Most people don’t give much thought to how they’ll spend their money. A substantial portion of many budgets pays for beer,cigarettes, parties, entertainments, gambling, hookers,kabit, sabit,pastor,ministers,pader and televangelists. If this describes your spending pattern, then the government probably wouldn’t do worse than that with your money. Taxes are the government’s gentle way of trying to make productive use of money that represents a surplus that you don’t really need in order to maintain a minimal standard of living on a par with the average person.But most don’t want to take the time or responsibility to investigate where their tax money goes.
Lacson has said on his privilege speech “I will not and cannot abandon the cause of the tens of thousands or millions of Filipino taxpayers and allow them to be left at the mercy of a systematically flawed and corrupt national budget. This is one fight I will never run away from, as I have never run away from all my previous fights against graft and corruption.”
Yes our taxes are used ostensibly to fund local public works, like roads, schools, and jails. There are a lot of good things that come of paying taxes, but there’s a lot of money wasted or spent inefficiently in the process. Still, it would be hard for all of us to maintain the roads by ourselves without a big bureaucratic engine helping us. In fact, none of us would have a private incentive to do so, and that is why the government takes on certain infrastructure tasks. Like building bridges to nowhere and C-5 road going to Villar’s land and Villarde.
But, why Churches and religions are exempted from paying taxes? They are also using the same roads and jails funded by our tax money. Churches should be taxed like any other business. Like any other business, let them write off any charity work that they do. Churches are businesses. They do not exist solely to bring people to God, they exist to bring people to God and to generate income for the employees and officers of the church. Just as the “Lechon ni Mang Tomas” exists to bring affordable prices of litson to people and to generate income for the hog killers and litsuneros.
To automatically give them a free ride makes no sense. They don’t have to pay property tax, sales tax, income tax, and all the other taxes that you and I and the store down the road pays. If a church is selling baked goods,rosario and estampitas they don’t pay taxes, if “Tatang’s Bakery” is selling pandesal and monay, they pay taxes. Churches should be taxed because it is the right thing to do. There is simply no good reason why churches should be tax-exempt. The tax exemption given to churches harms the rest of us: because they do not pay taxes on the assets they own, all the rest of us must pay higher taxes to make up for that lost revenue. This ought to irk believers enough, knowing that they are paying more because of the vast assets owned by rival churches, but atheists are harmed worst of all. Having no equivalent organizations that are free to raise money and acquire assets with such abandon, we are in effect subsidizing all tax-exempt religious activity, to the tune of millions or billions.This baseless and unconstitutional discrimination should be ended immediately. Church tax exemptions also tilt the playing field and violate the principles of the free market. Allowing churches to buy up as much land as they want, and hold it forever without paying taxes, stifles the ability of other people to make meaningful use of that property in the future and grants churches an unfair advantage when providing social services that compete with other businesses. Even worse, churches are also unfairly exempt from many licensing and regulation requirements that all other types of businesses must comply with. Churches are even exempt from taxes on side assets like parking lots.
There can be no justification for this special treatment. Religious groups have been given a free ride for far too long just because they are religious. If churches want to take part in our society, they should contribute to its upkeep just like everyone else. It is time to tax the religion sects of Mike Villarde, Manalo,Rosales,Villanueva, Soriano,Ruben Ecleo and the rest of the cults, giving tax-exempt status to them is a double-edged sword like any other privilege.They get power, power to choose their puppet candidates to vote in office, but it comes with strings attached or a blank check. And yeah, it wouldn’t be popular if government told churches who they can and cannot hire.This is what happens in our political arena. Everyone’s fighting over everyone else’s endorsement. Churches need local law enforcement protection like everyone else because people set churches on fire and bombs.
These people coining the Bible and wearing robes delve into politics and often they have more assets than they offer up to charity. They can pay out billions to defend their preachers or pay off whistle blowers, they get their coffers pilfered by their own brethren and they get land donations worth far more than most of us will make in a year. And, you can become an ordained minister of your own religion and claim tax-exempt status with very little effort and paperwork. It’s just not proper.
The biblical teaching on taxation begins in Genesis 41:34 with the introduction of the first recorded national tax on personal income, property, and resources.
a) The problem
Pharaoh had a dream. In it were seven thin cows and seven fat cows. In his dream, the seven thin cows ate the seven fat cows. Then he dreamed about seven thin ears of grain that devoured seven fat ears of grain. Pharaoh was at a loss to interpret his dream (Gen. 41:1-8). But Joseph was able to interpret the dream for him. The seven skinny cows eating the seven fat cows and the seven thin ears of grain eating the seven fat ears of grain indicated that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (vv. 29-30).
b) The plan
How were they going to prepare for the seven years of famine? Joseph’s plan is indicated in verse 34, “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.” Twenty percent of everyone’s agricultural profit was laid in store for use during the seven years of famine. That was the initiation of the first recorded personal taxation system in a nation. And this was a pagan nation, not Israel. Egypt did not worship God. Nonetheless, taxation was an institution of God begun by God’s choice servant Joseph to the advantage of Pharaoh and his land.
c) The profit
Verses 53-56 say, “And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the famine was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth. And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.” When the famine became severe, the government provided what the people needed and made an immense profit. Verse 57 says, “All countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain; because the famine was so severe in all lands.”
d) The performance
Genesis 47:13-14 says, “There was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.” Then verse 26 says, “Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.” Religious officials were set aside from taxation, but everyone else paid tax of twenty percent. That became Egyptian law.
You say, “How do you know taxation was an institution of God?” Because God’s servant Joseph instituted it. God was setting a pattern for future governments. The resources of their people could be collected, and distributed back to them when there was a need. Government is truly an institution of God, and it incorporated the concept of taxation as early as the book of Genesis.
2. In Israel
When God established the nation of Israel, did He have a taxation system?
a) The Lord’s tithe
Leviticus 27 records the initiation of a taxation system in the nation of Israel. It became an essential part of life. Verses 30-31 say, “All the tithe [a tenth] of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, it is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem any of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.” If you said, “I don’t want to give any grain; I would like to give money instead,” then you had to add a fifth to the tenth because they wanted the actual commodity. They were to give a tenth of everything each year. This tax was called the Lord’s tithe, because it was holy to the Lord (v. 30). It was even called the Levite tithe because the tenth was given to the Levites (Num. 18:21-24).