Taxes: A Practical and Biblical Perspective
Hello everyone. Rarely will I venture into politics but with the 2016 election around the corner, let’s look at taxes in a common sense kind of way (oops, I mentioned common sense). This is US citizen Elizabeth Billingsley talking, I am not speaking for any political party nor am I endorsing any candidate. My thoughts on the subject are my own based on what I understand of the origin of taxes, with the exception of what Jesus said. I welcome your thoughts and ideas and please be respectful.
From my viewpoint, taxes are supposed to help maintain infrastructure (roads, bridges, water systems, etc.) and safety for both individual communities and the nation. Taxes are supposed to help maintain security, such as the military and our borders, our local police, firefighters and other response personnel. Is that not what government was tasked with, safety and infrastructure?
So here’s why “no taxes” don’t work in an imperfect world (in a nutshell):
Roads, bridges, water systems and many other public health related conveniences we all take for granted would fall apart or into disrepair and eventually become third-world in their nature. Do you like to be able to get around? Do you like clean water and sanitation?
Do you want US borders maintained? (And yes I know this is sticky subject right now as well)
Do you want to call the police, fire or ambulance and want them to respond? If so, then you will have to pay taxes of some sort or otherwise you will have to get yourself to the hospital when you are bleeding out, deal with our own crime where you live and fight your own fires. Does that sound like a good idea to you?
Does any state have a long range plan for dealing with border issues if they border Mexico? Most likely not nor the manpower. So where would “no taxes” leave states and communities?
What about too many kinds of tax you say? Here is why too many taxes don’t work in an imperfect world (again in a nutshell):
Taxes were never meant to support lifestyle choices, bad or otherwise. Once you begin lifestyle-support- by-tax (my phrase), it puts people in a mindset that they must be dependent on that support to survive when the opposite is actually true. Everyone can make their own way - everyone. It’s a choice. Lifestyle-support-by-tax takes away both people’s choices and their responsibility; and that won’t work over the long term.
And Church, where are you? Our tax base has increased for social services since the 1960s because the church has failed at doing its job – caring for the poor, the widow, the sick, the old and the orphan. God wasn’t joking nor was this a casual suggestion.
If you want the tax base to decrease where social programs are concerned, then Church, step up, do your job and do it well! Jesus told us in Matthew 26:11, “the poor you will always have with you.” You may also reference Deuteronomy 15:11 for His take from an Old Testament view which may actually surprise you.
Now here is the kicker and this takes paying taxes to another level entirely. This may hurt. What did Jesus say when questioned about taxes by the men of his day?
“Whose image is engraved on this coin?” They answered: “Caesars.” Then Jesus said: “Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and unto God that which belongs to God.” (Mark 12:14-17)
That section of scripture sums up the very political issues of taxes as far as I’m concerned. Also remember the Jews were a conquered people by the Romans in Jesus’s day so they did not know nor understand the concept of “taxation without representation” as we do today. You will notice Jesus did not even bring that up nor did he go on to discuss the “evils” of taxation. In fact if you read that section of scripture, as far as He was concerned, the conversation was over.
I will leave you with a quote from one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin:
“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
— Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789
Mr. Franklin could not have been more right if he had tried.
Until next time,