Monday, November 2, 2009
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Vote "YES" on I-1033
Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten"Taxes" are NOT Almsgiving

My favorite headline of this election season came from the homosexual newspaper The Stranger. It read "Pastor Joe Fuiten versus...everyone else."

The comparison came when a group of liberal clergy from the Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and United Church of Christ held a press conference to say that we have a moral responsibility to not reduce the size of government as this would adversely harm those who are poor and otherwise disadvantaged. This assemblage of liberals constitutes the "everyone else."

Actually, I have both a point of agreement and a point of disagreement with this group. My point of agreement is that caring for the poor and disadvantaged in a clear mandate of the Gospel. In the second commandment, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," love is plainly and unmistakably set in the context of helping out the person who has been harmed. This is an extremely important point and one that I try to encourage in the life of the church. For example, in this season of Thanksgiving, I ask people to give one day's salary as part of the "One Day to Feed the World" effort. The money given goes to disaster victims and others in need both locally and around the world. (I would welcome your participation. Email me!)

In the Bible, almsgiving is our giving to the poor. It was considered the first act of the righteous life in the Old Testament and affirmed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

This is what the liberal ministers were thinking. At least I hope that is what they were thinking. On the point of helping the poor, we are in agreement. I am considerably less sure if taxes are the mechanism for accomplishing the commandment although many Christians over the generations have subscribed to that viewpoint.

The question I wonder about is this: If my tax money is used to help the poor, does God consider that I have fulfilled my obligation to give alms? If you are Catholic, the question becomes even more acute since Catholics believe almsgiving is an act of penance which removes the guilt of sin. The question would then become, if my taxes help the poor, does paying my taxes count as an act of penance which removes the guilt of sin?

I have a couple of problems with my friends on the liberal side of this question.

First, they seem to have an excessive love of government. God never gave these responsibilities to government. He gave it to righteous people. It becomes a stretch to see government as fulfilling the obligation of the Bible.

Second, they seem to have too little regard for the extra costs of this approach. The cost of collecting taxes is high. The cost of administrators to turn the tax money into programs is high. By the time the money actually gets to the people in need, I would guess that more than half of it has disappeared.

Third, going the government route robs the individual who pays the taxes in two ways: The taxpayer has (1) considerably less money and has (2) considerably less joy that should come from giving to a person in need.

Why not cut out the governmental middle man
and just go direct from giver to recipient?

Beyond helping the poor, which is what the liberals are focusing upon, there is the problem that government has too often become an opponent of Christianity:
  • Government Schools work hard to exclude God and to misrepresent reality.
  • Government promotes immorality with its sex education efforts.
  • The latest version of Government's opposition to God is the Domestic Partnership scheme. Domestic Partnerships are government manufactured homes which are aimed at replacing the home that God has prescribed.
At almost every turn, Government has become my opponent rather than my friend. Government's opposition to what is most important in my life makes me want to limit its power. The best way I know to do that is to limit the money it has available to it. I think I-1033 will limit the government's money so I am voting for it.

Vote "YES" on I-1033.
Vote "REJECT" on R-71
NOW is the time to
in Washington State!
Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is the senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington, and he is the former president of Positive Christian Agenda. Currently, Pastor Fuiten serves on the Board of Directors for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, an associate organization of Focus on the Family.