Posted by: smstrouse | April 16, 2011

Rendering Unto Caesar—My Tax Dollars

When I was a kid, I overheard my mom and a neighbor talking (yes, I was a little pitcher with big ears). Maybe it was close to April 15, I don’t know. But I do know that they were complaining about paying taxes. The neighbor was especially incensed about paying school taxes, “Why should I have to pay this? I don’t even have kids!”  Looking back, I think that’s why I remember that conversation, being a kid myself. And I think even then, I saw the flaw in her logic. She didn’t seem to realize that kids like me and other kids, even though not her own, would grow up to be her doctors, lawyers, senators, even pastors (I did co-officiate at her funeral). The taxes we all pay contribute to the services we all use, even indirectly.

On Tax Day 2011, I’m reminding myself of why we do this. Sure, there are things I don’t agree with, things I’d rather not be contributing to. But that doesn’t take away the obligation to support all the good that my taxes do, especially for the most vulnerable of our society. I’m also obligated to work to change the things I don’t like or don’t want to support.

So this whole budget mess we’re in that seems to revolve around cutting needed services to the poor, the sick, the young, the elderly – all the while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest among us and denying the reality of who got us into this mess in the first place – is just a** backwards. We pay taxes so that we can all enjoy the benefits of all kinds of public services. It makes no sense to lower taxes to the point where these services can’t be provided.

The answer is for all people and all corporations to pay their fair share – not just for the benefit of one individual or one company, but for the benefit of all.

I presided at my neighbor’s funeral. I hope somewhere she appreciated the good education that enabled me to do that – in spite of her objections.



  1. Good reflection on Taxes, Pastor Susan!
    Best wishes!


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