Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Catholic Moral Teaching on July 4

The people asked, "Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?" . . . Jesus replied, "Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar." (see Mark 12:14-17)
Catholic teaching has long held that, while one has an obligation in good conscience to resist if government seeks to compel you to do evil, one nevertheless has an obligation to pay taxes.
"Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country: 'Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.' (Rom 13:7)" CCC 2240
That being so, would it be moral if government were to impose a tax on being homeless as a remedy for ending homelessness? How about a tax on being hungry? Would it be moral to "eliminate" unemployment merely by mandating that everyone get a job and impose a tax on those who remain unemployed?

Is it within a government's rightful authority to not only to tax a person's goods and activities, but to tax his inactivity, to tax his liberty to be left alone? Is it within a government's rightful authority to go so far as to tax a person's misfortune, to tax the hungry for not buying food, to tax the homeless for not buying or renting a home, to tax the unemployed for not getting a job?

Before you object that such questions are completely absurd, let us add another example. It is said by some that there is a moral right to healthcare and that the large numbers of uninsured persons is a problem of moral dimensions. Setting aside the question of conflating in this way the provision of health care and treatment with the holding of a medical insurance policy, is it morally licit to address the problem of people lacking insurance by imposing a tax on them for that very lack of insurance?? Is it moral, under Catholic teaching, to impose a tax on the uninsured for merely being without insurance?

Again, before you object that such is a completely absurd proposition, know this -- the United States Supreme Court, per Chief Justice John Roberts, has just ruled that, whether it is moral or not, it is entirely permissible under the taxing power of the United States Constitution to impose a tax on the uninsured merely for being uninsured.

To be continued, i.e. application of the sophistry and exercise in relativism that is the Roberts Rule to the now "no contraceptive coverage tax," formerly known as the contraceptive mandate, and even worse things.


Prairie Lover said...

It's unbelievable, what CJ Roberts has done. I can't tell you how profoundly disappointed I am, not to mention totally disillusioned.

All I would add to what you've written is this: when are people going to understand that there is a whompin' big difference between health care and insurance? One is not both the same. Necessary medical treatment is, in fact, just about the only thing one can (could) get in this country without an act of congress happening. And free, to boot. That sad thing is what the populace who voted for this (via their vote for BO)are doubt it's the same level of care and access that is available now. Uh huh. That's gone. Aren't they going to be surprised. And why don't more people question why the government is excepted from this?

This stinkin' tax is pretty damned selective with regards to who has to pay it. The middle class has just taken an arrow through the heart. Obama held the bow and CJ Roberts loosed the arrow.

You know better than I about what can be taxed and what can't - well, theoretically, anyway, now that it seems everything can be taxed. And no - it's not moral.

I don't even want to read your continuation...

Bender said...

What is doubly annoying and disgusting -- following Roberts' sleight-of-hand and linguistic relativism in (1) taking the text of the statute, and the professed intent of Congress and the president, said was a government mandate to act, backed up with a monetary fine for failure to do what government tells you to do, and (2) magically changing that penalty-backed dictate to a "tax" -- is the reaction of some who gleefully say that all he has done is allow the people to decide the issue democratically (in which case, why the hell do we have a Constitution if it is meaningless to limit and stop government from doing this very thing?).

Such foolish ignorance is dangerous. It acquiesces in the greatest of evils because, "after all, we can always change things in the next election." How do you counter such inane folly?

Prairie Lover said...

Can you say REVOLUTION?

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." - Declaration of Independence JULY 4, 1776

Here's the problem though - who the heck knows how to start a revolution these days?

Bender said...

Used to be on the Fourth of July you'd go see the fireworks and they'd go off and you'd be all "ah" and "ooh" watching them.

It was too hot and the crowds have been too big to go down to the Mall to see the fireworks, but I caught a couple minutes watching them on PBS (although you can hear them from my house).

And watching, I noticed that I had absolutely no joy or enjoyment whatsoever. It was a completely empty response. The only response I had was to notice that the flashes were burning after-images into the TV digital cameras. But no "oh, that was cool" and no "wow, that's nice." No desire to celebrate whatsoever. None.

Prairie Lover said...

I watched the fireworks this year - for me the difference was that when I got choked up, as I always do, I was sad. My usual feeling of profound gratitiude was replaced by a sadness for the wasted lives and energy used up to build what was a great nation - a nation whose heart has been slowly chipped at and finally brought to her knees by an incompetent, corrupt boob.

The worst thing though, are the really horrid thoughts I have about all of this. You admonished me once a good while back to be careful and not become one of those calling for vengeance. Lately its all I can think about.

You don't have to post this if you don't wanr to.