The Catholic Defender: The IRS and Taxes
The IRS, can we say, modern day tax collectors, have a difficult job. They are responsible for collecting and ensuring that every taxpayer pays their "just" amount. That would seem to be a very difficult task indeed with the current tax laws and the volume of participants throughout the country. It would and should be black and white, no gray areas. From the biblical perspective, Mark 12:13-17 states, "They sent some Pharisees and Herodians to him to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, 'Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion. You do not regard a person's status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Ceasar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?' Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, 'Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at." They brought one to him and he said to them, 'Whose image and inscription is this?' They replied to him, 'Caesar's.' So Jesus said to them, 'Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.' They were utterly amazed at him."
What is the purpose for taxes? It has a necessary importance. For the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the first and foremost is to build a strong military that defends the freedoms that our Nation and Constitution employs. When the President is not based as "Commander in Chief", the military hurts which is like lowering our hands increasing the vulnerability to enemy attack. When our Troops are not able to train, when they can't afford the education to sent prospective leaders to military schools, the nation suffers. The cost to upkeep the strongest military in the world is nothing compared to the potential we have of great people leading and keeping our military strong from our Commanders down to the buck Sergeant taking care of his troops. They need to be supported. Again, from the Biblical teaching, Luke 22:35-38 states, "He said to them, 'When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?' 'No, nothing,' they replied. He said to them, 'But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, 'He was counted among the wicked'; and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.' Then they said, 'Lord, look, there are two swords here.' But he replied, 'It is enough!"
During my 26 plus years in the United States Army, many times I was challenged by some who questioned my being a Christian serving in the Army. People sometimes are misinformed about the nature of being a Christian and being a member of the military. Luke 3:10-14 states, "And the crowds asked him, 'What then should we do?' He said to them in reply, 'Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.' Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, 'Teacher, what should we do?' He answered them, 'Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.' Soldiers also asked him, 'And what is it that we should do?' He told them, 'Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages." For tax collectors (IRS) and Soldiers, both have an important purpose of service, but they are not to abuse their positions among the people for personal gain. One more point concerning the military:
Luke 7:1-10 states, "When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come saying, 'He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.' And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, 'Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,; and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.' When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health."
From the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is clear from the Scripture that a nation has the means to defend itself from those who would wrongly attack it. From this debate, I can add the importance of police officers who keep the peace and enforce just laws for society. I can also recognize the importance of supporting the Medical community, the Emergency Medical Professionals, the Paramedics who are first responders to those in need. As I look at this, it is important for the Government to have a system of receiving revenue to care for these things. However, what do we do when things get out of hand? From the Scripture and Christian Tradition, there is a firm foundation for taxing people for the care of the nation. However, when more and more people prefer to sit in the wagon instead of getting out and help pulling it, this causes a terrible drain on the population.
In the early 1960's, there might be 1 person receiving benefits for every 50 people working. Today, it is getting close to 1 person receiving benefits for every three or four people working? How can this continue especially when the current Administration continues to over spend annually more than a trillion dollars. We are now more than 16 trillion dollars in debt and 40% of the dollar is paying the interest back to China. This is a serious situation. For the first time, our credit rating as a Country went from a triple star downgraded to a two star rating. This is incredible that our Government willfully choose to not correct the situation. The past few years, the constant infringement of our religious freedom and beliefs have been not only attacked but disregarded. How can any sensible person agree with the use of tax funded money being used for the killing of unborn children.
People are not given a voice where their tax dollars go. To support Gay Marriage, artificial birth control, the National Endowment of the Arts (who are paid tax dollars for blasphemy), how can this be? The argument goes from having taxes to using tax money (many billions of dollars) for anti-Christian issues. The IRS as tax collectors care not about you, your beliefs, your foundations. They are for getting what they seek, more and more money. St. John the Baptist's words ring true even now, "Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, 'Teacher, what should we do?' He answered them, 'Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.' My wife and I went and had our taxes between 2001 and 2009 filing jointly as opposed to separately. We found that we owed the Government $17,000 and that is not a good thing. Things have not changed as we did the same thing for 2013-16 and we owe still more despite sending more dollars than required.
We worked tirelessly to have this paid off only to have the IRS continue to come back wanting more. By March 2017, we still strive to pay off this debt. Recently, they are wanting nearly $2,000 more despite the fact that we received notification that our amount owed was "NONE"! When we produced the IRS statement that we owed nothing, they had to morph their attempt to collect by addressing the fact that my name was not on their reply. Forget the fact that we filed jointly and that they send out personal letters with the same information to each of us, it is easy to see them as cheaters and thieves. No wonder the Apostles and the people had a dim view towards tax collectors in their days. Consider this scripture: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17)
That is an incredible statement! It is like we are being shackled and there is nothing you can do about it. Who wants the IRS on your back looking to punish you for trying to make a living. The Fort Hood Texas tax lawyers and Copperas Cove Texas H & R Block both thought that the IRS was not knowing what their right and left hand were doing. My wife said the exact same thing when she spoke with the IRS, she asked them, "How can my husband owe you this money when we filed jointly." It is a very stressful, exhausting problem, when you try to communicate with them there is no way to talk to them without getting angry. I can't help thinking that if we are having this kind of problem with tax collectors today, how many others out there are struggling like we have? It will get even worse when Obamacare gets implemented? Will the Church have to go underground during these times some might call "tribulation"? How can a person be loyal to Christ and be patriotic to our Country as it continues to spin out of control. President Obama is claiming that America is not a Christian Country. That is becoming more and more clear as we turn from our Judeo/Christian foundations.
Are we now past the point of no return? Consider this promise of the Lord, "and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). There is much to say about this and this should be the choice of Americans. However, more and more seem content to bend to the warning of the Lord: "But if you turn away and forsake my statutes and commands which I placed before you, if you proceed to venerate and worship strange gods, then I will uproot the people from the land I gave them: I will cast from my sight this house which I have consecrated to my honor, and I will make a proverb and a byword among all peoples. This Temple which is so exalted--everyone passing by it will be amazed and ask: 'Why has the Lord done this to this land and to this house?' And men will answer: They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted strange gods and worshiped them and served them. That is why he has brought down upon them this evil" (2 Chronicles 7:19-22).
Christians are greatly responsible for the problems facing America because of our inaction, yes, even compromise. How many Christians have participated in abortion? Voted for Pro-Abortion candidates into Government? How many Christians have turned from their faith and accepted witchcraft and other false gods? How many have abandoned the Faith for every kind of false way?
The IRS cares not who and what you are, they care only that you feed their machine. The machine needs to be cleaned or it will fall and all of us will be affected. Pray for America, she is in terrible need of God's saving hand.