Monday, 7 April 2008

Thou Shalt Not Steal

"You shall not steal" is part of the law of God; a revelation of the perfection of his moral character, as a God who always gives what is right and just, and who sovereignly apportions to each person what he sees is right for them.

The Adam Smith Institute reports as follows:
The UK's Tax Freedom Day will fall on June 2 in 2008. That means that average Brits are spending more than five months of the year working for the Chancellor, rather than working for themselves. Government spending is set to reach £600 billion – £10,000 for person in the UK, and twice as much as in 1997. If public spending had only grown in line with inflation since then, we could have abolished income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax by now, leaving the taxpayer £200 billion better off. When you factor in government borrowing the picture is even worse – Tax Freedom Day does not come until June 14.
The Bible teaches (Romans 13:1ff) that civil government is instituted by God, that we ought to obey it as such, and part of that duty is that we should pay taxes. Work can't be done and servants can't work using only thin air. The governors have a God-given commission to reward good and to punish the evil-doer, promoting peace and punishing wrong-doing in the public square. That means they have a right to be supplied with the necessary funds to do so, and eat and drink at the same time.

At some point in the last century, though, the UK government decided that it had a right to far more than this. In fact, it decided it had an absolute right to pursue whatever arbitrary programs it pleased. During the last decade, this belief has been put into practice with a vengeance that would have been hard to imagine before; an astonishing range of programs has been launched, at every level and in every nook and cranny of human life. Depressingly, most of the mass media restricts itself to a little criticism of this program here, or that program there - but very rarely does anyone ask any bigger questions. Such as, "Since when was this kind of thing even remotely within the remit of government?"

This is part and parcel of the process of secularisation. Secularists, having erased the ideas of God, eternal moral law, moral progress through divine grace and godly persuasion, and all such like, from their thinking, can often only see one way to (their kind of) progress: the big man in government enforces it by law. Society needs to be changed and shaped - and seeing as we're godless, that means a never-ending flood of programs, initiatives and laws to make sure that "progress" comes to pass. Having marginalised the church so effectively from its role in the public square, these programs are necessary because nobody else is going to do it.

Who gets to pay for this arbitrary selection of programs that whoever-is-running-whichever-ministry-today deems is right? The taxpayer does, of course. It doesn't matter if the taxpayer agrees with whatever moral agenda or view of society the minister has - the law says that you'll pay for it, or else. Maybe you didn't like the programs that aimed to produce social change that church X or charity Y was running. That's fine - you don't have to give them your money. You don't like the social-change programs that the government's running? Sorry - you either pay for them, or go to jail. As Christians, Romans 13:1ff applies here; Paul wrote in the days of a godless Roman government when he gave the command. It is a lesser evil that we bear all this, than that we should promote anarchy. It's still a bitter pill to swallow, though.

There is only one word for what the secularists are doing as they dream up their own visions of society, and then force the rest of the country to pay for it upon threat of imprisonment. That word is "theft". The law "you shall not steal" is not one that magically ceases to exist once you enter the Houses of Parliament. God cannot be ultimately banished from public life; his law still stands. One day, politicans of all stripes will be called to account for whether they fulfilled their God-given role as servants, or whether they arrogated much more to themselves and stole their fellow-citizens' money in order to bring it around. God is not mocked.

HT: David Field

No comments: