WWJD...about taxes?
December 3rd, 2012
10:28 AM ET

WWJD...about taxes?

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's note: Listen to our podcast in the above player to hear the complete story.

Washington, DC (CNN) - Dig under the rhetoric over taxes in Washington now, and you’ll find one question: should the wealthy pay more in taxes than other people?

It’s a question that goes back to the Bible. Geoffrey Miller is a law professor at New York University who’s written about taxation in the Bible.

He writes about the Temple Tax, the one God told Moses to impose in Exodus 30. It’s the one where each person, rich and poor, pays half a shekel – for the Temple – and God.

[:48] "The Bible says that’s because you’re redeeming your soul – and everyone’s soul is worth the same amount."

Adam Chodorow’s a tax professor at Arizona State University who’s written a lot about the Bible and taxation.

He says the idea of equality in the Temple Tax – and in some other Biblical tithes – has been a touchstone for some conservatives in tax debates.

He remembers a referendum in Alabama a few years ago to change the state’s tax system so that the wealthy paid more.

[1:18] "One critic of the reform said, and I’m quoting here, 'God imposes a flat income tax, or tithe, so it MUST be fair. If people do not pay the same tax rate, then obviously the rates must be arbitrary and capricious.'”

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  1. His panic

    The belief of many in the USofA, that "America" replaces Israel as the people of God or as the chosen Nation among all the nations, has been called by some scholars "Supersessionism". That belief is a Heresy, a total nonsense, foolishness a total absurd. And as such has created in the past, is creating in the present and will create tomorrow more absurds.

    Because of such belief we have this type of gibberish in politics and religion. That pretends to argue, that the Tithe Laws of the Old Testament are a principle for todays form of Taxation in the USA. Nonsense, absurdity and totally Heretical. We are NOT under that Law. Many of those Laws were ONLY for Israel. That Covenant God made it with Israel ONLY and with NO OTHER nation. Those Laws and Statutes were given to Israel ONLY and not to any other people or Nation. That was not a Tax as we know taxes to be today. Those Tithes and offerings were for the sole purpose of sustaining a religious system for Israel ONLY. It was NEVER applied to other nations and once Israelites moved or were outside of Israel they were not bound by ALL of its features, rules and regulations, begining with the Tithes.

    So to pretend that we can even think of using those Laws, given ONLY to Israel is nothing more than a wishy-washy demagogy on the part of the GOPers, tea partiers, and neo-catholics/conservatives. Who suffer from a chronic tendency to supinely ignore Scriptures. So Progressive Taxation is Just and right. Especially given the Hedonistic and Sybaritic behaviour of so many.

    December 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • His panic

      If anything at all could be use in support to Progressive Taxation is part of the text of Luke 13:48 …"From everyone who has been given much much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more".

      This is clearly is in the New Testament also called the New Covenant. Made not only with Israel like the Old Covenant was, but with all men of Faith, with all those who believe in God and Christ. However the Scriptures do indeed speak little about today’s form of Taxation in the US of A. But progressive Taxation is fair and just, whether or not Luke 13:48 can be used to support it.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lyarnie

    Since this discussion is about how the Bible speaks to the issue of taxation, I have no qualms with quoting it here. When we are writing legislation and making decisions about how to solve the problems in our economy, I think that while the separation of church and state is important, we at least need some kind of guide for morality because just about every law that is made has some sort of moral ramifications – deciding where to take money from is going to effect a lot of people's lives. No, the Bible does not speak specifically to taxation. But there are guiding principles that we can take from God's character. At least it gives us a place to start. I would like to humbly submit that God cares for the poor and he tells us numerous places in Scripture to help them. This is not to say that he does not care for the rich! He has blessed them with what they have for a reason. I am reminded of the money that was collected for the church in Jerusalem when there was a great need. The apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth that they should give, but according to what they have. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12) I disagree with the statement that God asks everyone to tithe the same amount – the New Testament does not state this. Instead, the emphasis is on giving based on your income; if you have less, God does not expect you to give the same amount as someone who has more! In light of the looming fiscal cliff, I think we need to look for places in our country where there is an abundance of money and use this to start paying off debt – why take the same amount of money from everyone when some have more to give than others? Some people may say that it's their money and the government has no right to tell them how to use it, but the money has to come from somewhere!

    December 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saveyourfeet

    Interesting. What I care about is this: I am a type 1 diabetic. My feet were going to be amputated. until I found a simple way to stop that from happening. if you are a diabetic you need to read saveyourfeetDOTwordpressDOTcom

    December 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. aktap

    When you add it all in, and I mean All government taxes not just one or two, lets not split hairs here. All taxes combined the person who is cleaning toilets for a living is payee a far higher tax rate then the lowest end middle class person, much let alone a super rich fat cat! Add in every tax, state, county, city, gas, fed, personal, food, God were do you stop! Every thing we as a people are taxed on. Heck I'm game, lets all pay the same percent of our incomes, sounds fair to me! Sadly If this sounds fair to you too, We can both bet our bottom dollar its never going to happen!

    December 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Linjun

    I think paying tax is a way to offer as a tribute, but as a taxpayer we want know how the government uses this money. Even though, we try to using Bible to explain everything but we may forget what God give us like freedom. In the bible we can see rich people give their money to Church to manage it, because they trust them. In the modern society, there are too many things we can not choose like how much to pay or the percent on the tax, and where that money is going and what for. I think most the time we complain because the money is never going to whatever we want, and reason for the question we also do not accept, too.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
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