When Preachers Sell Their Souls to Caesar

Pharisees2Browsing the Internet last week, I saw close to a hundred articles written by preachers, pastors, and churchian celebrities, condemning the Ferguson protests. Who knows how many more preachers used their Sunday morning hour to do the same. That’s what any preacher in America just loves to do: Verbally crack down on impersonal, private, powerless targets who have shown some kind of external behavior unacceptable by the legal norms of the day. It makes the preacher look formidable in the eyes of his listeners, it creates the impression that he indeed has something to say about culture, it makes him present himself as a militant opponent of destruction, chaos, and injustice . . . and of course, it keeps him safe, because there is no real threat that can come from the targets of his courageous denunciations.

This week, I can safely predict, not a single one of these preachers will cover the decision of a Staten Island Grand Jury to exonerate the murderous uniformed thug who ended the life of Eric Garner, a law-abiding father of six children. They just can’t; because in their position on the Ferguson events, they have already sold their souls to Caesar.

It could have been easy, of course, and Garner’s death could have been just another “Michael Brown incident” of a heroic policeman defending himself against a big black man, and therefore forced to kill him in broad daylight. But unfortunately, God’s providence intervened against the heroic policeman and sent to the scene a pesky private citizen, Ramsey Orta, who filmed the whole incident. Well, Orta will pay dearly for his insolence now, being framed by the same cops whom he filmed, and indicted on false charges by another Grand Jury.

But the cat is out of the bag, and Orta’s video shows very clearly that Garner was murdered in cold blood, with 5 or 6 more cops standing around him and just watching. And yet, the Grand Jury exonerated Pantaleo, the cops who murdered Garner. There is no way to call to call it “self-defence.” There’s no place for fairy tale infantile descriptions of “I was grabbed by Hulk Hogan, he was like a demon.”

And, worst of all, there’s no way to justify the decision of the Grand Jury in Staten Island. So the same preachers who courageously denounced the Ferguson riots, will now have to remain silent in the face of this flagrant injustice. What else can they do?

These preachers can’t criticize the Grand Jury decision. They already said about Ferguson that “the Grand Jury is a legitimate authority and every person should submit to authorities and honor their decision.” The problem is, how do you “honor” obvious injustice? And how do you preach it from the pulpit?

If they went into criticizing the Staten Island Grand Jury decision for its injustice, they would be caught in an uncomfortable situation, because none of them actually made the effort to examine the real proceedings around the Missouri Grand Jury decision. They may discover that the whole thing was a farce, with the Prosecutor deliberately doing everything to lose the case. They may also discover that the Democrat political machine in Missouri came to the cop’s defense. Too late for such discoveries, is it?

They can’t comment on the video itself. They have already said that “not all cops are bad,” and yet in the video, there are 6 or 7 cops surrounding Garner’s limp body – still handcuffed long time after he passed away – and not a single one of these cops seems to be concerned in any way, nor do we see them trying to save Garner from his murderer, nor apply any kind of life-saving techniques to try to revive him. Not a single good cop out of 7? And not a single good cop in the department to speak out against the use of chokehold, banned 20 years ago?

They can’t speak against government injustice in general, because they have no solution to it to give to their flocks. They have already built their doctrine of civil government on Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, that, on the idea of complete, unquestionable obedience to the government as “God’s minister.” They can’t explain how in Garner’s case the government is “God’s minister” while brutally murdering a law-abiding man and then letting the murderer off the hook. Is that the kind of government God wants us to suffer passively, some of their listeners may ask, and is this how America was started?

An additional problem, if they speak, is that the promise of equipping the cops with body cameras won’t solve the problem until they actually get the body camera amazon. If so well documented murder was exonerated, why expect any other murder or police brutality be punished? And what solution do the pastors have to offer, except religious slogans like “We all need Jesus”?

