There are meme’s floating around the ‘net with the bold statement “Taxation Is Theft”. Many people have bought into this way of thinking, including many that claim to be Christian in orientation and thought. This idea is very popular with those of a Libertarian leaning and is accepted by many who otherwise claim to be Christian and claim only a libertarian inclination. (the difference between Libertarian and libertarian? – the difference between seeing pedophilia and some other behaviors as acceptable and recognizing that some behaviors are wrong and SHOULD be punished by government)
Is taxation necessarily theft? It comes back to, what is your world view? If you hold an atheistic, materialist view of society and the universe, it is easy to see taxation as the actions of a privileged few against the down trodden, much like a silver-back gorilla might forcefully take away some food item from an individual further down the “pecking order” in the troop. To people with this viewpoint, anything humans do is merely a reflection of the natural world around them and the behavioral standards of the animal kingdom. If, however, you hold a traditional judaeo-christian world view and recognize not only the existence of a Creator but that He actually instituted the basis for society and that He is active in the world today, then “taxation is theft” rings hollow as God’s Word speaks to the subject quite eloquently. An example is in Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Later on in the same chapter (verses 5-7) the apostle Paul writes “ Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.“
Thus we see that if we hold the Bible to be God’s Word and Revelation to mankind, taxation is not necessarily the same as theft. We are instructed to pay “taxes to whom taxes are owed” and we are also instructed “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)
CAN taxation become equivalent of theft? History has shown us that this is so, and many have opposed “taxation without representation” and other means of excessive taxation through the centuries. If we believe that it is God who raises up and lays low kings and kingdoms, we must also conclude that He raised up the United Statian system of government, complete with the concept of “Lex Rex” (the Law is King) in which the people themselves choose who will write and who will enforce and who will judge the laws of the land. The beauty of this system is that the people themselves can demand that the burden of taxes be lowered and that the government limit itself in its scope and power. The horror of this system is that when the people themselves become debauched in their thoughts and life styles, they become unfit to exercise their duty to ensure fair and representative government, including the imposing, collection and application of just taxes.