A Brief Response to an Old Article

I found this article via Stumble Upon, and I just had to say something about it. I know it’s old (it dates from August 2005), and there are already responses to it (I don’t subscribe to Harper’s, so I couldn’t read them). But I was immediately struck by this, because as I started the article, I was thinking, this guy’s right. He’s got it! But then his politics got in it, and then he just missed it. He makes the very valid point that the teachings of Jesus were radical and non-materialistic. He even says: “On and on and on—a call for nothing less than a radical, voluntary, and effective reordering of power relationships, based on the principle of love.” Voluntary. VOLUNTARY. Taxes are not voluntary. Taxes have never been voluntary. Jesus was asked about taxes. He brushed them off, saying, “Render therefore unto Ceasar the things which are Ceasar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21 KJV) He makes it pretty clear that he expects you as a Christian to do good works. He will hold each of us accountable for what we have done, and simply paying taxes won’t cut it. The government shouldn’t be in the business of loving thy neighbor, we should. So I have to ask the government to butt out, because He charged me—me personally—with this task. I have not done it well, but that’s between Him and me. The author here almost makes the point, but lets his politics cloud God’s message. There are good parts to this; there are things to think about here. I just don’t think Jesus was concerned about government healthcare. I don’t think His message had anything to do with the tax rate on a $250,000 home in Montgomery. It’s like the author slides right on up to it … then slides right on past the point. I would add something like: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'” (Matthew 9:13 NIV)