During the less than civil discourse going on in Washington these days, several descriptive words have surfaced and are being used with malice against a growing and determined segment of congress.
Anarchist – One who rebels against authority, established order, or ruling power that is in opposition to his belief system. One who uses violent means to overthrow the established order.
Arsonist – One who maliciously or fraudulently burns property.
Extremist – One who advocates extreme political measures or radicalism intended to make extreme changes in existing views or institutions.
Terrorist – One who performs acts of extreme violence to incite intense fear as a means of coercion.
Extortionist – One who obtains by force, deceitful stratagem, intimidation, undue or illegal power. (from the base, torture)
Alarmist – One who strikes with fear, or the unwarranted exciting of fears or warning of danger.
Hostage Taker – One who holds another against their will, as a prisoner in a conflict and pledges that promises will be kept or terms met by the other party. A hostage is one involuntarily controlled. The term ransom represents the consideration paid or demanded for the redemption of a captured person.
Therefore, according to contemporary political rhetoric, anarchist + arsonist + extremist + terrorist + extortionist + alarmist + hostage taker = Tea Party Member.
There is little question that the ‘Tea Party’ is hated by those on the other side of the political aisle.
One of the primary reasons for the hatred is that the Tea Party believes in smaller government, i.e. less government intervention in personal affairs which in turn would require less tax revenue to support.
When a country’s spending exceeds revenues collected deficit spending occurs. In turn deficit spending requires borrowing from other nations. According to the Bible, part of the curse for disobeying God’s laws is to be degraded to a borrowing nation.
It is not surprising that one name not as yet attributed to the Tea Party is ‘publican’. In Jesus’ day the publican was a tax collector for the Roman government.
It is not surprising that publicans were hated and called extortionists because they could collect over and above that which was needed to fund the Roman government. The publican could then keep for themselves that which they could extort from Jewish subjects above that required by Rome.
Recall that the role of government illustrated in the Bible was solely for the purposes of maintaining law and order and citizen protection by funding a military force. For those limited purposes taxes were rightfully accessed and collected.
The Bible records the story of one such publican who saw the light and changed his way.
“Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd…So he ran ahead and climbed up onto a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’. So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully…Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold’. And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house’…” Luke 19:2-9
So Zacchaeus saw the error of his way and repented, i.e. changed his outlook and vowed to do that which was right and acceptable. He in fact was willing to restore fourfold any money extorted. Jesus recognized and acknowledged Zacchaeus’ changed heart and proclaimed salvation for him and his house.
Therefore, does logic suggest that former publicans, who previously extorted excess taxes beyond that needed to support the Biblical description of government, after seeing the error of their ways, find favor with God?
In other words, are repentant, redeemed, and renewed publicans now called re-publicans? You decide.
Remember a must read for all Christians and concerned American citizens: ‘The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent’ by Erwin W. Lutzer