Monday, February 27, 2006
Render unto Mao..
I'm calmer now, and as most of my readers know, I'm usually that calm voice of faithful reason. In discussion elsewhere, my concerns with supporting the regime of China we met with a scriptural argument. The commenter wrote not to get too upset because we should "render unto Caesar, what is Caesar's" and that the problems of China are complex and require nuance. No, he didn't say 'nuance', but the rhetoric was practically screaming it, and nuance has been the illness of catholicism in America.
Here's how I see the difference. I have to pay taxes to the USA and the State of Nebraska, at least so sayeth my W-2 and my Turbo Tax™ software. These taxes are required of my citizenship, and though I may not agree with everything that's done with my taxes, I still have to pay them.
I don't have to buy stuff made in China. I don't have to buy stuff from the businesses that are supporting the Chinese government's ability to cloister their people and opress them and often murder them. Chinese Catholics live under burdens that I can scarcely imagine struggling with, and while I pray that God gives them the grace to persist in their faith, I feel that I should not, in the name of desire for material comforts, assist in their persecution.
That's what it is, after all. If I want a new pair of sneakers, and I don't need them, then it's not really necessary that I have them. Even if I can rationalise 'needing' the sneakers, it behooves me that the expenditure is not used to further opress the people that made it. The same thing with toasters, spatulas, kitchen utensils, clothing, toys, and other non-essentials.
It may sound scrupulous, and maybe overly so, but in America our definitions of neccessities has broadened immensely. What are the degrees of cooperation with evil, and where should we draw the line? Do we have the courage to face down our 'need' for material things?
Here there be courage.