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of 1st Amendment protection, are immune from federal taxation. Since taxation is a means of control and destruction, I would ask that we not make the same error in any language concerning the Social Security Act. : Focusing on this point alone, I would recommend that the last paragraph of the Jepsen Amendment be changed to read, "For the purposes of this section, educational ministries organized for religious purposes are religious organizations." Since this is quite a technical point, very few are sensitive to this issue. I know that Attorney Willian Ball does understand it and if further clarification of the problems introduced into law by language which is not sensitive to this issue is necessary, I recommend discussing it further with him.
I attach a 13 September letter from Attorney William Ball to Dr. Paul Kienel giving some of his views. I also attach a brief analysis made by the Christian Education and Research Foundation. Finally, I attach my own analysis of the biblical and constitutional reasons that religious ministries should not be asked to pay such a tax. By way of a summary, let me ask a few key questions.
In Matthew 28:18 Jesus says to His disciples, "All authority has been given unto me both in heaven and on earth." Our founding fathers understood that man's law.must recognize the higher law of God and conform to it. Has Congress lost this concept?
If only a greater can tax a lesser, how can we allow civil government to tax the church of our Savior?
In the first century, Christians went to the lions before they would simply make the false confession that Caesar was lord over Christ. If Jesus is Lord, how dare today's Christians confess the lordship of the federal government?
If the power to tax is the power to control and destroy, how dare American freedom lovers sit back and do nothing when such taxes are applied to Christ's ministries?
If the U.S. Constitution commands that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, how dare Congress pass a law to directly tax religious establishments, and how dare Christians submit to such a violation of biblical and constitutional principles?
I note that even the great Persian emperor Cyrus carefully excluded religious teachers from taxation (Ezra 7:24). In the American heritage, until now, governmental hunger for added funds has not run roughshod over religious liberty. I urge the Congress to reconsider, and I thank you, sir, for allowing us an opportunity to discuss the religious liberty aspect of the Social Security Act.
In Christ's service,
Robert L. Grete
1. William Ball letter.
Attorney William Ball
Starting January 1, 1984, all churches and schools which
exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code will be required to pay FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes for each employee who is paid $100. or more in a calendar year.
This change was made by the Congress virtually without opposition. Some churches took a position supporting the amendment on the ground of its benefit to their employees. It was also argued that the new tax is necessary to keep the Social Security progran in existence. Further, churches and schools in many states already pay sales and excise taxes.
The principle involved is plainly a tax on religion. Churches and religious schools are not afforded an option to pay, or not to pay,
for an insurance program for their employees. The relatively small size
the tax is irrelevant (though to some the burden may be substantial). If religion may be taxed a little, why not greatly? The tax irposes obligations upon religious bodies in respect to the use and management of their own resources and with respect to the personnel of their ministries.
What should be done with respect to this change? it is our opinion that test litigation would fail. Without spelling out detailed reasons, it is clear to us that the Supreme Court would not strike down the amended law. The willy remedy we
is through the Congress. Corrective legislation should be prepared and introduced at a very eariy date.
а un blue
William B. Balt
The New Social Security Law As regular readers of FOCUS NCAC does suggest, however, ON FREEDOM know, churches, that there is an alternative if the Christian schools and other non committees fail to act. A repealer profit organizations must begin pay amendment could be attached to a ing Social Security taxes on their finance bill on the floor of the employees beginning January 1. Senate. To take advantage of this 1984. In the past, enrollment under strategy. those seeking the repeal the program has been optional, not would need: (1) an appropriate mandatory. Many pastors have "vehicle;" i.e., a finance bill that voiced their opposition to the new was "veto-proof;" (2) a Senator will. law; some, in fact, have indicated ing to introduce the amendment; they will not pay Social Security and. (3) promises of votes from 51 taxes on their employees. There is Senators. considerable reason for their opposition. Social Security (F.I.C.A.)
It is possible that the new law
will be challenged in the courts. The payments are taxes. The employer.
Christian Law Association, based in in this case churches and Christian
Cleveland, Ohio, is currently examschools, are responsible for one-hall of the tax. The other half is deducted
ining that prospect. The way it
would happen is this: On January 1, from the employees' salary.
a church governing board could The National Christian Action Coalition (NCAC). a Washington
write a letter to Treasury Secretary based lobbying organization, has
Reagan politely informing him that
they have no intention of paying examined possible legislative remedies. In their August newslel
F.I.C..A. taxes. Soon thereafter,
the government would bring legal ter, they report that the only
action against the church. What reasonable solution would be to
happens then is anybody's guess. repeal that section of the new law which applies to religious, non
Judging by how the Supreme Court profit organizations. The normal
ruled on the Bob Jones University
case, the church could lose. route for such a repeal would be
However, there have been recerit through the Senate Finance Con
cases involving Christian organizamittee (Bob Dole, R-KS, Chairman)
lions and the National Labor Relaand the House Wars and Means
lions Borel which give some cause Committee (Dini Rostenkowski. 1)-11.. Chairm.in. "Imless there is in
for optimism. massive lelephone and mail fort
100 conclusion, it shouli be targeted at those Commillees from note:el that mony churches and 'mainstream and independent Christian schools already pay Social churches, and Christian schools," Security taxes for their employees. cautions NCAC. “the Congress will That is not really the issue. The not even move off first base. Look at issue is: Con such a tax be mandail realistically: Nobody wants 10 lorily levied against the church? reopen the Social Security can Sometime in the next year we of worms.
