It is one of my great passions, the desire to see me, and the evangelical church take the evil of abortion more seriously, to have our hearts more deeply broken, and our actions more faithful. We have all, I fear, come to accept the status quo. We are content to vote for Republicans hoping they will give us justices that will slow down the horror. What we are generally unwilling to do is go through any kind of hardship to stop abortion. When I am asked about this, should we stop paying taxes, I am at least heartened to know that there are some willing to pay dearly to win this battle. Not paying taxes rarely ends up comfortably for those who won’t pay.
Paying Taxes We Owe
That said I can say with confidence that Christians should in fact pay whatever taxes they owe even when that money ends up financing abortions. The Christian who pays such taxes has no need to feel guilty, while the Christian that refuses to pay, however well intentioned, ought to feel guilty.
Theologians have long understood the principle that must be applied here—we are responsible for our own actions, not the actions of others. In this instance, the Bible is quite clear about our obligation to pay our taxes (Mark 12:17). It is also clear that the proper function of the state is not to finance evil, but to punish it (Romans 13). Their failure to do what God calls them to do, however, does not mean I am free to not do what I am commanded to do. That they have so horribly misused the taxes that I have paid doesn’t mean I am guilty of what they have done. I have been taxed, and when those taxes are paid, they are no longer mine. What the state does with them may be something I should speak against. It may be something I should condemn. But I am not guilty.
Remember that the same Caesar to whom Jesus commanded taxes be paid used those taxes for what may be the only thing worse than abortion. Those tax moneys financed the judgment of Pilate. They paid the salaries of the Roman soldiers. They purchased the nails that held our Lord on the cross. Those taxes crucified the Lord of Glory.
More close to home, suppose the more a husband loves his wife the less she respects him, or the more the wife respects her husband the less he loves her. In either instance we are not to try to guess the result of our behavior. We are supposed to do what God commands. We are not responsible for the results of what we do. We are responsible to obey whatsoever God commands. We are called not to success, but to obedience.
The state should repent for all misuses of taxes paid. Christians should prophesy against the state when they do evil, including financing evil. We should all be on our knees imploring God to stop the horror. But we should pay our taxes. March on Washington. Preach outside your local mill. Write your congressman. Support your local crisis pregnancy center. And, as painful as it may be, trusting in His providence, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, our taxes, and unto God the things that are God’s—obedience.
In this conversation we look at not only different governments, like church, family and state, but how these governments ought to relate one to another. We consider our own temptations to use one sphere of authority to get our way in another. Available in CD or MP3 format.