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Thread: Paying taxes?

  1. #1
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    Paying taxes?

    I just read that the JWs pay their taxes based on Jesus statement "render unto caesar" I suppose.

    I would think that churches would not pay taxes based on that scripture.

    If you look at it, when Jesus made the statement "render unto Caesar", he was answering a question by Pharisees whom he knew were trying to trick him.

    They asked "Is it lawful to pay taxes to caesar?"

    Since they knew it was lawful by Roman law, they were asking if it was lawful by God's law.

    Jesus asked for a coin and asked whose image was on it. The Pharisees answered "Caesar's".

    Jesus then said "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's".

    To anybody who had no familiarity with the Ten Commandments, Jesus' answer WOULD actually sound as if he was saying we should pay a fair share to "Caesar" and a fair share to God.

    But notice what Jesus asked the Pharisees: "Whose IMAGE is on this coin?"

    There is a law in the Ten Comandments dealing with images, and the Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus was referring to. The second comandment says Israel was not to make any graven images of any kind(Caesar's image was an engraved image on a coin), nor were they to bow down nor serve any graven image of any kind.

    The law said clearly that Israel was not to bow down nor serve Caesar's image on the coin at all.

    According to law, therefore, Jesus was actually saying what the Pharisees already knew, but were trying to trap Jesus so they could send him to prison. The Pharisees knew that the Ten Commandments forbade Israel from serving Caesar by honoring his image on a coin or bowing down to it.

    Had Jesus answered by saying "You know it's not lawful to pay taxes to Caesar", the Pharisees had Jesus in trouble with Rome. If Jesus said "It's lawful to pay taxes to Caesar", the Pharisees had Jesus in trouble with the Sanhedrin.

    Jesus, therefore, answered their question by refering them to the image on the coin, and simply said "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's...".

    So, according to law, what is caesar's? Nothing at all!

    But look at the US Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Is there a Caesar mentioned?

    No. All men are created equal before God. No Caesar. The 1st Amendment says Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of a religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    One has only to read the second commandment and refuese to pay taxes in the form of dead presidents' images. Any citizen in the US can refuse to use Federal Reserve Notes and do transactions in any way that would force them to pay taxes because of the equality of all citizens(14th amendment, 5th amendment), and they can refuse to pay taxes because of the 1st Amendment.

    Since Jesus referred to the second commandment, "Caesar", by Jesus' teaching and by our own US laws, cannot claim one cent of taxes from free people.

  2. #2
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Why do you care if they pay taxes?



    Besides...aren't they a corporation or company or LLC....

    The Watchtower and Tract Society.....

    Is it a business or church?

    Regardless, why does it bother you that according to their good concience, they feel they need to pay taxes?

    At least we know they are not trying to take undue advantage of exemption like other religious communities...

  3. #3
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman View Post
    Why do you care if they pay taxes?



    Besides...aren't they a corporation or company or LLC....

    The Watchtower and Tract Society.....

    Is it a business or church?

    Regardless, why does it bother you that according to their good concience, they feel they need to pay taxes?

    At least we know they are not trying to take undue advantage of exemption like other religious communities...
    No one is ever happy, oh well

  4. #4
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    A correct interpretation of Christ's views on this are below:


    Jesus on Taxes: Nothing is (Rightly) Caesar's!


    The story of Jesus commanding us to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's (Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26) is commonly misrepresented as His commanding us to give to Caesar the denari which he asks for (i.e., to pay taxes to government) as--it is assumed--the denari are Caesar's, being that they have Caesar's image and name on them. But Jesus never said that this was so! What Jesus did say though was an ingenious case of rhetorical misdirection to avoid being immediately arrested, which would have interfered with Old Testament prophecy of His betrayal as well as His own previous predictions of betrayal.