Focus on Freedom is published twice monthly by the Christian Education and Research Foundation, Capitol I, Suite 306, 5515 Cherokee Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia, 22312. William Billings, Editor. Subscription rate: 50 copies of each issue --$7.50/month: 109 copies-$10.00/month: rates for additional copies on request.
What are the biblical principles underlying the refusal of RBCS as a religious ministry to pay taxes in any form to civil government? We don't have space for an exhaustive teaching on this subject. Therefore, I will simply sketch the logic that underlies our position. After describing the biblical basis for our stand, I will then turn to our constitutional basis.
What's the big issue? The big issue is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 28:18-20 we read these words in the New American Standard Version (NASV):
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
This passage tells us that Jesus has all authority both in heaven and on earth. Christians who believe the Word of God must, therefore, submit to the authority of Jesus Christ in every area of life. In considering the authorities that Christ has set up through His Word, we can determine that God has established various jurisdictions in His system of government. God commands each Christian to be responsible for self government. God requires each family to operate in accordance with the principles He lays down for family government. God gives commands to the local church and also gives commands laying down the basis for civil government. When Christ commands us to make disciples of all the nations, He is giving the followers of Christ the mission of cultivating more followers. When He says that we must teach them, "All that I commanded you," He is giving each Christian responsibility to disciple others in accordance with the truth that Christ has laid down in His Word. When Jesus concludes, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age," He is emphasizing the fact that Jesus Christ is alive, is in authority and rules continually over His people.
Another passage relevant to this subject is Romans 13:1-8. That passage reads as follows:
LET every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For
This passage joins others to lay down the basis for human government. The concept of government is not restricted to civil government, for we are cautioned to be in subjection to the governing authorities. And we are told all authorities are established by God. in the home this means parental authority. In a local church it would mean the authority of church officers, such as elders and deacons. In civil government it would refer to civil rulers whether kings, governors, or sheriffs. In all cases, authority rests upon God's authority. The basis for obedience is that authority is exercised under God's authority. God has established authority as a minister unto us for good.
Thus we have the principle that Christians are to obey human authority because such authority is a servant of God. Quite
clearly, if a civil government operates in accordance with God's authority, there will never be a reason for us to disobey. We would obey not only because of wrath (that is, because of fear of punishment for getting caught), but also for conscience' sake. That means, we obey because it is right to do so.
Now what do we do if human authorities give conflicting commands? Suppose for example, a district court judge orders a person to carry out a certain act, but a court of appeals reverses the lower court's order. What is the citizen to do? The answer, of course, is to obey the higher authority.
What do we do if human authority gives a command contrary to the commands of God? This question was put to the Sanhedrin by the apostles Peter and John: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge." (Acts 4:19) The apostles were clearly stating that those in authority had the responsibility for discerning whether or not they were acting in accordance with the authority of God and if not, whether it was more important to obey God rather than man. The apostles supply a clear answer to their question in Acts 5:29 where they say, "We must obey God rather than men. The principle then is one of Lordship. When Jesus Christ commands His children, no authority can justly overrule.
Let's consider another passage. Jesus had God's sovereignty in mind when the Pharisees tried to trap Him on the issue of individual Jews paying tax to Caesar. Not only must we pay lawful taxes laid on by civil government, but also we must render to God the things that are God's. We see that in the passage in Matthew 22:15-22.
1. It is appropriate to point out the difference between a tax on individuals
(those of Romans 13, the poll tax of Matthew 22, or the Temple tax of
This raises the question, "What is our responsibility to God, and what is our responsibility to Caesar?" Certainly if Caesar were to claim that which is God's, we must obey God rather than men. While the coin might be made in Caesar's image, man was created in God's image. Statist Humanist doctrine claims that the state is sovereign over all, and grants liberty as it chooses to its subjects. God tells us that He has created man in His image. Man is to exercise dominion over the earth as God's vice-regent. Human government is organized by man to protect God-given liberty and maintain justice.
When the issue is the education of children we must then ask the question, "To whom does God give jurisdiction over the education of children?" A basis for the answer to this question is, "Who owns our children?". Some might answer, "The state owns the children." No biblical authority however, is found for such an idea. Others might respond that the parents own the children. Again, such an answer is not to be found in Scripture. Scripture makes it quite clear that the children are owned by God and given to parents in stewardship. Psalm 127:3 says, "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward." If then parents are stewards over God's children, what responsibilities in particular do