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Render Unto Caesar

Render Unto Caesar

By David G. Duggan
Special to Virtueonline.org
April 12, 2019

I just mailed off my 2018 tax returns. Of all my annual tasks (getting my rugs cleaned, reorganizing my closets and sending that which I'm no longer wearing to a church clothes closet), this is the most distasteful. Not because of the amounts that I pay, or the fact that much of my taxes remitted will support policies I abhor. But with several sources of income, and a slew of deductions, the task becomes an ordeal. And as a lawyer, I am held to a higher standard of compliance because I am presumed to be able to navigate among the almost impenetrable tax code provisions, many of which have been recently revised.

That tax day this year comes the day after Palm Sunday, when churches across the country and around the globe will be commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, followed immediately by his trial and crucifixion at the hands of the civil authorities, adds some poignancy to my annual ordeal.

But as bad as I may have it, nothing compares to the indignity which Mary and Joseph endured, traveling 90 miles in a late term pregnancy to be enrolled (taxed in the King James), or the burden which first century Jews bore paying taxes to a foreign empire, all so that some semblance of peace could be imposed on them. As a citizen, I can vote to change those policies I detest (not that that will do much), and with some means left after paying those taxes, I can always move to some more hospitable--and tax-friendly--place.

Jesus told us to render unto Caesar, and in the ultimate of perversities, that Caesar put Him to death.

This April 15, I will pray that the funds I rendered to Caesar cause the deaths of fewer people this year than last, and that when I go through the annual ordeal next year, I can rejoice that more has been rendered to God.

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