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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lent / Tarot / The Emperor

Wikipedia says, "A denarius featuring Tiberius. The inscription on the obverse reads Ti[berivs] Caesar Divi Avg[vsti] F[ilivs] Avgvstvs ("Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus"). Classical Numismatic Group 
"Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?"

"Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?"

"The emperor's."

"Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's."

- Luke 20: 20-26.

Today's randomly drawn tarot card is The Emperor. This calls to mind, for me, Jesus saying, "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's, and unto God what is God."

Jesus, not Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, the Enlightenment, or the ACLU established the separation of church and state.

Many living in the West don't realize what a big deal this is.

I do. I've lived overseas. In most of the world, through most of history, you believe what the powers-that-be want you to believe, and those powers-that-be interdigitate the church and the state, as well as medicine, education, banking, etc. Power is power. Power is monolithic, totalitarian.

That concept, of the total state, is not of the past. Islam is a total system. Church and state are one. Thus conversion out of Islam is a capital crime. You can and should be killed for leaving Islam. (Bukhari 52:260). Insulting Mohammed also is a capital offense; thus we have people dying over cartoons, books, and YouTube videos. Merely stating that the Koran was created, and not an uncreated, eternal phenomenon, has also been assessed as a capital offense in Islam.

So, yes, it matters when the founder of a religion calls for a separation of church and state. This Jesus was a pretty special guy.

By the way, Tiberius, the emperor on the coin that may have been the coin Jesus used in this example, was alleged to be quite the monster. Tiberius – allegedly – forced enslaved children to perform orgies for his entertainment. Afterward, he would throw them off the cliffs at Capri. This spot is known as "Salto di Tiberio," "Tiberius' Leap."

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