Taxation, Morality, and Theft by Legal Means

As a national conversation ensues regarding the future of taxation and the maintenance of the American welfare state, the church should watch and listen for the number of times the words justice, fairness, and equity appear in amendments, speeches, and television commercials. The use of these words will signal various understandings of justice that should be carefully evaluated.

The Bible gives no prescription for a definitive tax rate—but the lower, the less oppressive, and therefore the better. For the American republic depends on the stern virtues of a citizenry who define justice in terms of honest labor, thrift, deferred gratification, and self-denial—all of which embody a biblical worldview. When the government becomes an agent of interference with these virtues to the point that these attitudes are undermined through excessive taxation, then justice, by definition, will be theft by legal means.

8/17/2011 4:00:00 AM
Douglas Baker
Douglas Baker
Douglas E. Baker is the former Executive Editor of The Baptist Messenger, and serves now as Assistant to the Provost of Union University. Follow him via Twitter or Facebook.