By Rev David Jones.
‘It’s not been the best of weeks’ was the Prime Minister’s statement following financial revelations which led to the public disclosure of his tax returns.
Transparency, it seems, is now what we expect from all our politicians as Westminster buzzes with claims and counterclaims regarding the tax affairs of MP’s, even crossing political divides with demands being made for even more personal disclosures. With the chancellor of the exchequer and the leader of the opposition doing the same aren’t we bordering on some sort of invasion of privacy? after all, for most of us they are just figures and without some insight and understanding of the tax system they are pretty meaningless.
There are, I’m sure, within Her Majesties inspector of taxes systems and procedures that keeps a check on us all, politicians included. It is they who have the expertise to differentiate between tax avoidance and tax evasion. If the tax man is satisfied that no laws have been broken, as seems to be the case with the Prime Minister, then fine, but if there has been blatant tax evasion then Prime minister or not the whole force of the law should come into play.
The Bible has much to say about those who rule and govern. The prophets of the Old Testament didn’t spare words of condemnation to those in their day who ruled unjustly. When asked a question about paying taxes Jesus answered ‘Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give to God that which is God’s.
In other words, be good citizens, pay your taxes, never forgetting to give allegiance to the principles of the kingdom of God – the greatest of which is to love God and to love our neighbour. There remains no greater council for those who seek to lead and govern than that which the Bible says “Righteousness upholds a nation” and the command Jesus gave to his disciples “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ surely says it all!
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