"To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." ~ Thomas Jefferson
I agree that our taxes are sinfully tyrannical and that they are being used to propagate abhorrent ideas!But, interesting question... If our taxes were biblical in proportion and were only being used to fund legitimate causes (such as just war), would it be wrong to force a pacifist to pay them?
Interesting question. I assumed the quote by Jefferson presupposed that the ideas being propagated where morally evil. I doubt he was suggesting that a man who believes a lie should be exempt from funding the truth. (Or if he was, than we were both wrong.)In answer to the specific case suggested...I don't see any thing in Deuteronomy 20 that would allow a man to be exempt from war simply because he did not believe in violence...unless that was really a reaction to fear. So if a man could not be exempt from actual fighting, could he be exempt from involuntarily contributing financially to war in the form of the Biblical tax?As a side to that, there is the question of how to fund extremely expensive (but lawful)government endeavors.If I am not mistaken, the Biblical tax doesn't allow for any additional taxes above the set head tax. If war should arise, does the government have the authority to mandate a special "war-time tax"? I think not. But would they need to? If the war was just (i.e. in defense of life, liberty, and property), and/or, as we see in the OT, God verbally commanding His people to be His hand of judgment, godly men should have and did rise to the call--often at their own will and expense. If a man wanted to increase his likelihood of survival, he bought a better sword, stronger armor, faster horse, better gun, warmer uniform, etc... My point being, if the cause is just, the people volunteer their resources to protect their family, friends, and nation's life and liberty. Does scripture allow governmental drafting of men and resources from an unwilling people? Interestingly, there are always going to be those who would not wish to participate in a just war of defense, but I would think most of them qualify for the Biblical exemptions; having just built a house, married a wife, planted a vineyard, or are simply shaking in their boots. Those who do not qualify for those exemptions, are the ones who have the most at stake and are the most likely to take up arms in defense of their family, property and freedom.
Thanks for your thoughts, Shad. What you said about individuals rising up to fund just causes reminded me of Robert Morris, and, reading a little more about him today, I realized that he seemingly funded the War for Independence single-handedly. At a time when a "war-time tax," whether biblical or not, would not have been tolerated since freedom from taxation was one of the main platforms of the war, Robert Morris became the first Superintendent of Finance under the Articles of Confederation. Because of the pitiful state of national finances, he sometimes used his own money to buy supplies for the army. To convince the troops to march with Washington to Yorktown, he paid them a month's salary out of his own pocket. Because the money printed by Congress was worthless, he issued his own "Morris Notes" backed by gold. And at the end of the war, he partially paid all the troops' salaries, a debt our nation still owes him. Reading about God's use of men like him makes God's providence in the formation of our nation breath-takingly obvious. Wow!
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