Yesterday I tried to make clear my belief that all taxation is theft, and Americans are less than admirable Americans if they don't oppose today's taxes, which are ten times greater than the taxes America's Founding Fathers took up arms to fight.
Every 4th of July millions of Americans celebrate "Independence Day," without remembering for a second that the central message of that day is abolishing the government. Any government that seeks to "be as god" (Genesis 3:5) -- especially by taxing more than God demands (ten percent) -- is a "Tyranny" according to The Declaration of Independence. We have not just a right to abolish such an idolatrous government, but the duty.
The question is not whether we should abolish the government, but how.
I submit America's Founding Fathers gave the wrong answer to this question. They took up arms. They killed fellow Christians.
America's Founding Fathers were not perfect. They were products of their times. Although Christianity had been exercising its civilizing effects for 1700 years, there was still much maturing and growth to be done on issues such as slavery, war, and capital punishment.
The Bible could hardly be plainer: we are to pay our taxes and submit to Caesar.
This is not to say that Caesar has a right to do what he does. It simply means that we do not overcome Caesar's evil acts with greater evil.
Here are the key passages:
Matthew 5:38-48 (click the link to read the passage)
There was a law in Israel that permitted Roman soldiers to conscript Israelis and compel them to carry the soldiers' backpacks for up to one mile. Nobody in his right mind would concede that the Roman Empire had a moral right to conquer Israel, put them under military occupation, and order citizens of the conquered nation to perform slave labor. Jesus doesn't deny that the Roman Empire is in violation of "international law" and the Geneva accords. Jesus doesn't deny that government conscription is evil. In fact, He plainly affirms it: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil."
Taxation is evil. We should not resist evil by violent acts against tax collectors.
The Apostle Paul echoes Christ's teachings and again applies the tactics to the Roman Empire:
Romans 12:17 - 13:7
We are not to overcome evil with evil, but with good.
Romans 13 is a dangerously misrepresented text. It is used to legitimize acts of conquest and violence: "The powers that be are ordained of God." The word "powers" means "demonic forces," as in Ephesians 6:12,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
So we do indeed "wrestle" or deny the moral legitimacy of "the powers," but our weapons are not muskets and cannons (1 Corinthians 10:3-5).
1 Peter 2:11-25
Notice in this passage that a conquered people are to submit to the conquerors, and a slave is to obey his slavemaster as if he were obeying Christ Himself (Ephesians 6:5-7). It was not wrong to persuade slave owners to release their slaves (Philemon 1:14-16). Just as the abolition of the institution of slavery was a Christian thing to do (as Wilberforce did it, but not as Lincoln did it), even though God commands slaves to obey their masters, so the abolition of the taxing institution would be a Christian thing to do, if done through persausion rather than violence, even though God commands us to obey evil extortionate tax collectors.
America's Founding Fathers believed some taxation was necessary. They were wrong. We must purge our collective consciousness of the idea that some people have a moral right to use violence against others.
In the mean time,
"Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor" (Romans 13:7).