Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday, Jesus and taxes

From the opening essay by Ben Metcalf in this month's issue of Harpers...

Metcalf wrestles with the extent to which our tax dollars allow the government to fund disturbing activities. Although one could use this principle to wrestle with a number of public policies (e.g., the federal government's support for Planned Parenthood), Metcalf focuses on the military in general and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular.

Of course, Libertarians have both the most principled opposition to government spending-- as well as the most categories for which government spending is troubling.

Metcalf opens with Mt 17:24-27 on Jesus paying the Temple Tax. Really, the preferred passage to make his point is Mk 12:17-- the more famous principle of "render unto Caesar". In any case, Metcalf's punchline is as correct as it is ironic:

Jesus paid his taxes, and who knows that [these] very coins were then passed up the line until it reached...the Roman hand from which it would eventually go forth to purchase the cross to which the original payer would in agony be nailed, in forgiveness of all our sins.


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