    When the Pharisees asked Him whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar they did so as a ruse in the hopes of being able to either have Him arrested as a rebel by the Roman authorities or to have Him discredited in the eyes of His followers. At this time in Israel's history it was an occupied territory of the Roman Empire, and taxes--which were being used to support this occupation--were much hated by the mass of the common Jews. Thus, this question was a clever Catch-22 posed to Jesus by the Pharisees: if Jesus answered that it is not lawful then the Pharisees would have Him put away, but if He answered that it is lawful then He would appear to be supporting the subjection of the Jewish people by a foreign power. Luke 20:20 makes the Pharisees' intent in asking this question quite clear:

    So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

    Thus, Jesus was not free to answer in just any casual manner. Of the Scripture prophecies which would have gone unfulfilled had He answered that it was fine to decline paying taxes and been arrested because of it are the betrayal by Judas (Psalm 41:9; Zech. 11:12,13), and His betrayer replaced (Psalm 109:8--see Acts 1:20); see also Acts 1:15-26 and Psalm 69:25. Here is a quote from Peter on this matter from Acts 1:16:

    "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus."

    In Matt. 26:54,56 and Mark 14:49 Jesus testifies to this exact same thing after He was betrayed by Judas. As well, Jesus Himself twice foretold of His betrayal before He was asked the question on taxes--see Matt. 17:22; 20:18; Mark 9:31; 10:33; and Luke 9:44; 19:31. See also John 13:18-30, which testifies to the necessity of the fulfillment of Psalm 41:9, as Jesus here foretells of His betrayal by Judas.

    In addition, it appears that the only reason Jesus paid the temple tax (and by supernatural means at that) as told in Matt. 17:24-27 was so as not to stir up trouble which would have interfered with the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture and Jesus's previous prediction of His betrayal as told in Matt. 17:22--neither of which would have been fulfilled had Jesus not paid the tax and been arrested because of it. Jesus Himself supports this view when He said of it "Nevertheless, lest we offend them . . ." (NKJV), which can also be translated "But we don't want to cause trouble" (CEV). He said this after in effect saying that those who pay customs and taxes are not free (v. 25,26)--yet one reason Jesus came was to call us to liberty (Luke 4:18; Gal. 4:7; 5:1,13,14; 1 Cor. 7:23; 2 Cor. 3:17; James 1:25; 2:12).

    It should be remembered in all of this that it was Jesus Himself who told us "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matt. 10:16). Jesus was being wise as a serpent as He never told us to pay taxes to Caesar, of which He could have done and still fulfilled Scripture and His previous predictions of betrayal. But the one thing He couldn't have told people was that it was okay not to pay taxes as He would have been arrested on the spot, and Scripture and His predictions of betrayal would have gone unfulfilled. Yet the most important thing in all this is what Jesus did not say. Jesus never said that all or any of the denari were Caesar's! Jesus simply said "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's." But this just begs the question, What is Caesar's? Simply because the denari have Caesar's name and image on them no more make them his than one carving their name into the back of a stolen TV set makes it theirs. Yet everything Caesar has has been taken by theft and extortion, therefore nothing is rightly his.

    Tax Collectors are Sinners!

    A further demonstration that Jesus considered the institution of taxation to be unjust is given in the below story:

    Matthew 9:9-13: As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (See also Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32.)

    It's important to point out here that Jesus actually made a stronger case against the unrighteousness of tax collectors than the Pharisees originally had in questioning Jesus's disciples about it: the Pharisees actually separated the tax collectors from the sinners when they asked "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Yet when Jesus heard this He answered the Pharisees by lumping the two groups together under the category of sinners--thus: "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

    Yet since this is the story of Matthew the tax collector being called to repentance by Jesus we will do well to ask how it was that Matthew obtained repentance. The answer: By first giving up tax collecting! And from this beginning Matthew would thus go on to become one of Jesus's twelve disciples.

    Link

  5. #5
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman View Post
    Regardless, why does it bother you that according to their good concience, they feel they need to pay taxes?
    They don't "feel a need to pay taxes" - they are threatened with force if they do not pay.

  6. #6
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth-Bringer View Post
    They don't "feel a need to pay taxes" - they are threatened with force if they do not pay.
    ???

    You mean the church is threatened by the government...???

    What are you talking about?

    Individuals within the church SHOULD pay their taxes..

