Why God Has the Right to Tax, and Governments Don’t

One of the fundamental concepts of libertarianism is that taxation is theft, and therefore morally wrong. Yet God ordered the collection of a temple tax; if taxation is wrong, why would he do this?

Let’s look at Exodus 30:13-15:

This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

A shekel was a unit of weight. Its value is difficult to determine, but most estimates fall between 7 and 14 grams. When used as money, a shekel was a silver coin of that weight. At the most, then, a half-shekel would have been about 7 grams of silver, which today would be worth a little less than $8.00. Even if this was a full day’s wages, this tax amounts to a low rate by modern American standards.

But even that isn’t the issue. The question is whether — and why — God would have the right to impose any forced payment on anyone.

When the government comes to you and forces you at gunpoint to give it money, the underlying assumption is that it owns your productivity. Yet the Bible clearly holds that a worker’s wages are his property, not someone else’s:

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Leviticus 19:13

The only way you could own what belongs to someone else is if you actually owned that person. So the government’s underlying justification for forcing the payment of taxes is that it owns you. But the government doesn’t own you; God does:

The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Psalm 24:1

If God owns you, he can justifiably demand your money. He can also dictate your behavior, and not just by limiting your infringements on other persons or their property, but frankly by dictating the moral content of your private behavior, what you do with your own body, and even your very thoughts (“thou shalt not covet”).

But when the government taxes you, it puts itself in the place of God as your owner. When it dictates your non-aggressive behavior, it sets itself up as your moral compass, which is God’s prerogative alone.

Now, in Matthew 17, Jesus himself cited prudential reasons for paying taxes you don’t really owe. I’m not saying don’t pay taxes.

I’m saying don’t impose them.

For Liberty,

Manny Edwards


3 thoughts on “Why God Has the Right to Tax, and Governments Don’t”

  1. Manny,

    I read this post and started a comment, but it eventually turned into a full-fledged blog post. So it’s now here.

    “I’m gonna take you to task on this one. I’m going to 1. challenge your underlying premise, 2. provide biblical support for my position, and then 3. demonstrate why your argument is not self-consistent. …”

    In friendship,


  2. You are absolutely right, no one has the right to impose a tax on you or your labor. This is why no child pays a tax when he or she is born. However, when you use as a means to labor, secure property, or generate income the property or services of another I think you would agree that you should pay something. I would argue that if I give you the tools to earn your labor than I am entitled to some payment, let’s just call it a tax. If I provide for you a place to sell your goods, then I should be entitled to some share of the proceeds, let’s call it a tax. If I provide the security that enables you to work in peace and protected from attack, should I not impose some fee for my service? This is why we pay taxes. No one is born on this planet with property, any labor you perform is done presumably with the property of someone who preceeds you. When you understand that governement is essentially the embodiment of that which has preceeded you than you can understand why a tax may be imposed. For this same reason God imposed his taxes, not because he owns you, but because it’s his planet your working on.

  3. Why would GOD ever need your money? In my opinion neither GOD nor the government own your labor. Our country while outlawing double taxation has segregated the tax to "earn" money and "spend" it. Essentially your getting taxed twice to get what ever good or service you require to live.

    those who believe the bible is the inspired word of GOD might believe that GOD is a hedge against Tyranny. GOD is no such hedge against anything but a last resort for the hopeless. Although GOD has good values in morality that all should observe to simply coexist peacefully, I don’t think GOD is worth believing in. To me prayer is self hypnosis. I still pray occasionally because I was raised to believe in a GOD that isn’t there. GIGO.

    Once we get passed GOD, all there is is the haves, have mores & the have nots.

    Organized corruption is what government is. The whole point is that the general population accepts the yoke of corrupt government as normal. They are unaware the level of intrusion because they are asleep mentally or preoccupied with the Matrix they are in, TV show, sports, & what ever cover story the whore media feeds them.

    Again the general population has been pacified and conditioned to go along with it. The division of labor while increasing production in factories has segmented people ability to be a resource unto themselves but conditioned to be part of a whole.

    The British Empire found easier to bribe a few people at the top of a pyramid than coax or slaughter the whole population. That is what we have now. that’s my 2 cents.

    Just to recap, don’t believe in GOD, don’t trust your government to do anything it says. Your social security is not safe, the mainstream media is lying to you constantly, most of the public are sheep following the bark of the dogs of war.

    After watching court cases of the imprisoned history has revealed that only through years of hounding by attorneys has common sense prevailed. No life terms for supreme court justices. Only 1 term for president.
    No Vice presidential position should exist as they serve no purpose.

    Best Regards,

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