do we cooperate with the oppressive rulers of this world? How much ought we cooperate with corporate overlords who demand corrupt practices on the job? Is paying tribute to Caesar metaphorical for the extent that we who are called to love the world, are to be in the world, but not of the world?