And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him. (King James Bible, Mark 12:17)
If you look at what the bible says about paying taxes, you’ll find the above verse… the chief priests and scribes of Israel wanted to arrest Jesus, and so they tricked him by asking whether paying taxes was lawful. If he said that you should pay taxes, then the people listening to his message would be discouraged from following him. If he said that you shouldn’t pay taxes then the elders would haul him off to jail. He asked the people whose picture was on the coin, and when they answered ‘Caesar’, he told them to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. He basically told them that Caesar made the money and distributed it, so it’s only fair that they were to give back the portion he asked of them.
The ‘IRS’ (of their time) was unable to arrest him.
Another story you’ve probably heard is the one of Al Capone, the famous racketeer. He was making, selling, and distributing liquor – against the law in his time. He also committed murder – the St. Valentine’s Day massacre was a killing of 7 gangsters by another mob posing as police. These impostors probably belonged to Al Capone.
The FBI was still new and didn’t have the powers that it possesses now. Al Capone was wanted in several states, and none of them could simply step in and arrest him. After 2 grand jury hearings, both of which arrested (and shortly after released) Capone for ‘Contempt of Court’, it didn’t seem anyone could arrest Capone for his obvious crimes. Then the IRS stepped in and arrested him for tax evasion. Yeah, the IRS could do what the FBI couldn’t.
Our tax system is messed up. The US Constitution states that laws must be written in plain language that the common person can understand, so that everyone can follow the laws without any claim to ignorance. Can any one person understand all of our tax laws? And yet we’re required to follow them. It’s a sad state when any time the government feels a need to arrest us, they’ll fall back on the tax code when all else fails. If we can’t be arrested for real crimes, they’ll arrest us for tax crimes. Not that this is anything new – it’s been happening for 2,000 years. But if Jesus had lived under our current tax code, he probably wouldn’t have escaped it.
On an unrelated note, isn’t it strange that the only entities in our entire country that don’t pay taxes are churches? Really. The bible states that paying taxes is as much a duty as tithing, and yet churches don’t pay taxes. You’d think they’d want to ‘do their duty’, even if the country provided them with a way out (in the same way that tithing is optional and yet encouraged).
On another unrelated note, have you actually read the new health bill that was passed? Is anything written in plain language anymore? I wish the Supreme Court would shut modern laws down on this basis, and send them back to be rewritten. It would end the ‘earmarks’ problem modern bills suffer from.