Is Our Tax Code Biblical?

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Is <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America's Tax Code Biblical? By Brannon S. Howse
The following is an excerpt from Brannon's new book, Put Your Beliefs To The Test, 82 Questions That Reveal Whether You Think Like A Christian or Modern-Day Liberal, which will be released October 29th. Order your personally signed copy now at:
True or False: The most Biblically based tax system would be one built on a flat tax where everyone pays the same percentage of their income in taxes.  
The Humanist Manifestos call for punishing wealthy people by requiring them to pay a higher tax rate. Although the Bible teaches that we are not to covet, when the government takes from the rich through a punitive tax system, it is not only discouraging work but is coveting-and acquiring-money to which it has no ethically legitimate claim.
Humanists generally want to redistribute wealth through some form of socialism, but their goal is not even possible. While money can be redistributed, redistribution can never provide enough money to make everyone wealthy. When the government attempts to take from the rich to give to the "poor," they really are taking capital from businesspeople who then are unable to expand their companies, start new companies, and create additional jobs which energize the economy. They are also less able to consume products themselves.
When fewer goods and services are purchased, people at all income levels suffer. If new cars remain on the sales lot, for instance, jobs are lost from the factory assembly line down to the car dealer. When home sales slump, wages disappear for the builder, the mortgage banker, realtor, home inspector, carpenter, concrete company, bricklayers, roofing company, landscaper, carpet layer, and movers. It is a fallacy to think the government can take by force from those with wealth in order to benefit the economy.
Consider another angle on the taxation issue as well. The Lord only asks for a 10% tithe of what we earn. I submit that if God requests only 10% of our income for His work, the government has no need of 50% or more. The combination of federal taxes, state tax, sales taxes, tolls, airline tax, car tax, property tax, gasoline tax, et al, is far more than 50% if you earn an average income. However, most Americans do not recognize how much they pay in taxes because many are "hidden taxes"-meaning people pay them without recognizing them as taxes (such as an amount figured into the purchase price of a product).
Notice, too, that God did not set up a progressive tithing system where the more you make, the larger the percentage you tithe. David Barton offers this observation from Scripture:
The current income tax structure in the United States mandates a higher tax rate or percentage the more a person makes. This tax system is contradicted by scripture, especially Exodus 30:11-15, which provided a "half a shekel" tax for everyone numbered. Verse 15 states: "The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel." In addition, the Biblical tithe is not applied progressively, rather it is applied equally to everyone ("And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord.…And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord." Lev. 27:30,32).[1]
Scripture commands everyone to tithe 10% of their income. So why should the government not follow this example? Since civil government was created by God, it makes sense that the tax system should reflect God's standards. That's far from what we see in our current system, of course. In 1960, the average taxpayer worked 36 days to pay all of his or her taxes, but by 2003, it took 189 days. That means American taxpayers now work half the year just to pay their taxes.[2]
Many Christians defend the government's unBiblical tax policies by citing Jesus' words that we should render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. The question arises, though, "what is Caesar's?" Is Caesar entitled to 50% of what you earn? That's certainly questionable. In addition, Jesus Christ was speaking of the Roman Empire. In America, we are Caesar in that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Not only is a progressive income tax being unBiblical, so is the capital gains tax, as described by author, historian, and Worldview Weekend speaker, David Barton:
The capital gains tax, which is a tax on profits, actually penalizes a person for success (i.e., the more profit a person makes, the higher the tax rate they pay; profit/windfall of an initial investment) the more profit you make, the more you have to pay. However, in the Bible, the more profit you make, the more you are rewarded. Both the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the parable of the minas (Luke 19:12-27) conflict with the notion of a tax on capital gains. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away." In other words, the Bible implies that those who do well (invest) with what they have will be given more.[3]
