For use in congregations nationwide from April 8-15
written by Rev. Jim Burklo, author, OPEN CHRISTIANITY
Materials online at www.openchristianity.com/taxbless.html
The Blessing of the Taxes is a “faith based initiative” to reclaim the positive value of taxes and the vital public services they fund… as a matter of faithful conviction. Celebrations of this “blessing” will occur around the country on the week before April 15. Please feel free to copy and use this document in worship or in other contexts in your congregation. In recent decades there has been an organized political movement to “demonize” taxes, and progressive taxation in particular. The “Blessing of the Taxes” can help to reframe the national conversation about the role of government in society and its moral and spiritual imperatives. While we as faithful people are committed to voluntary service, we recognize that our religious charities lack the resources to adequately respond to our country’s or the world’s pressing problems. As religious communities, we advocate for a strong public sector funded by taxes to do works of divine compassion.
We ask God’s blessing on our taxes due this April 15. We thank God for the ways that our taxes invest our money for the common good. Paying taxes is our sacred duty. And acting as citizens to assure that they are spent wisely is our sacred duty as well. Jesus said: “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required.” (Luke 12: 48) Progressive taxation – the payment of a higher rate of taxation by those who have higher incomes – is just and good. Greater wealth depends greatly on tax-subsidized regulation and protection of the economy. And greater wealth carries with it a higher level of moral responsibility for the well-being of our society.
We pray for strength as citizens to press our state and federal governments to spend our taxes in ways that promote justice and peace. We believe that the budget priorities of our Governor and our President do not reflect our moral values. Human needs at home and abroad are being neglected. Budget allocations for education, health, and social services are being cut. Social Security, a program intended to prevent poverty among the elderly and disabled, is threatened with a privatization scheme. Meanwhile, terrible loss of life and runaway spending continues in the war in Iraq.
We prayerfully ask our Governor and Legislature to preserve health, education, and social supports for the most vulnerable of our citizens, even if it means raising taxes on those with the highest incomes. We prayerfully ask our President and Congress to re-direct our taxes toward human needs at home and more peaceable purposes abroad. We thank God for the freedom we enjoy, and for the common good that our tax payments support.
Suggestions for BLESSING OF THE TAXES in your congregation or community:
* “Laying hands” on envelopes containing tax returns or copies of returns in worship, and praying over them * Weaving the “blessing” into sermons * Conducting special worship services * Conducting prayer vigils at local Post Offices on April 15 * Distributing the “Blessing” with attached information about how taxes are used and how citizens can contact their legislators
Send the dates/times/places and details of your planned “Blessing of the Taxes” to firstname.lastname@example.org – the information will be listed at www.openchristianity.com/taxbless.html and in national press releases. Spread the word about this concept!