Introduction to “What about Taxes”

[1] The September issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics is devoted to issues that Christians have debated since Christ turned over the Tiberian coin: How should Christians respond to taxation by their secular governments? This month’s contributors approach the question “What about Taxes?” from various angles.

[2] William Ross probes what is distinctively Lutheran in Lutheran communities’ responses to state taxation for the common welfare from nineteenth-century Germany and Scandinavia to modern American Lutheran church statements.

[3] Scott Schul explores the Lutheran tax principles in the ELCA’s social statement “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” (1999).

[5] J.R. Clark and Robert Lawson give an economist’s perspective on the question: To whom does wealth belong? They discuss why private property is important for strong economies and what equity means in tax systems.

[6] Robert Tuttle catalogues tax exemptions available to churches and their programs, and poses ethical questions about when Christian institutions should accept available tax advantages.

[7] Finally, Barry Holland, a Christian tax professional, explores analogies in commitment to and interpretation of the Bible and the Internal Revenue Code.

Marie Failinger

Marie Failinger is a Professor of Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN. She is a lifelong Lutheran, and earned her B.A. and J.D. at Valparaiso University and her LL.M. at Yale Law School. She was the long-time editor of the Journal of Law and Religion, and has co-edited Lutheran Theology and Secular Law: The Work of the Modern State and On Secular Governance: Lutheran Perspectives on Contemporary Legal Issues with Rev. Ronald Duty, along with other articles on Lutheran theology and secular law.