And of course, very important, speaking against government injustice, especially when specific government agents and specific government crimes are concerned, is not as safe for a pastor as is speaking against a few nameless looters in a poor black neighborhood. I mean, the government can get you anywhere, right? The potential costs are too high, and not worth the trouble.

So they will have to remain silent. Because by their position on Ferguson, they sold their souls to Caesar. And once a preacher sells his soul to Caesar, it’s not easy to redeem it back.

Yes, yes, some of them may try to wiggle out of the situation by saying that God will bring judgment on a tyrannical, unjust government. Their problem is, God doesn’t judge a tyrannical government before He judges the religious leaders who have sold their souls to that government. Remember that Israel’s religious system was destroyed way before Rome’s tyrannical government was destroyed.

Which seems to be the only solution in our day. Unlike the colonists in the 1700s, Ferguson showed, as Staten Island will show this week, that we don’t have a black-robed regiment today; our preachers automatically side with the government, or remain silent in the face of obvious government injustice, preaching complete obedience or empty religious slogans instead. Because they have sold their souls to Caesar.

God have mercy on us.


  • Amen. I pray the fear of the Lord grips the heart of Christian religious leaders, before it’s time to board the death train.

  • I think calling it “murder” is a bit strong. I doubt that the cop was trying to kill. You make a good point, though, that the other officers should have rendered aid.

    And the situation in Ferguson was very suspicious.

    • The reason I am calling it “murder,” Drew, is that Biblically, if a thief is in your house during the day and you use lethal force against him, it is considered murder (Exo. 22:2-3). It is guilt-free homicide only if it is at night, when you can’t really decide whether he is a thief or a murderer. Which means that the Law of God places restrictions on the use of lethal force: you can’t use it against an unarmed person, even in your house. (Now, if the person attacks you, yes, but then he is not a thief anymore, he is an attacker.)

      In this case, this happened in broad daylight, the cop was armed whereas his victim wasn’t. Not to mention that the cop had a car and the victim didn’t. And it wasn’t in no one’s home, so not direct threat to any participant or to innocent bystanders. The cop could have avoided the encounter and then – if the stolen items were really in Brown’s hands – could have called for support. In any case, he should have acted so that no human life was threatened. But he chose to get out of the car and shoot. For whatever reason he shot, it is by default murder, Biblically: killing an unarmed thief in broad day light. The burden of proof should have been on the cop that he didn’t do it intentionally; because, as I pointed out above, in Exodus 22:3 the Bible places the burden of proof on the killer in situations like this.

      • I agree that the killing of Michael Brown was seemingly murder, even under our laws. Or at the very least, Darren Wilson was clearly lying in his explanation about it.

        I was just saying that the other cop, the one who choked the guy in New York, probably didn’t mean for anything really bad to happen.

        • Ah, I see what you are saying. Well, given that the Bible focuses on the presence of weapon for killing in the hands of the killer when determining whether it was murder, you have a case there. Although, a response would be that that maneuver has been banned because it has been known to be lethal in some cases, in which case the “goring ox” case principle would be invoked.

          • Hmmm… my perception was sort of the opposite actually. It seemed obvious to me that Garner was murdered, and far less so that Brown was murdered.

            In Brown’s case you had an actual crime, theft, in the first place. Which means that Wilson was justified in stopping him. By contrast, Garner’s only “crime” was failing to pay taxes to the government. In other words, he resisted government’s efforts to take from him. Under Biblical law taxes of higher than ten percent are certainly theft (and I see no reason to suggest there are any taxes that are not theft, given the very nature of the act), and our government is nowhere near within acceptable bounds by those standards.

            As far as I’m concerned, that’s enough information, as is, to say the NYC cop was guilty. He was attempting to steal. That is even ignoring the fact that he clearly choked Garner to death. I cannot for the life of me fathom any scenario in which that was “accidental” or justified. I would support the death penalty in his case.

