How Important Is It to Obey Laws and/or Rules?

I respect the fictional Robin Hood.  In a system skewed toward the rich, how far should we go (in the way of rule breaking) to assist the poor, damaged, incapacitated, mentally afflicted, etc. I tend to push the system.  But there are always issues.

One example of rule breaking involves the Law of Tithing, because of the way the funds are probably allocated (the leadership doesn’t provide info on Church finances), is it okay to pay 5% and give the rest to Doctors without Borders, Oxfam, Playgrounds Everywhere, or a similar humanitarian organization? Robert Kirby, humorist for the sltrib, suggested that he paid a full tithe, but it didn’t all go to the Church. I have no problem with this rebellion. However, there are obvious drawbacks (ie. loss of a temple recommend).

JKC, commenting on bycommonconsent, made the following observation:

I think it’s clear that Jesus broke rules.  You can argue that those rules were man-made, not God-given, and they were corrupt, but the point Jesus was making is that the rules were corrupt precisely because they exalted obedience to rules over love for our brothers and sisters made in God’s image.  You can reduce Jesus’ teachings to principles and rules, but to say “no he wasn’t breaking the rules he was just restoring the real rules” seems to me to miss the point.

Thus portraying Christ as a rule breaker.  And is Jesus setting an example for us to follow?

On a similar note, the latest Time magazine quotes the Dalai Lama:  “So if some teaching goes against reason, we should not accept it.”  You could substitute law or rule for “teaching” in his quote.

I few years ago, I retired from working for the federal government. I was frequently discouraged with the way money was allocated.  Federal assistance seemed to gravitate toward the haves at the expense of the have-nots. I tried to compensate by pushing the boundaries of programs to assist those in the most need.  I didn’t violate the founding principles of the organization I worked for, but I did liberally interpret modern “rules.” Some might argue, I broke them.

Paul Farmer, Founder of “Partners in Health”

Paul Farmer, founder of one of America’s premiere humanitarian organizations (Partner in Health), admitted in a bestselling book that he sometimes stole from the hospital where he worked so he could help his medical projects in Haiti. I believe that it is important to have an inspired conscience when dealing with important social issues.  It’s critical to push the envelope to assist those in real need.  But to each his own.

This entry was posted in humanism, Personal Essays, Religion, Social Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

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