    If you are talking about the church being "threatened with force" what are you referring to and in what context?

    Forgive my ignorance, but it seems like a ridiculous idea that the church body feels threatened....

    And if the church body did feel threatened by the leadership...there may be something wrong there worth noting...

    But isn't this discussion about the church paying taxes rather than claiming exemption?
    This is more of a matter of collective agreement to their doctrinal statement isn't it?


    ....Guess maybe you'll have to explain your last to me.
    I tend to be a bit slow at times...
    Last edited by bibleman; 11-06-2008 at 05:50 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman View Post
    Individuals within the church SHOULD pay their taxes..
    The individuals within the church are threatened with force if they do not pay their taxes.

    Taxation is theft. It is not a contribution. If you refuse to pay, you will receive threatening letters demanding payment. If you ignore them, eventually a case will be filed in court. If you ignore the summons and fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and men with guns will come to your home to take you to jail. If you tell them you're not going and to leave your property, they will forcibly try to take you in. If you physically resist and fight back, they can and will legally kill you. That is taking money by threat of force, and by force if the threat isn't sufficient. That is theft, which is continual in the case of taxation and which therefore equates to slavery, and it is immoral.

    "To take a man's property without his consent is robbery; and to assume his consent where no consent is given, makes the taking none the less robbery. If it did not, the highwayman has the same right to assume a man's consent to part with his purse, that any other man, or body of men, can have. And his assumption would afford as much moral justification for his robbery as does a like assumption, on the part of the government, for taking a man's property without his consent. The government's pretense of protecting him, as an equivalent for the taxation, affords no justification. It is for himself to decide whether he desires such protection as the government offers him. If he does not desire it, or does not bargain for it, the government has no more right, than any other insurance company to impose it upon him, or make him pay for it." - Lysander Spooner, "Trial by Jury"

  8. #8
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Truth Bringer, very good. You've done your homework!

    If any religion feels that they should pay taxes, they are free to do so.

    However, a look at the second commandment, and Jesus' reference to Caesar's image, show clearly that there is no biblical obligation for any believer to pay taxes. In fact, the evidence, as truth bringer shows, strongly indicates the opposite.

    While Paul writes in Romans 13 to pay tribute to whom tribute is due, a simple examination of Jesus' statement and reference to images shows clearly that tribute is due only to God.

    The 1st Amendment states clearly that congress is to make no law regarding the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In fact, by granting tax exemption to organized religion, it is in fact recognizing established religions and giving preference to those religions which preach the necessity of taxation. The fact that such religious groups apply for tax exemption promotes the idea of the government's right to make tax laws regarding religious beliefs in spite of the 1st Amendment.

    A truly free religion would be able to simply say, "We're not paying taxes because we do not believe in your ridiculous, short sighted economic policies that enslave American citizens".

    In fact, if we had a truly free government, there would likely be as many different governments in the U.S. as there are religions, with individuals choosing that government which best suited its needs.

    This is not very far from the state sovereignty proposed in "The Federalist" and in the idea of the founding US fathers.

  9. #9
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth-Bringer View Post
    The individuals within the church are threatened with force if they do not pay their taxes.
    You make this statement.....but then in the rest....

    You are talking about the police arresting someone who has not paid their taxes and the threat of arrest for those thinking of not paying....

    How is this the church threatening harm again?

  10. #10
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman View Post
    You make this statement.....but then in the rest....

    You are talking about the police arresting someone who has not paid their taxes and the threat of arrest for those thinking of not paying....

    How is this the church threatening harm again?
    I've never stated the Church was going to threaten anyone with physical force, but if they are falsely interpreting Christ's teachings to claim that people should pay because God wants them to, then they are defrauding their congregation.

  11. #11
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    An individual might not wish to render unto caesar, but that can be construed in this country as tax evasion, and that can land one in a 6x10 cell. At that point he will most likely find himself bent over a rack and forced to render unto Bubba. :judges:

  12. #12
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth-Bringer View Post
    I've never stated the Church was going to threaten anyone with physical force, but if they are falsely interpreting Christ's teachings to claim that people should pay because God wants them to, then they are defrauding their congregation.


