Letter: What would Jesus do? Respect the tax collectors

While not the main thrust of her argument, as the capstone to her Jan. 24 letter to the editor, “Taxes do not need to be increased”, Edwina Sikkila-Walior tries to convince us that we should do as Jesus did in regard to tax collectors (throw them out of the temple).

This assertion is not consistent with what my Bible (New Revised Standard Version) says on that or related issues. Matthew 21:12-3 relates the story of Jesus throwing the buyers and sellers out of the temple with no mention of tax collectors. Based on his answer to the Pharisees’ question about the lawfulness of paying taxes to the emperor (Matthew 22:16-8, Mark 12:13-5, and Luke 20:21-3 all indicate that money represents the emperor) they should be rendered unto him, just as that which is God’s should be rendered unto God.

Rather than throwing them out of anywhere, Jesus was routinely criticized by the respectable people of his time for associating with tax collectors (Matthew 9:11). Finally, the most prolific author of writings in the New Testament (Paul) notes that we need to respect authority (because it is God given), and this includes paying your taxes (Romans 13:6-7).

While arguments may be made against taxation – many of which are questionable – any arguments against taxes based on scripture seem to be very questionable.


Scott Magnuson-Martinson