From such lofty issues as Islamic imperialism and the alignment of the nations to more mundane issues of taxes and health care, the Bible provides insights and examples of how such contemporary issues were addressed in the past.
Firstly, the collection of taxes by the government is sanctioned by the Bible; however, it was a flat tax instead of progressive and had nothing to do with the redistribution of wealth. In other words, according to the Bible, taxes imposed by the government were not based on one’s level of income nor is it stated or implied that taxes paid by the rich were to be used to subsidize the poor.
“When they (Pharisees) had come, they said to Him, (Jesus) ‘Teacher, we know that You are true and are partial to no one…but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?’ But He…said to them…‘bring Me a denarius that I may see it. Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” Mark 12:13-17
In like manner the apostle Paul confirmed Jesus’ teaching relative to paying taxes to the government.
“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…because of this you also pay taxes…render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due…” Romans 13:1, 6-7
The next logical question is, then, why were taxes collected and what were they used for? According to the Bible the taxes that government collected were used for maintaining law and order and to punish those who transgressed the law.
“Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil…for he is God’s minister to you for good…he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” Romans 13:2-4
Consider for example that murder has always been a capital offense and the government has the authority to inflict capital punishment.
“Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning…from the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:3-6
Presently our administration and congress are attempting to gain acceptance of their proposed health care reform strategy by appealing to Christians, claiming that health care reform is both a moral and religious issue. They also claim that taxes should be increased for those who earn more than others to subsidize health care for those who may be unable or unwilling to pay for their own health care.
There are no scripture references that support such thinking. Various medical problems pervade the gospel records. How was the medical care for illness paid for back then?
“Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any…” Luke 9:43
Therefore, the scriptures say that taxes are not collected to pay for medical care, but rather medical care is the financial responsibility of the individual. The Bible has nothing to say about medical care being provided or subsidized by the government or funded by taxation.
The issue becomes even more complex when proposed health care legislation includes financial assistance to individuals who desire to abort a pregnancy. Recall that one who intentionally murders another human being can be put to death by the government and the execution funded by taxation; however, current proposed legislation includes the provision not only to kill an innocent child, but proposes to fund that activity with taxes collected by the government. Many, if not most Americans think that any legislation that includes governmental funding of abortions should not be passed.
The profound irony is that there are professed Christians such as our president and the speaker of the House of Representatives that support the proposition of killing innocent children and funding such activities with taxes collected by the government from those with a certain level of earnings.
There are three anti Biblical issues involved here:
• The killing of innocent people for convenience
• Governmental funding of such activities with tax revenue
• The redistribution of wealth by way of taxation
It is both puzzling and disturbing that these issues would be presented as Biblical issues and it is even more puzzling and disturbing that such issues are being supported by more than a few organized religious groups. It is totally incongruent that anyone professing to be a Christian would support legislation that includes the above three anti Biblical issues.
It will be very interesting to see how the proposed health care reform legislation will appear in final form. Whatever the final version, even if the above anti Biblical issues are included, watch to see if any of our elected officials proclaim that “God’s will has been done.”