    Ok, now I gotcha...

    From what I've seen, it is common practice (and good advice) for churches to NOT discourage their congregation from paying taxes!
    It also seems like good advice for them to teach NOT to work against their local governments so long as they stay within the bounds of morality...

    Read Adam W's reply.


    But I guess you are saying that the 'render to Ceasar's" teaching encouraging tax paying is not biblical...

  13. #13
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/...passage=1SAM+8

    God prefers Libertarianism as shown in this Biblical reference. God gave His people Judges and who tended to the needs of advising and overseeing disputes. Among these not just the great warrior Sampson but also Deborah a wife and woman of great wisdom who could command the Hebrews to war.

    Its when they had two bad choices they demanded a King who was warned by God the power a King would have, and went against the desires of God demanding a King.

    So I would say taxes must be paid because any worldly government is the result of sin and rebellion and you have to obey the wishes of the State. Even in the US founded on Libertarian ideals it was corrupted and abused far over the simple goverment in the Constitution.

    As for the First Amendment where does it state a Church cannot pay taxes the government cannot establish a religion or advocate a religion, it doesn't say they cannot be taxed.

  14. #14
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    You are free to pay taxes if you wish. However, when the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, he asked for a coin. He then asked the Pharisees whose image was on the coin.

    Remember, the pharisees asked if it was LAWFUL(by God's law) to pay taxes to Caesar. By asking whose image was on the coin, Jesus casually reminded them that there is a commandment that deals directly with images. From Exodus 20, we see the second commandment:

    "You shall not make for yourself a graven image(Caesar's image was an engraved, or 'graven' image on the coin) or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them..."

    By pointing to the coin and asking the Pharisees whose image was on the coin, jesus tied together four important subjects: money, taxes, law, and images.

    Since the Pharisees knew quite well the second commandment, they knew already that it was NOT lawful for Israel to pay taxes to caesar. They were merely trying to trap Jesus.

    Knowing of their trap, Jesus merely said "render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's". The Pharisees dared not argue either way, since they would be in trouble themselves.

    According to what is plainly written in the second commandment, in reference to Jesus' question, what belongs to Caesar?

    Absolutely nothing! There is no escaping that simple fact.

    Now, as to your argument regarding the first amendment. Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of a religion nor PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.

    The amendment not only regards establishment of a religion, but prohibiting the free exercise of our religious beliefs. If I believe that Jesus was directly referring to the second commandment in regard to taxes, then certainly I am free not to pay taxes.

    Second, there is no "Caesar" anywhere in the Constitution. All people are created equal, and all stand equal before a creator, as the declaration of independence states. There is no Caesar to which we can render taxes.

    If you believe otherwise, you are free to believe otherwise. That's what religious freedom is about. But if you make a law that forces me to abandon my religious beliefs, you cancel my free exercise of religion, and that is unConstitutional.

  15. #15
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    What about non-Christians one would be hard pressed in say Judaism to say one shouldn't pay taxes, Natural Law would argue as part of a community that provides services you and others need one should pay for them and other faiths like Confusionism would demand it as a service to your rightful leaders - they also argue leaders should be wise in using them however.

    As for the First Amendment it says nothing against paying taxes for services in fact if one paid taxes then they would not have restriction on social and political speech. The small church I attend is not tax-exempt and so we can preach openly about who to vote for, against issues we disagree with and be who we want to be. Our school is tax-exempt not the church we incorporated them seperately. So in fact if one want to speak out and be heard on worldly matters its best a church or other body pay taxes.

  16. #16
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    Re: Paying taxes?

    Natural law doesn't require paying taxes. As I said, if you want to pay taxes, you can certainly do so. However, there is no authoritative biblical statement comanding us to pay taxes.

    Tax collectors were despised in Jesus' day, and as Jesus plainly pointed out by mentioning the image of caesar on the coin, there is a law against bowing down to images.

    Whatever you do is your belief, but that's all it is.

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