This is the first in a series on tax and society and the surrounding issues and this post may be boring for some but it is an important subject, I think.
There has been a great deal of talk in the press about tax recently, especially about tax evasion and tax planning. Tax is always an issue around election time, but now even political parties who have not traditionally defined themselves by tax policies are doing so.
Citizens and denizons of the UK (and other countries) are concerned about the amount of tax that they pay, because it immediately affects their perceived wealth. However, tax is important as it allows for spending on public goods (such as healthcare and education) and discourages ‘bad habits’ of tax payers (duty on cigarettes and alcohol). Even if people do not have children, nor do they intend on having children, it is still correct for their taxes to contribute towards education. This is because everyone benefits from an educated society.
But what has this to do with church?
We are all subjected to rule by our governments, and as Christians, we have subjected ourselves to God. Inevitably there will be conflict between the two authorities so where do we draw the line?
As Christians, we have to ensure that we do not put our trust in human authorities but in God, but this does not mean we should flout our earthly laws nor enter into civil disobedience.
I think, as Christians, we can be good citizens and pay the taxes according to law. Because then, when we stand up on Kingdom issues, we are more likely to be taken seriously.