...only messing; I want to talk about taxes!
The 'Emergency Unavoidable' Budget has happened and feelings are mixed about it, inevitably. As someone quite rightly Tweeted yesterday, the supporters of the Coalition considered the raft of measures 'hard but fair'. Those who would rather insert white-hot copper wire into their retinas that support Cam da Man and Nick da ... LibDem thought it unbalanced, dangerous and apt to topple the country further into a reprise recession.
This reminded me of a debate that I was once involved with, when I was about fifteen years old (so about three centuries ago now), lead by Fr Tony Windross, a very wise man indeed.
He suggested that Christians ought to be willing, nay glad, to pay more taxes - given that a good proportion of it went to help those less 'well-off', i.e. those on benefits. He argued the 'Gospel Imperative' of such a notion, that in truth we should be prepared to give every spare penny (after family needs etc are met) we have to the poor (tax being one method of large-scale monetary re-distribution).
I put it here because I have never fully resolved my mind to the answer, even now. I have, in former lives, paid four-figures-per-month in tax etc and it always hurt, however much the residue was for me and my grubby mitts.
So, what burdens do Christians already labour under? Employed Christians and those earning over a given threshold through pensions and/or investments are paying the standard taxes that all do. Add to the the soon-to-be-inflated Value Added Tax and all the taxes on things like fuel, booze, ciggies and the like. Christians then, in most cases, work towards paying their Christianity Tax (or 'regular and sustained covenanted giving' as we prefer to call it) and some pay the Higher Rate of that Tax [let's call it Evangelical Tax, or 'Tithe' for short] - so all in all, we have a lots of Christian folkses paying top dollar. Given that our Christian Tax is (on the whole) divided and itself tithed to charitable causes, we can argue quite legitimately that we pay enough already, and go home with our consciences held high!
I ask the question once again - should Christians be willing to pay more tax for the relief of poverty in our society? Part of me reacts badly to the idea, but another cannot wholly write it off as 'pants'. Of course, it is an untenable proposition, because Gideon the Chancellor isn't going to create a tax code for those people who are of faith, but it remains a slightly elusive question.