Saturday, December 4, 2010

Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 3

Continued from "Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 2"

There are certain Bible verses that people in specific circles tend to abuse.

Winos in rescue missions all seem to know about Paul's admonition to Timothy: "A little wine for thy stomach's sake."

Unbelievers (and nominal believers) who do not want to be held to account for their sins often quote, "Judge not lest ye be judged," and/or, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

Professing Christians unwilling to pay the high price of loyalty to King Jesus will often quote the first half of His command in  Matthew 22:21: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. . . ."

The complete command says,

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21, emphasis added)

Now, back to my narrative . . .

For two years, I maintained that the IRS had wrongfully disallowed my deductions and imposed a fine contrary to the U.S. Constitution. In the interim, I moved my family to Brandon (not Bradenton!) Florida, not far from where my parents lived.

It was a difficult time for Laura & me, but one day an IRS agent's visit to my parents' home made life even harder. He intimidated my mother with all the dire consequences that would befall my family and me (not I, please) if I continued to resist the dictates of the tyrannical  bureaucracy (probably not exactly the way he referred to the IRS).

Within two weeks of his visit, they called my father in for an audit -- something that had never happened in his life. My dad had always worked for wages, and his tax forms were pretty much cut-and-dry, so the audit was unusual, to say the least.

When my folks talked to me about it, they were under the emotional stress of IRS extortion. Mom told me about what a "nice man" the agent who visited her was. (Note: Nice men don't use intimidation of family members as a club to coerce you into capitulating to their wrongful claims.)

Somewhere in the conversation, Matthew 22:21 came up, and I tried to explain that in America, we are supposed to have a government of laws, not of men, and that the supreme law (by which the government was supposed to abide) resided in the Constitution. Thus, the Constitution is Caesar, and by resisting tyranny, I was rendering to Caesar the things that belonged to Caesar.

(In those days, I suffered from a what is still a common lack of perspective in evangelical circles; I believed the erroneous propaganda that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Since that time, I have come to realize and acknowledge the Word of the Living God as the one Law supreme over every land.)

In the end, fear and weakness won out over principle and resolve.

You have, no doubt seen the situation portrayed in many films and TV programs. In the 1940's 'B' pictures, the evil Nazi agent approaches the loyal American immigrant: "You do not vish to cooperate? Haff you forgotten your family dat is still in dee old country?"

Today, you see the mob boss talking to the police officer or the investigative reporter: "You have a really beautiful daughter. It's a shame what some people do to beautiful girls."

Or with much less subtlety, the orc holds a gun to the wife's head: "You will do exactly what I say, or I'll blow her head off."

Those are terror tactics. And that's exactly the position the "nice man" put me in.

As a consequence, Laura and I went in to see the "nice man" at his office in Tampa, Florida. We handed over a check for fines and interest -- by then over $600 -- and we produced the documentation for the previously disallowed mileage deductions.

Within two weeks, we received a check from the Treasury Department that refunded 100% of the fines and interest. There are two ways to look at this.

One kind of person would say, "See, you could have saved all that trouble and worry if you had just paid them in the first place." Another kind of person would say, "Hmmm. . . . it looks as though it wasn't about the money as much as getting you to bow the knee to the Tyrant State."

I tend to agree with the second person. The whole point of the exercise was to force me to violate my lawful convictions so that I would acquiesce to naked power. "You have parents in Florida?"

I see a fourfold outcome here.
  1. I rendered to Herod (the IRS) the things that belonged to Caesar (the Constitution) -- a bitter pill and a blow to my pride, but not exactly a violation of Matthew 22:21;
  2. I learned a valuable, first-person lesson in police state terror tactics and therefore decided I must choose my battles carefully, for if I stuck by my guns (figuratively speaking, of course), I would probably have a chance to fight just that one battle before winding up dead or in prison;
  3. I, no doubt, had my my name flagged by the IRS and possibly by other federal agencies as a potential troublemaker, or worse;
  4. I survived to continue the fight.
To be continued

1 comment:

The Warrior said...

Good post, again. Will look forward to the next. Thanks for this series, it was a good idea!