            Wilson is trickier in that we don’t actually have the video nor do we know with certainty what happened. Of course, the police use the “feared for his life” reasoning all the time. There’s also the fact that he (Wilson) was enforcing a just law, namely, the law against theft. So the question is now, did Brown actually charge at Wilson and try to attack him? Or was Wilson lying?

            I don’t know. Wilson may have been guilty of course. But, I think its sad that this is the case of police brutality that got all the attention, considering this (the Ferguson case) is pretty much the one instance where I can imagine the police possibly being justified. There are so many victins, Eric Garner, Kelly Thomas, etc. where there is simply no way the cop could be justified.

          • David, I will be writing an article on the perspective of the Biblical Law on this (on ChristendomRestored.com), but I will briefly mention here the following Biblical points on the Ferguson case which make me believe it should have been tried as murder, if we were a nation based on the Law of God:

            1. The presence of a specialized weapon for killing in the hands of the killer automatically assumes murder, unless the killer can prove he was really attacked. The pertinent text here is the text that specifically distinguishes between murder and unintentional homicide, that is, Numbers 35:16-28. Notice that the tool in the hands of the killer makes all the difference as to how the case is going to be tried.

            2. The lack of weapons in the hands of the victim and the broad daylight. Even a thief in your house can’t be killed during the day (Exo. 22:2-3); it would be murder. Why? The key word here is “thief”: you know he is not an attacker for he has no weapons. Brown had no weapons on him, and the cop knew it for it was broad daylight. Not to mention that it was in no one’s house, and no innocent people’s lives and limbs were threatened. The case is clearly a murder, under the Biblical Law.

            3. The aggression by the cop. Let’s say that Brown was really reaching in to get the cops gun and the cop feared for his life. A person who is almost knocked out would try to get out of the conflict as soon as possible. The cop had a car, Brown didn’t. The cop was able to drive away. And then, unlike a person who feels threatened, he stops the car and he exits the car, while at this time Brown is fleeing. This act of stopping to specifically point a weapon for killing at a person who is not told he is under arrest is aggression; if a private person stops his car and points a weapon at you, he is the aggressor and you can shoot back. (The Old West Law, whoever draws first is fair game for all around.) The same here, in the moment the cop stopped the car and pointed the gun, he was the aggressor. Even if Brown charged (which is impossible, given the ballistics report), that would have been legitimate self-defense against an aggressor who was bent on murder, by all visible signs.

            So, yes, it was murder, by the Biblical Law, even if we don’t have the video.

          • Did Brown charge Wilson AFTER Wilson got out of his car, or before? If the answer is “before” than I would agree with you, he’s no longer afraid for his life and thus he wouldn’t have been justified.

            Now, regarding the whole “two or more witnesses” thing, what happens in this scenario:

            In the nighttime, someone breaks into your house. Under the likely assumption that he is armed (but without being able to see for sure) you shoot him. There were no witnesses to the event. You freely admit that you killed the man, but you claim that you feared that he was armed (and it turns out that he was.) Are you still convicted because there aren’t two witnesses that what you did was right?

          • Even if Brown charged a second time, after Wilson got out of his car, this second charge would have been different: He is unarmed, and there is an armed person getting out of his car and pointing a gun at him. At this point the aggressor is the one who starts the second conflict by pointing a weapon at an unarmed person. The unarmed person is in his right to do everything he can to save his life; his actions at this point can’t be used as an excuse for the armed attacker who pointed the gun.

            That scenario is covered in Exodus 22:2-3: There is no need for two witnesses. Night time plus a thief in your house automatically clears you, even if you did it with the intention of murdering him. The court does nothing, and if you had wicked intentions, it is left to God to sort it out.

