Right On Life

Christian, Pro-Life, Conservative

The Morality of Tax Policy and the Morality of Pro-Life Issues

cartoon of Uncle Sam shaking money from a taxpayerHave you heard the refrain that “everything is a moral issue”? Libertarians and liberals are fond of it, because, it would seem, they are loath to give up the moral high ground to conservatives. In one form or other you can see the refrain here: “In that respect, almost everything associated with the current economic crisis is a matter of justice and injustice and is therefore a moral issue”, here: “There are genuine ethical issues involved with egg freezing, but in a time of war, severe poverty and climate change, they are not the issues which should first spring to mind when we hear the word ‘morality’”; and here: “A working definition of an issue of moral concern is shown to be any issue with the potential to help or harm anyone, including yourself”.

I heard something like this refrain it recently while discussing the slate of Republican candidates with a friend. I was deprecating the relative importance of tax policy to pro-life policy by claiming that moral issues trump pocketbook issues. The reply, “tax policy is a moral issue” struck me as missing the point.

Yes, of course, many political issues ultimately have a moral component or impact. Progressive income tax rates used to transfer vast sums from producers to those who will not work is immoral. Confiscatory tax policy used to fund abortions, to advance pluralism and atheism, or to line the pockets of corrupt politicians is a moral issue. But surely there is a vast difference of degree between the immorality of legalized murder and the immorality of anti-christian fiscal policy.

Does the Bible shed some light on this question? Scripture does address the topic of “tribute”; but it does so in a way that leaves the tax revolutionary without Biblical warrant for equating it with infanticide. The well known Scripture aphorism “Render unto Ceasar” really does sum it up. Review Ezra, the Gospels, and Romans and you will find the Bible does not make the morality of tax policy a major issue. On the other hand, if someone unlawfully takes what is rightfully yours, Luke 6:27ff suggests a far different approach than the tax policy activists seem to advocate.

If the government steals from us, or our kids or grandchildren, or the church, that would be terrible; I agree. But will you agree that it would be far, far more terrible to successfully halt this thievery at the cost of ignoring the killing of innocent persons? How much blood-guiltiness are we willing to endure for the sake of protecting our pocketbooks? What good is it, to gain even the whole world at such a cost? When we consider who we vote for, we need to consider the most important matters first, not last.

And if you have to choose between your money and the lives of babies, choose life.

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31st October 2011 8:12 AM - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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