Would Jesus support social services, pay taxes?

The tax code should also be progressive with the heaviest burden on those with the financial means, according to a proposed resolution — “For the Common Good” — sponsored by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries, one of the Church’s four Covenanted Ministries.
“I don’t enjoy paying taxes, and there is nothing wrong with raising hard questions about taxes,” said the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson, JWM’s executive minister. “But that doesn’t mean that we can abandon our public schools, abandon the poor, abandon the 45 million without health care, abandon the homeless.”
If the resolution is approved next month by a majority of the approximately 900 voting delegates, the General Synod will call upon the church and its members to reject the seemingly popular notion that government is more unwieldy or inefficient than other democratic institutions. It also reaffirms the obligation of citizens to share through taxes the financial responsibility for public services that benefit all citizens, to work for more equitable public institutions and support regulations that protect society and the environment.
The resolution is rooted in a desire for the church to affirm the notion of the common good – the idea of creating the conditions necessary for facilitating human cooperation and the achievement of shared objectives.
According to Jackson, affirmation of such a notion is more imperative now than it has ever been.
“Some folks were hesitant for this resolution to come to Synod,” she said, “but it is something that we need to say now more than ever. This is a moral value.”
Justice and Witness Ministries was borne out of the UCC’s national restructure in 2000, and has, among other things, served as a voice advocating for economic justice. Jackson said the “For the Common Good” resolution embodies the UCC’s longstanding justice ethic in support of the poor.
“[When Justice and Witness Ministries was founded], we formed an economic justice ministry team because we really thought that economic justice issues would be at the heart of the Christian faith in the 21st century, but we actually had no idea [of how important it would be],” Jackson said. “What is happening in our nation right now – consumerism, materialism, abandonment of the poor – I’ve been trying to think of another word, but it’s just evil.”


Categories: United Church of Christ News

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