18 July 2022

Christians and policies on tax

This article was originally recorded as a spoken piece for TWR’s ‘In My Opinion’ feature. You can watch the video at the bottom of this article.

Just in case you haven’t heard, the UK is in the middle of a contest to choose the next leader of the conservative party who will in turn be the next Prime Minister. A key topic coming from each campaign is where they stand on the economy and taxation – each of the candidates, in fact, all political parties, want to deliver ever-increasing wealth through higher earnings, better benefits and lower taxes.

I would suggest that taxation policy is not a simple issue for Christians – where there is one answer we can all agree on. Although most would see the need for collecting taxes to pay for what only the state can do – historically this has been security and infrastructure and more recently healthcare and supporting people on low income. But how much tax should the government take, what is a fair process for collection and who to take it from is much more of a debate. (For further reading this debate was written about in a recent issue of our Social Issues Bulletin.)

For some Christians redistribution of wealth on a large scale is the more biblical approach. They would argue that the machinery of government should mainly focus on providing for the needy and vulnerable. For others, small state low tax economies are more appropriate because they give individuals freedom, and encourages personal responsibility and hard work and this, in turn, creates wealth, which individuals should share with others in need. In other words, people should essentially be left to get on with their lives with as little interference from the government as possible including taxation.

Christians should think carefully and selflessly about taxation

We should, as Christians, think carefully and selflessly about taxation and about the wider policies that we vote for. It is easy for us to want a system of taxation that works for ourselves and our family, at this stage of life – something to bring us the most immediate benefit. This selfishness is well known amongst politicians who mostly barter on our self-interest to encourage us to vote for them.

As Christians, we should be distinctive in the way we think this through. We may still end up disagreeing with one another on which form of taxation is best but at least we have thought about it biblically and generously.

We should be weighing up the arguments we hear on the basis of what will bring the most benefit to the nation as a whole – what will create more wealth, less poverty, less inequality of opportunity, rather than what will give me more disposable income. 

For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15 ESVUK)



Related articles

Stay connected with our monthly update

Sign up to receive the latest news from Affinity and our members, delivered straight to your inbox once a month.