Taxation is Stealing, Health Care, and Jesus' Teaching on Caesar

Passions seem to be raging on the issue of health care.  One particularly disturbing trend is the expression of the idea that if you support the current health care proposals, you cannot be a Christian.

This idea seems to be an offshoot of the the consistent Christian Libertarian view that taxation is stealing; a teaching that I have yet to see a good Scriptural argument for.  The philosophical arguments abound, but the Scripture seems to remain disturbingly silent.

Despite the teaching of Jesus that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's, the opposite view, that taxation is stealing, continues to be expressed.  The taxation is stealing argument is supported in these articles: The Catholic Church's Confused Idea About Stealing and in What Belongs to Caesar?.   Both do not deal with Jesus' teaching of "Give unto Caesar."

If Caesar thinks that health care for all is a benefit to society, then that is what Caesar chooses.  If we think that Caesar is wrong on the issue of health care, that would just be one of the many things that Caesar is wrong on.  Even if we think that it is not a benefit to society, we are still told to pay our taxes.  The society in which Jesus lived and made the comment to "Give unto Caesar" was also corrupt and wrong on many issues.

Christians have the liberty to stand up and disagree with the government and express our opinion.  As followers of Jesus, we should refrain from going along with the government when what they propose is in direct violation of Scripture.  This teaching excludes taxation because Jesus taught that we are to give to Caesar financially what Caesar demands.  If Caesar tells us not to love a person, we still love them.  If they tell us to only express certain beliefs, we still express what we feel is the truth.  But when it comes to taxation, we still give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.

The money we give in taxation does not always benefit us nor does it always go to things that we support.  For instance, public school is provided by all for the benefit of society.  It doesn't help everyone directly, but it does create a better society by educating children whose parents do not want to educate them at home or cannot afford to send their children to a private school.  The end result is an educated society that should be able to function better.  We also see this with higher education, and like public school, not everyone directly benefits from the money spent.

As a homeschooling family, we do not receive any of the $9,598 annual expense that the local, state, and federal government pay to educate every child (Ohio average as of 2005-2006), nor do most families pay in taxes an equivalent amount to what they receive in schooling benefits.  Most people see a benefit to society and willingly pay our local school taxes.  Every expense of the government does not have to benefit me for it to be beneficial to all of society, nor does it even need to be something that I view as beneficial to society for it to be financially supported by me as a follower of Jesus.

We can disagree in good faith on the issue of health care, but let's refuse to participate in demonizing each other when we disagree on what the government should do.  Even those who think that taxation is stealing can still be Christians. 


Matthew 22

15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16They 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.
17Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

 18But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

 21"Caesar's," they replied.
      Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

 22When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.