The Bible even speaks about how the hourly minimum wage law is a violation of the Biblical principle of private contract. David Barton explains:
The parable of the landowner and laborers (Matt 20:1-16) is applicable to the employer/employee relationship and the issue of wages.  The landowner hires workers at different times of the day and yet pays each worker the same amount at the end of the day. When the workers hired first complain, the landowner replies, "Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? ("things" is translated as "money" in some versions)"  There is an implication that the landowner had a right to determine the wages his workers received, as well as an implication that the workers could accept or reject the landowner's offer of work. James 5:4 provides a balance in that the Lord hears the cries of the laborers who are cheated out of wages they are due.[4]
John Stossel, author and anchor of ABC News program 20/20, notes in his book Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity how the minimum wage law actually hurts the low-income workers it purports to help:
Just as price controls discourage production, wage controls discourage hiring. The poorest workers are hurt most. When you fix wages above the market rate, the rate freely set by the give-and-take of supply and demand, you temporarily help experienced workers by giving them an artificial raise. But you also take away all incentive to hire an "entry-level" worker.[5]
Stossel goes on to point out how few Americans actually earn minimum wage:
Russell Roberts, an economics professor at George Mason University, makes it a practice when he gives lectures to "educated" groups to ask them what proportion of the workforce earns the minimum wage. These are congressional staffers, law professors, and journalists. The typical answer is 20 percent of the workforce. The correct answer is less than 3 percent. "It's always a good reality check for people," he says. "People need to realize that competition for workers keeps wages up, not legislation.[6]
Another angle on Biblical taxation principles relates to inheritance. What parents do not want to leave both a spiritual inheritance and a financial inheritance to their children and grandchildren? However, thanks to our government and its unBiblical inheritance tax, also known as the "death tax," it is becoming increasingly difficult to leave a financial inheritance to children and grandchildren. Note well what the Bible says about leaving an inheritance and how our federal government is violating this Biblical principle:
The Bible speaks to the issue of inheritance numerous times. Proverbs 13:22 states "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children" (something that is not likely with the current estate tax which can take up to 55% of an estate, leaving 45% to the children; when the children pass it on to the grandchildren, up to 55% of the remaining 45% can be taken, leaving only 27% of the original that would be passed on to the "children's children"). Ezekiel 46:18 states that "the prince shall not take any of the people's inheritance by evicting them from their property; he shall provide an inheritance for his sons from his own property, so that none of My people may be scattered from his property." Other scriptures that deal with inheritance are Proverbs 19:14, I Chronicles 28:8, and Ezra 9:12.[7]
Further, it is a myth that the wealthy do not pay their share. A 2003 study reveals that 80% of taxes were paid by just 20% of Americans. In fact, here's how various income levels contribute to the tax collections in the United States:
• The top 5% pay 53% of all income taxes;
• The top 10% pay 65%;
• The top 25% pay 83%;
• The top 50% pay 96%;
• The bottom 50% pays a mere 4% of all income taxes.
That is to say that the top 1% pays more than ten times the federal income tax as the bottom 50%! But note this:
• The top 1% earns only 17.5% of all income;
• The top 5% earns 32%;
• The top 10% earns 43%;
• The top 25% earns 65%;
•The top 50% earns 86% of the income.[8]
If you compare the breakdowns of taxes and incomes, you'll see that the higher income brackets pay far more than their share of taxes-in some cases, three times as much. If the tax structure were "flattened," they would still pay more tax than lower income people, but the burden would be fairly distributed.
The following is an excerpt from Brannon's new book, Put Your Beliefs To The Test, 82 Questions That Reveal Whether You Think Like A Christian or Modern-Day Liberal, which will be released October 29th. Order your personally signed copy now at:

[1] Article by David Barton at his website

[2] From the website of Citizens Against Government Waste.

[3] Article by David Barton from his website

[4] Ibid;

[5] John Stossel, Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity (JFS Productions, Inc. and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., 2006), p. 62.

[6] Ibid., p. 63.

[7] Article by David Barton from his website

[8] A government study sited online at

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