Skip to comments.Would Jesus want government to raise your taxes?
Posted on 08/19/2003 3:56:45 AM PDT by RJCogburn
YOU MAY BE following the political hullabaloo in Alabama where the new Republican governor wants to pass the biggest tax increase in the state s history and says he has a highly influential advocate supporting him: God.
Gov. Bob Riley says that it is his Christian duty to raise taxes (by 22 percent) in order to fund vital government services to help the poor.
Jesus says one of our missions is to take care of the least among us, says Riley. Weve got to take care of the poor.
Fine, but that begs the question of whether raising taxes is a Christian response to tough times. The Bible seems to be ambiguous on this point. Supporters of the governors tax hike note that Jesus did preach: Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars and to God that which is Gods.
Its also true that Jesus was anything but a fan of tax collectors.
The Bible does indeed call for us all to act charitably and aid the poor this is the essence of living a Christian life. But an act of charity is by definition an action that is voluntary. Taxes arent voluntary. (Try not paying them, and see what happens.)
Moreover, liberal big government do-gooders are in many ways the ultimate hypocrites: to advance social justice they demand sacrifices of others that they will not take voluntarily themselves. For example, Warren Buffet recently and sanctimoniously wrote that he opposes the Bush tax cut and that rich people like him dont need a tax cut. But when he was asked whether he would turn over the extra millions of dollars that will be returned to him from the Bush tax cut, he was deafeningly quiet.
One wonders whether Jesus would believe that there is a limit as to how much taxes someone should have to pay. The biblical tithing rate is 10 percent. Shouldnt what is enough for God be enough for Uncle Sam and local governments? Today, the average household pays roughly 38 cents of every dollar earned in taxes at all levels of government. That is, we are already paying almost 4 times what the Bible declares is necessary to be charitable individuals.
Donald Hughes, of Jesus.Journal.com raises one last beguiling ethical question: Who says that a tax hike is going to help the poor anyway?
That s the question that no liberal dares to answer. To the left, it is an article of faith that big government helps people. But if that were the case the most Christian and the richest country in the 20th century would have been either Maos China or the former Soviet Union. After all, those communistic regimes loved the poor so much that they virtually imposed a 100 percent tax on workers. What they produced was not aid to the poor, but a lot of poor people.
Studies show that the nations with the most liberty and the lowest taxes have the least amount of poverty. Free enterprise is a Christian economic system because it does a better job than any other system ever devised to feed and clothe and house the poor. If you dont believe that, go to some of the countries that do not practice free enterprise and compare the living standards of their poor with ours.
One of the lessons of history is to beware politicians who claim that God is their co-pilot. Some of the most dastardly political leaders Hitler and Osama bin Laden jump immediately to mind have invoked the name of God in building support for their acts of violence and affronts against freedom, including religious freedom.
So, no there is no moral case for paying higher taxes. In fact, if Gov. Riley really wants to do his Christian duty and help the poor, he should try cutting taxes, not raising them. I cant vouch that he would have the Bible on his side, but he would have the sound economic theory solidly behind him.
When queried about taxes, Jesus said; "Why do you trouble me with such things? Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Render unto God what is God's."
Depends whose church it is, I guess.
And I use "Pinhead" with all due respect. It's a lot better than the first term that came to mind.
Well, the trick there, you see, is that everything is God's, including Caesar himself.
"Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me." Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men." He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: "Follow me." This following meant imitating the pattern of his life - not just walking after him. Saint John tells us: "Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."
"And he rose and followed him." There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew's assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift.
from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable
I don't believe in divine origins of the Bible, but I'd happily campaign for a Consitutional amendment to enshrine the 10% limit in the law of the land.
Today, the average household pays roughly 38 cents of every dollar earned in taxes at all levels of government. That is, we are already paying almost 4 times what the Bible declares is necessary to be charitable individuals
And if they tithe to their church or synagogue, their paying closer to 5 times.
Luke Chapter 5
27After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, "Follow me." 28And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" 31And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
Sounds like Gov. Bob Riley is in need of some healing!
Even he believed in the separation of Church and State. ("Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesars; and to God, the things that are Gods." That is a pretty clear statement.)
Basically, we are all commanded, by God, to do good works. We are commanded by the State to obey the laws.
When the State compels charity, or chooses to act as the instrument of charity, then we have, essentially, begun legislating morality.
Legislating morality appears to be an anathema to the Left, when it comes to things like infanticide, suicide, sodomy, bestiality, etc. However, when it comes to the creation of a welfare state boondoggle (which has eviscerated the sense of family, community and personal responsibility in vast segments of our society), or when it comes to hate speech, or politically correct thought, then we just cant seem to do enough legislation of morality.
I dont think I will ever be able to figure out the Left, but when it comes to what Jesus would say, I believe he already has said it, Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesars; and to God, the things that are Gods.
A question very similar to that has already been asked of Him.
When the government funds a program it dictates the content. Christian organizations provide material assistance to the poor but the real work is on the soul to change the person. Typically the poor and the homeless are what they are do to poor judgment, wrong priorities and sinful activities. Only by changing the person's world view will they permanently change their general welfare. The government with its anti-Christain attitudes restricts life changing messages that used to be part of private charities thus subsidizing destructive behavior patterns and offering no real help i.e. a change of character.
Also what makes them believe the new taxes will actually go to the poor? How gullible of them. Like the tobacco law suit money was going for health care. When pols get new moneys they spend it on what is personally politically advantageous first, second on what is profitable to their cronies and large campaign contributors and on the welfare programs lastly if at all.
The C.C. should also think of the morality of forcibly taking others peoples' income for purposes they deem worthy. By their current reasoning Marxism is as Christian and desirable as it gets.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.