Thursday, February 4, 2010

"The Bible Opposes Socialism: Part 6" (Steve C. Halbrook)

The Bible gives an example of a civil flat tax in Exodus 30:11-16:
The LORD said to Moses, “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the LORD. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the LORD’s offering. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the LORD’s offering to make atonement for your lives. You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the LORD, so as to make atonement for your lives.”
Notice how the rich and the poor are taxed at exactly the same rate.While this tax is for the service of the tent of meeting, which no longer exists, perhaps this example of a flat tax should nevertheless be our model for taxation.

Unless I am mistaken, this is the only explicit prescriptive example in the Bible about how the poor should be taxed in relation to the rich. If this is the case, this is just another reason why socialism—which opposes the flat tax, preferring to tax “the rich” disproportionately higher than the poor—is unbiblical.

Daniel F.N. Ritchie argues why the above is a civil and not a priestly tax:
“[I]t should be remembered that in Matt. 17:24-27, Christ recognises this tax as a royal rather than a priestly tax by asking Peter ‘from whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?’ (Matt. 17:25)—which indicates that it was a tax to be paid to civil, not ecclesiastical, officers. Hence, He reasoned with Peter that He was exempt from this tax, since He was the son of David, the King of Israel (Matt. 17:26), nevertheless, he paid it in order not to give offense (Matt. 17:27).” Daniel F. N. Ritchie, A Conquered Kingdom: Biblical Civil Government (Saintfield, Northern Ireland: Reformed Worldview Books, 2008), 425, 426.

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