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Giving unto Caesar

September 20, 2011

I’m perplexed about the push in many Christian circles to lower taxes.

Sometimes, I get it. I get what used to be the flash points.

I understand why many conservative Christians think homosexuality is wrong. I don’t agree with them, but I understand where they are coming from. Same with abortion.  I’m pro choice, but I understand the other point of view.

I also understand why some people just don’t want to pay taxes. It’s a complaint as old as civilization — no coincidence, I think, since taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society. Nothing is certain, they say, except death and taxes. I’ve got the death part covered. Taxes? Not so bad. But to link an fanatical anti-tax agenda to Christianity? And not just in fringe videos put on youtube by wingnuts, either. It’s out there. God wants millionaires to keep their money and not pay taxes? That’s not the Christianity I grew up with, and the Christianity I grew up with has some impeccable conservative credentials. Dan Yeary, the guy who gave the prayer at the 2008 RNC, that’s the guy who taught me how to be a Christian.

I don’t get it.

Jesus is rarely straightforward. Without a parable, he spoketh not to them, and thometimes thothe parableth…

… it’s not funny any more, if it ever was, but sometimes those parables are a puzzlement. Scholars have been debating the message of His words for 2000 years.

He was clear a couple of times, though.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. 

Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and give unto God what is God’s. 

I like the red letters. It reminds me of the Bible I studied from when I was a kid, the King James Version with the words of Christ in red letters. “Whoa!” I thought. “That’s the important part!”

I read that Bible so much that I wore it out, and I remember it, and it informs what I do today.

Pay taxes. It’s what Jesus would do.

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