Of taxes and Jesus Christ

Dear Editor,

Re: Taxing the church pastors and evil, called bureaucratic corruption

Jesus’ brilliant reply, “give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” was to a question meant to induce him to express his well-known opposition to theft by taxation.

The Gospel of Luke states the purpose of asking him about Caesar’s tax: “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.”

The governor was Pontius Pilate, who was responsible for the collection of taxes in Judea. As far as the Emperor was concerned, collecting taxes was the governor’s most important duty, the very survival of the Empire depended on those taxes.

Jesus’ response was brilliant because he said exactly what his enemies wanted him to say, viz., “don’t pay that scoundrel Caesar anything,” yet he said it in such a way that his answer could not be used against him.

Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar means exactly that, and if you have nothing in your possession belonging to Caesar, give him that: NOTHING! 

No one in the Roman Empire ever had anything in their possession belong to Caesar. Caesar was a taker, not a giver nor a lender.

 Everything he might claim to own had been stolen by him through conquest, plunder, slavery and taxation.

 Jesus never paid taxes himself, and he encouraged others not to pay. His principles preclude the institution of taxation. 

“Love your neighbor as yourself, do to others as you would have others do to you.” 

These principles of Jesus preclude the profession of collecting taxes by force and coercion, and without tax collectors, there can be no taxes, no empires, no nation states. Only the Kingdom of God.


Ned Netterville

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