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I recently had a discussion with my father, who sits across the aisle from myself politically. His argument is that government spending, like bailouts and stimulus packages etc., seem to be unaccounted for and he is angry at the government for this.

I would couch taxation with charity

I recently had a discussion with my father, who sits across the aisle from myself politically. His argument is that government spending, like bailouts and stimulus packages etc., seem to be unaccounted for and he is angry at the government for this.

Though I am not a proponent of unaccounted spending, I offered these thoughts: I would couch taxation with charity. In our present culture there are large scale infrastructures that need to be organized to accomplish the many things our society needs to function: roads, schools, law enforcement, local and national government etc.

To me these are all causes worth giving to, and taxation is a system of keeping everyone accountable for being charitable. Charity, in my view, is a virtue and is cultivated whether or not the gifts of charity are stewarded well or poorly, it is the mere act of being charitable that makes people and a society better.

The lone proviso I would add to this is in the word charity itself. I heard recently, though I should do further study to confirm, that the Hebrew word for charity is the same word for justice. The deeper question beneath charity, then is: are we being charitable in a way that is generating a more just society. It's one thing to just dump money and resources it is another to give of oneself in such a way that the result of monetary or physical donations to the government are part of making the world better.

This is where the conversation gets interesting. Should I continue to give money to a system the rewards pre-existing privilege and ignore the 99 percent? Or are there more creative ways to use my resources to make a better society with a more even distribution of wealth?

In short taxation is a good thing, but as with all good things discernment and forethought are invaluable in yielding the best possible results.

About Ryan Mahoney

Ryan Mahoney is a pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and a fan of art. He loves being creative and, wondering about the big beautiful world that God has placed us in.

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