Can followers of Jesus Christ logically favor taxation?
Once again it is election season in America and once again Americans are faced with an illusory alternative: Caesar in Democratic Party clothing or Caesar in Republican Party clothing. Apparently what makes the illusion saleable is the mistaken idea (used by Caesar as propaganda) that Jesus Christ was a socialist who supported taxation.
Fascists, communists, and progressives (supporters of three branches of socialism), even after all the misery they have created the world over in the last 100 to 150 years, even now still aim a loud speaker toward us blaring the long broken record of their propaganda mantra: “Jesus was a socialist,” by which they try to convince us that Jesus advocated using government force or threat of force to redistribute wealth.
We’ve addressed the "socialist" issue in the past (See Jesus Christ's Love vs. Obama Style Socialism)
Nonetheless, the illusion could not be sold to the public if it were not for modern conservatives insisting that Jesus supported taxation. If someone tries campaigning against taxation, which is the primary tool of government redistribution of wealth, even conservatives who believe they are conserving the freedom America originally promised can be heard helping the socialists make noise by droning, “Well, Jesus advocated paying taxes.”
Maybe it’s time to look at the words of Jesus himself.
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matthew 22:16-21)
The intent of the Pharisees was to catch Jesus making an anti-taxation utterance. They knew many of his followers were anti-government zealots who hated being forced to pay taxes. Surely they could lure him into saying taxes collected by force (armed robbery), or threat of future harm (extortion), are immoral. Then they would have a case against him to take to the Roman governor.
Jesus saw through the attempted trap. He knew if he said, “It is wrong to pay taxes,” he would be arrested for sedition before his appointed time. If he said, “It is right to pay taxes,” the pharisees could shout that this is a teacher who supports an immoral system. Either answer would sabotage his work.
By not saying it is right to pay taxes but not saying it is wrong either, Jesus avoided the trap and at the same time taught his disciples what is really important. On the one hand, Jesus was basically saying: “Your devotion to God and to God’s work is more important than petty ego-vested support or petty ego-resistance regarding an immoral earthly system.” At the same time, Jesus was implying that God is in charge and the immoral robbery and extortion of taxation will in time create its own karma. The secondary meaning of his words in essence was: “Keep your attention on God. Caesar will get what is coming to him.”
Jesus was no socialist and he was no advocate of taxation. If he were an advocate of taxation, he would not have dictated, as he did in the original unedited version of A Course in Miracles miracle principle #23: Miracles make time and tide wait for all men. They can heal the sick and raise the dead because man himself made both death and taxes, and can abolish both.
(The above sentence was changed by Ken Wapnick in editing to the sentence popularly found in principle #24, but can be found in the unedited version of the Course: here)
Despite the immorality of taxation, we nonetheless go along with various governments and pay taxes ... why? Because Jesus teaches we would be stepping out of the kingdom of heaven if we were to step into resistance. If we strained against taxation we would be taxing ourselves, wouldn’t we? (In ACIM, Jesus adds a side note: Tax also means “strain.”)
To those who advocate socialism or the forced redistribution of wealth through taxation, Jesus says: “Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here.” (ACIM Lesson 128) Nobody is going to be saved or benefited by schemes concocted by extremely illusory human perception and misnamed "progressive" man-made governments.
To these misguided ones Jesus adds: “The world is not where it [your focus] belongs. And you belong where it would be, and where it goes to rest when you release it from the world.” (ACIM Lesson 128) , and “Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible, where love endures forever, hate cannot exist, and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want and know they have no ending, and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time?” (ACIM Lesson 129)
Maybe this new fresh world Jesus mentions is the world socialist Utopians mistakenly believe can be made through forced redistribution of wealth. Maybe their heart’s desire is being felt correctly but they need to be forgiven because in their ego-interpretation they know not what they do.
Jesus in essence says to well-meaning progressives, “Worship God, not government. Worship God, and government will take care of itself. In his Lesson 23, he says: “There is no point in lamenting the world. There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effects will change automatically." (ACIM Lesson 23)
Finally, those are not forgotten who struggle to make ends meet under the slavery of socialism and forced redistribution of wealth through taxation. To all his beloved ones, rich or poor, taxers or taxed ... to you very personally ... Jesus offers totally freeing hope as you with deep sincerity voice the words of the following lesson:
“Creation’s freedom promises my own.”
The end of dreams is promised me, because God’s Son is not abandoned by His Love. Only in dreams is there a time when he appears to be in prison, and awaits a future freedom if it be at all. Yet in reality his dreams are gone, with truth established in their place. And now is freedom his already. Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?
“I will accept Your promises today, and give my faith to them.
My Father loves the Son Whom He created as His Own.
Would You withhold the gifts You gave to me?”
"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
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