Tomorrow’s tax day and it’s brought out the contrarian in me.
Like many of my readers, I fall into the sociopolitical pool that mistrusts taxes generally. It can be disheartening to think that too many tax dollars are going to nothing, funneled into places that help nobody, and that the resulting voids only call out for more tax dollars to fill them.
But it is encouraging to remember that they also do good.
Those firefighters who help repel the flames creeping towards your home? Paid for with tax dollars. We Montanans are especially grateful for that today.
The soldiers who put their lives on the line to stand watch over our country? Trained, equipped, and paid with tax dollars.
The police? Same thing.
After their military tour, some young soldiers go to school and get degrees (like mine in secondary education after my Air Force years) off of the G.I. Bill, also paid by taxes.
Of course, our teachers are paid through taxes.
And those glaring Montana potholes that nearly destroyed my car this morning? Not getting fixed by anything but taxes.
Paul teaches us, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1). And this is said with brutal, excessive Rome in mind.
The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking whether he thought taxes should be paid. If he said yes, the people would denounce him; if he said no, the state would. Instead, Jesus slipped the trap (as he always did so well) with a statement that helps form part of the foundation of our modern concept of separation of church and state: “Therefore give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).
So, as we go about launching opinions on social media about whether or not taxes should increase, we can least pair it with thankfulness for those who serve their world on them.