Everyone pays taxes even when nobody pays them; nobody pays taxes, because everyone pays them. You cannot target just one ‘group’ because that group will ultimately diffuse that tax to some other group. Hence, every tax becomes a tax on everyone, and never a tax on any particular group. Solution?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)
How many times have you heard someone complain that their congregation talks about money way too much? You may have said the same. Your complaint may very well be valid, and yet the congregation’s need is probably genuine. Probably, in most churches, the leadership would much rather not lodge any requests at all. Ideally, people would be ‘Gospel motivated.’ When it becomes difficult- or impossible- to meet the payroll or pay building expenses, the leadership has to bite the bullet and issue the plea(s).
What is really going on is a lack of familiarity with what the Scriptures say about money and a lack of courage or foresight within the leadership to teach about money. Actually, a lot of it is that some folks don’t even care what the Scriptures say on the issue. Their views on money, like so many other views, are born of one’s own ‘natural reasoning.’ This post is not about them. This post is about folks who do care. Let me share some of my experiences leading a ministry that relies a great deal on donations. But first, let me state plainly what I hope this post will accomplish:
The reader will open up their Bibles for themselves and study what it has to say about money (time, talent, and treasure) from beginning to end.
We also have to ask about those who are doing the taxing. They obviously believe they have the right to take your resources from you. They must believe that they can obtain some good that you, and perhaps few others, would have subsidized if left to your own devices. They must believe that they know how much they can fairly extract from you. They must believe that they have the right, if you protest, to incarcerate you and take your possessions by force if need be. In sum, they are almost indistinguishable from tyrants.
Christians should not support tyrants or adopt their methods and so become tyrants ourselves. If there is a cause we wish to support, we ought to do so from our own resources out of the free expression of our own hearts (2 Corinthians 8).
For example, consider a family with children that would prefer to have the mother stay home to care for those children. Unfortunately, the income isn’t there to support it, and so the mother has to get a full or part time job. Thus, this family becomes enslaved to a societal structure that makes it difficult to act on the principles and priorities they believe. Ah- but upon further examination, the income is there to support it. When we look at the pay stub, thousands of dollars, every month, are being automatically withdrawn by the state and federal government for taxes and social security.
Put this money back into the hands of this family and suddenly it is possible, even easy, to have one of the spouses stay home.
This example is meant to illustrate the principle that taxation has a direct impact on freedom. As Christians, we should not be indifferent to the effect that governmental policies have on individual groups.
There are many people who don’t like the idea of Christianity being involved in politics. The supposition is that spiritual people shouldn’t have an interest in such trivial matters. However, if there is indeed a connection between economics and liberty and human rights, then we see that such things are not trivial at all. Nor can we hope, in the spirit of Christian compassion, that our efforts to use the government for ‘compassionate’ purposes won’t have inevitable consequences. Of all people, Christians shouldn’t be looking around with shocked expressions when the best laid plans of men go awry- for they always do.
Last night I learned that Detroit has put together an ‘income tax’ much like the Federal and State income tax. In other words, it isn’t property tax. (I heard it described as a ‘slum tax’). We wonder why Michigan has been in recession for so long… well, one doesn’t have to look too hard. The last thing that Detroit needs is another reason for people to flee- and I assure you, and I doubt you need to be convinced- a person who pays this income tax will receive absolutely nothing for its dollar.