Christians Should Care About Fair Taxation

I think the Christian call to give to other Christians according to their need is voluntary (insofar as the Spirit is always reminding us of the grace with which we are being saved and spurs us on to share that in material ways), but I don't think that we can simply "opt out" of our role in responsible government taxation (either by paying or by voting in those who legislate) by appeals to its non-voluntary means of appropriating funding.

The biblical passages of Exodus 23, Psalm 72 and others offer us a vision of what biblical faith ought to be like when it is in power, and it is not a voluntary tax (in fact, it is much more stringent than anything I'd imagine would ever get passed in the United States - land lying fallow for a year and all that). If we want to work to make a just society (and some don't, but Christians must), then we need to advocate for responsible taxation in order to have the public care for all persons and not just provide opportunities for the rich to keep getting richer.

Every time we refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for services to the poor, we're not living into the vision of human society that God has in mind. We're supposed to treat "the alien" as ourselves, to love our neighbor as ourselves. To limit that only to voluntary material giving (or to spiritual conversion, as if that doesn't appear coercive in and of itself...) is to fail to read into the story of life together with non-Christians.

If we keep maintaining the status quo with regard to those with money being able to dominate those without money, we allow oppression and sin to continue on our watch. If we abdicate responsibility for this, we're, in effect, saying that the poor only matter if Christian money goes to them - they have no place in society, and are actually less than full American citizens. If we use the Bible to limit (rather than to enlarge) our vision of what it means to be human, we're doing it wrong.

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