This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

How taxes replaced tithing in the United States


My ancestors, the Puritans, would have given a lot to their church. That is, they would have given a minimum of 10% (a tithe) to help the church help the community. The church in turn would give some of that money to the needy, the sick, the poor, the people who were too old to work. And, of course, there would have been disagreement as to how that money should be given away, used for the church, or whatever needs the elders may have decided. By the way, just to clarify, I'm using the word church the way that my ancestors would have used it, not just a building, but a congregation: wherever two or more are gathered in His name.

When the new United States government came into being, one of the goals was to embrace everyone in the country, not just members of a church. And that led to something that still confuses people to this day, using tax money to help the needy.

If you're a progressive person (or, if you prefer the term liberal), you're in favor of helping people in need. Progressives (and I'm one of them) believe that a government should do more than just help rich people get richer. They should collect money, and redistribute it as needed, through programs like Social Security.

It's been a long road from tithes to taxes and the argument continues. Everyone I talk to hates paying taxes, and wants to pay either the bare minimum, or if they could get away with it, nothing. Conversely, everyone I talk to is a believer in a community caring for the needy. Some people say, "let the church do it!", which is what my ancestors did. But as popular as churches are to this day, they can't support the needs of the community the way that Federal, State, and local government can. And government can only do that if they collect taxes.

So if you're paying "way too much in taxes", think of the Puritans. If they had a bountiful harvest, they would give much of it away freely. Because they knew that the Lord loves a cheerful giver.
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