The US income tax is voluntary. However, if you don’t “volunteer” the IRS may well show up at your home in the dark of night, wearing black ski masks and bearing semi automatic weapons to collect, not just the “debt,” but lien all that you possess and terrorize you and your family.
Notwithstanding the above, millions today don’t pay this alleged illegal, unconstitutional tax and many have defeated the IRS in court because of its inability to produce the law that requires such payment.
Government taxation has been a fact for all of recorded history and it was no different in the time of Jesus. As we have layered government today, so it was then, In addition to Roman federal taxation, there was a national and religious taxation. What can we learn from the rebel tax resister Jesus about how to address the matter taxes.
One one occasion, the Homeland Security, “see something, say something” snitches approached Jesus with a loaded question regarding the payment of “federal” taxes. “Tell us, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Ceasar or not?” Holding up a coin the inquisitors had provided, Jesus noted aloud the image of Ceasar on it and said, “Give to Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s.” Was he saying, pay all taxes demanded by the government, no matter how illegal or unjust, or was he saying each must decide what tribute or taxes to pay, and to whom?
The religious “temple tax” collectors also approached Jesus through Peter one of his followers, seeking collection. Peter without consulting Jesus acknowledged the legitimacy of the tax by agreeing to pay it. On hearing this Jesus objected to Peter’s action by asserting an exemption, which broadly construed, could be argued to say that government should not tax its own citizens, but rather derive its revenues from foreign sources. As a public relations gesture, and to save face for Peter, the tax was eventually paid. In each situation noted, it is clear, at a minimum, that Jesus did not without objection or challenge support the taxes of his day.
To be continued…