Issue: September 2007: Economics

Volume 7 Number 9

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 […]

Implementing the ELCA Social Statement on Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All

[1] Many taxpayers have grudgingly acquiesced to paying federal, state and local taxes because of Jesus’ counsel to “render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”[1] In a representative democracy like the United States, however, this direction becomes much more complex because the taxpayer bears some responsibility for the form and degree of taxation […]

Lutheran Perspectives on the “Wealth Gap” and American Tax Policy

[1] During the past several decades, the economic disparity between the poorest and the richest Americans has widened. This is partly the result of enormous increases in the salaries of many upper echelon executives and professionals, and the stagnation of wages among many working class employees. The growing “wealth gap” also is related to tax […]

Should Chuches Be Tax-Exempt?

[1] In 2002, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was involved in a lawsuit over the “parsonage exemption,” a provision in the federal tax code that allows “Ministers of the Gospel” to exclude from their taxable income the value of a parsonage or other congregation-provided housing allowance.[1] On its own initiative, the federal appellate court hearing […]

The Bible and the Tax Law: A Comparison

[1] As a Christian tax professional, I recently realized that since the end of my undergraduate accounting studies, I have held two important bodies of writing in the highest esteem – the Word of God and the Internal Revenue Code (federal income tax law). I have continually striven to become more knowledgeable in both, knowing […]

To whom does wealth belong? An Economic Perspective

[1] The question of to whom does wealth belong is not one that most economists would be comfortable answering except in the most trivial sense. Trivially we would answer that wealth belongs – well – to those who own it. Aside from being rather circular in its logic, this reply does not get at the […]