Christians should pay taxes in gratitude

Published April 18, 2023

WORLD Opinions

Today is affectionately referred to as “Tax Day,” the filing deadline for Americans to pay what they owe in federal taxes. You know the joke, as Mark Twain would quote it, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.

It is a common sentiment that no one likes paying taxes. “Taxation is theft” is a phrase I’ve heard more times than I can repeat. The idea that one’s hard-earned money would be forcibly taken from them and distributed to a nameless, faceless, and wasteful bureaucracy is no small source of anger, cynicism, and distrust.

I know the feeling. It is one I’ve harbored for most of my life. I used to have immense resentment toward paying taxes because I know how to use my money better than the government does. And that’s true. And hear me: I’m not wanting to pay more than what I owe, but my attitude toward taxes is an arena where I have seen the Lord change my heart in how I think. Taxes are one tangible way we are called to live together under the broadest construction of the common good, believing that we are all in this project that we call “America” together. If you’re anything like me, you might need Biblical reminders on paying taxes.

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EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the moral principles that support civil society and sound government. A sought-after speaker and cultural commentator, Dr. Walker’s academic research interests and areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, social conservatism, and church-state studies. The author or editor of more than ten books, he is passionate about helping Christians understand the moral demands of the gospel and their contributions to human flourishing and the common good. His most recent book, out in May 2021 from Brazos Press, is titled Liberty for All: Defending Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Secular Age.

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