More Americans are upset about government waste and spending. Businesses with a Christian world view are suing to opt out of Obama-care. Christians are increasingly questioning not only the misuse of their tax money, but the moral abuse.
Our tax dollars support obscene art, fund organizations that perform abortions, and subsidize brothels in Nevada. Added to that are expenditures on programs that are wasteful, extravagant, or just plain ridiculous. For instance, the NIH has given $1.5 million to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts to study why 75% of lesbians in the United States are overweight and why most homosexual males are not.
These examples make writing a check today to “The United States Treasury” a bit distasteful. But do Christians have a moral or conscientious right to refuse to pay taxes?
The issue is not new. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”
The Jews hated the Roman rule. The emperors were immoral, depraved tyrants. The Roman Emperor, Tiberius, who was in power during Jesus’ life was notorious for his sexual perversity. Political opponents were executed. Governors were corrupt. Pagan gods were worshiped. And Jewish tax dollars funded it.
So, Jesus gave them permission for tax evasion. Right?
He said show me a coin. Then asked whose inscription was on it. When they answered, “Caesar’s.” He said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:15-22).
When Peter was asked if Jesus paid the temple tax, the Lord instructed him to pay the tax. Not because he was required, but to set the proper example (Matt.17:24-27).
But what were Christians told to do after the church was established? Revolt? Rebel? Refuse to pay taxes to an ungodly government?
No! Paul said, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God..For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Rom. 13:1,6-8)
From these texts we learn at least five things:
1. Jesus and His followers paid their taxes.
2. Christians, who owe a duty to God’s Kingdom, also have obligation to the Kingdoms of men.
3. Our secular responsibilities are based on our spiritual values.
4. We owe respect to those in positions of governmental authority.
5. Christians have a higher calling to be honest, ethical, and honorable.
So, on this tax day, let us as “children of light” pay what is rightfully due Uncle Sam. Tax evasion is a violation of Biblical principles. (Notice, I didn’t say tax avoidance, which is using the legal IRS exemptions to reduce our tax burden.) But to purposely withhold income. To declare expenses that are bogus. Or to refuse to even file is to dishonor our King. King Jesus.
Jesus paid taxes. So should you and I.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman