Originally posted by OdBod
Is this the jesus character saying there are certain worldly things religion and god should keep their hands off? Or was he avoiding a problem?
I don't think He (not a "jesus character", but Jesus himself!) would go that far. Certainly, if the tax level were unbearable (which it rarely is, certainly not in the modern Western world), the church should have something to say about it and not leave all the shouting to right-wing rabble-rousers.
What he was
saying - and IMO this is clear from the context - is that there is no reason why Christians could not work together with the secular authorities in cases where the latter don't go directly against God's commands. Sure, one cannot serve two masters, but one does not serve
the government. The government governs, God reigns. It's a different relationship, and the latter's Mastership doesn't preclude the former's rule - as long as it stays reasonable.
Of course, he was
also refusing to get caught in the Pharisees' snare. But he did so by giving a reasonable answer instead of, as they hoped, going for the extremist point of view.