          • OK, fair enough. So, what should Darren Wilson have done if he wanted to act in a Biblically consistent manner, considering Brown had in fact stolen someone else’s cigarettes? I presume it would have been Wilson’s duty at that point to ensure that the owner of the cigarettes got them back…

          • The problem here lies in the fact that Biblically, force could be used against him only in the very act of stealing (that Exodus 22:2-3 passage, again). At the moment Wilson saw Brown, he decided that Brown looked like a description dictated to him on the radio, and he saw a box in his hands that looked like the stolen box, again described on the radio. At this point Wilson took up the role of a judge: He all of a sudden knew this was the thief, and these were the stolen cigars, and he knew he could order Brown around and even issue death penalty and execute him if necessary. Biblically, what he was supposed to do is duly note that he saw someone looking like the suspect ask for his name and for the origin of the box in his hands, inform his superiors who would inform the judge, and then the judge would issue an arrest warrant. This way, police are acting as agents of the court, which is Biblical, not as judges, which is not.

          • Good point. I can agree with you on that. I guess I just assumed there was an arrest warrant…

        • @Bojidar Marinov- I’m far from an expert on this, but from what I understand of Biblical law, it requires two or three witnesses in order to convict for murder (or any other crime.) This strikes me as similar to the American legal concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” I absolutely agree with you that it should have been TRIED as murder. But, I’m not sure he could have been convicted.

          To give a different hypothetical scenario: guns are often called the “great equalizer” between men and women. If a woman is charged by a much larger, stronger man who’s attempting to rape her and she kills him, is she “presumed” guilty of murder? How could she prove her innocence in that instance?

          With regards to Wilson… there’s honestly a part of me who says he’s guilty because of his profession, pretty much every cop, if not every single one, is required to engage in acts that would count as kidnapping and theft under Biblical law as part of their jobs (disclaimer: I have a few differences with theonomic reconstructionists, so I am not claiming to be one, although we agree on more than enough with regards to this point, and I am trying to answer this question using reconstructionist premises). But in this particular case, assuming he’s dealing with an actual crime (theft), is his duty to let the thief go if the thief tries to use force against him? Or is he allowed to use the minimum necessary amount of force to make the arrest? I honestly don’t know how this works under Old Testament Law since there were no police to my knowledge, but I would imagine the community could have coerced you to restitute your victim if you refused to do so?

          If you’re planning on writing an article on this later, feel free to answer it then, but it seems like IF Darren Wilson confronted Brown for an actual crime (theft) and IF Micahel Brown tried to attack Wilson physically, in such a way as to cause Wilson to have genuine fear for his life, it would seem to me that Wilson was justified, as much as there’s a part of me that just hates having to side with the police…

          Now, I don’t know if that’s what really happened. It seems to me that there should have been an indictment and that the only reason there wasn’t one was because of the prosecutor trying to avoid getting one. But I’m not sure you could convict under Biblical law here (though, I am no expert either). At most it seems like you could possibly go for manslaughter, as it seems unlikely that there was “malice” here…

          • Two or three witnesses are needed to prove who the killer is. In Brown’s case, it is clear who the killer is. Now Wilson’s claim is that he was attacked, which is a counter-accusation against Brown. Now, for this accusation Wilson needs two or three witnesses. But under the Biblical Law, Wilson stopping his car and exiting it proves that Wilson was not afraid for his life. It is this moment which changes the situation from [possible] aggression by Brown to very clear aggression by Wilson: A man stops his car and exits the car with a gun in his hand, pointing it at a man of whom he knows is not armed. The key here is Wilson exiting his car. If he feared for his life, he wouldn’t exit that car but would have driven away.

        • On the other hand, in the Garner case there’s absolutely no way to justify it at all. First, cops tried to kidnap someone for violating statuatory but completely unbiblical law. Second, cops restrain him using illegal chokehold. Even IF the cops didn’t kill him on purpose, it would seem that the attempted kidnapping would be a capital charge. Of course, that wouldn’t go over anywhere near well in today’s America. And it seems pretty obvious to me that they killed him on purpose…

  • For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17. Si I understand the situation in NY, it’s all about money, tax money on cigarettes. Was it worth a man’s life? Hardly but then wars have been and continue to be fought over not much more.

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