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The Bush Tax Cut Makes Baby Jesus Cry
December 11, 2005 9:47 PM   Subscribe

An Evaluation of Federal Tax Policy Based on Judeo-Christian Ethics An evangelical Christian law prof. evaluates Bush admininistration tax policy and finds it immoral.
posted by rbs (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I will go to my grave or go to bed regretting I do not have the time to read this. Whichever comes first.
posted by sourwookie at 10:03 PM on December 11, 2005


Error Occurred While Processing Request

Clearly it's the CIA trying to silence the guy.

Or maybe the site was just "MeFied" (like "farked" or "slashdotted").
posted by clevershark at 10:17 PM on December 11, 2005


Weird. Works for me. Even if you just read the first 25 or so pages ( :-) ), it's worth it.
posted by rbs at 10:19 PM on December 11, 2005


Actually, SSRN is crawling for me right now. Maybe give it a whirl in a few hours.
posted by rbs at 10:22 PM on December 11, 2005


Judeo-Christian ethics is a crock of shit.

Do you want Jewish ethics, or Christian? They are different (never minding that there are a coupla million versions of christian)
posted by wilful at 10:24 PM on December 11, 2005


Oh, and the standards sound pretty low to be an associate Professor at the Alabama School of Law.
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on December 11, 2005


wilful: did you actually read the article? she cites things ranging from jewish interpretation of old testament stuff to papal edicts. granted, i don't know anything about this religion mishegas, but i found the article thoroughly interesting.
posted by rbs at 10:40 PM on December 11, 2005


I was skeptical after reading the underwhelming abstract, but this is actually a pretty interesting article, and much harder-hitting than I expected it to be. To the extent there exists a definable "Judeo-Christian ethics," I imagine it's much closer to what she describes than how it is construed by leading political and religious leaders. This excerpt is a good summary of her overall view:
Given that nearly eighty percent of Americans claim to adhere to Christianity or Judaism in some
form, why is our tax policy at both the national and state levels continuing to move further away from
reflecting genuine Judeo-Christian values? The scarcity of faith-based ethical reflection in justice
concerns, which includes tax policy, is a symptom that religion as a viable and authentic conviction
with a principled moral compass is in deep trouble–the practice of Christianity in particular has become
a low-sacrifice operation. What passes for faith-based ethics, beyond matters of personal piety, has
become centered on a few highly emotional and theologically divisive issues that for most people
involve little or no direct personal sacrifice. Although these issues raise significant theological concerns
where reasonable people of faith can, and do, passionately disagree, elevating these issues to be of
supreme importance while ignoring the high degree of sacrifice required by the clear biblical mandates
of justice perverts faith into a meaningless and hollow ritual.
posted by brain_drain at 10:41 PM on December 11, 2005


There's hypocrisy everywhere, just steer you snivelling self in a direction. Give it up already.
posted by HTuttle at 10:53 PM on December 11, 2005


Hypocracy? You don't say!
posted by odinsdream at 11:09 PM on December 11, 2005


I read the abstract, and rejected the concept of anything definable as Judeo-Christian values. So no, I wasn't going to read the article.

Not that I'm against her whole point, no not at all. I think that Christians need to shout out loud that the Bible is about as clear as it can be that greed and unequal wealth distribution is entirely against Christ's gospel. But one of the most christian countries on earth is also one of the most unequal.
posted by wilful at 11:20 PM on December 11, 2005


Jesus who? That guy ain't got no business degree...

He were a caprenter, and everybody know them contractors is always gettin' their trucks reposessed an' sh^t. Spendin' their money on beer an' sh^t, not payin' the mortgage...

Who is this pointy-headed woman, an' why she want to be takin' tax advice from a carpenter?

She seem to want to be invitin' catastrophe...
posted by vhsiv at 11:36 PM on December 11, 2005


The government shouldn't be trying to conform law to religious ethics anyway.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:08 AM on December 12, 2005


Not that I'm against her whole point, no not at all. I think that Christians need to shout out loud that the Bible is about as clear as it can be that greed and unequal wealth distribution is entirely against Christ's gospel.

Read the Parable of the Talents and see if you still think it's entirely against the gospel.

I could just as easily make a "judeo-christian" case for all federal and state taxation to be immoral, on the grounds that it compels people to support government social programs - programs that people could otherwise give sacrificially to support if they were private.

"Sir, you gave me ten talents, but the government took four..." :-)
posted by bugmuncher at 5:57 AM on December 12, 2005


This "Judeo-Christian" thing is a huge bummer for Jews, who in microscopically few cases agree with Christian fundamentalists about anything. Their bible is not based on ours (not its main assumptions, anyway), and their ethics are almost never ours.

There was only one Jewish reference in the article, quoted sporadically and, I think, out of context, so it was very hard to understand the Jewish case that was being made for this.

However, one of the most basic principles of Jewish law is that "the law of the land is the law" - this applies to civil law issues. That is, if the government makes kosher food illegal, it is okay to disobey the law. The monetary and civil laws, however, are set by the government that you live under. In Hebrew, this is called dina de-malchuta dina and is such a basic tenet of Jewish law that it is hard to know what to say to such folks that would claim anything different.
posted by Adamchik at 6:31 AM on December 12, 2005


What would the basis of that argument be bugmuncher?
posted by caddis at 6:56 AM on December 12, 2005


She is simply out of touch with Christian ethics. Bush really is very serious both about being Chrisitan and about giving money to the rich by taking from the poor and middle class; as are Republicans in general.

Christian morality is not determined by the kindest 1% of Christian philosophers; its determined by the mass of Christians & whom they select as leaders. And American Christianity has quite clearly chosen absolute property rights.

Ayn Rand was just a brief Atheistic blip. Even the vast majority of Libertarians today are Christian; hence the focus on school vouchers.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:27 AM on December 12, 2005


I second caddis's request.
Do tell us bugmuncher.
As Ross Perot would say, I'm all ears.

Render unto Caesar...
posted by nofundy at 11:52 AM on December 12, 2005


Yeah, I think bugmuncher may need to read the parable of the sheep and goats (right after the parable of the talents in Matthew).
posted by caddis at 12:44 PM on December 12, 2005


Read the Parable of the Talents and see if you still think it's entirely against the gospel.

parable of the talents has exactly zero to do with greed or unequal wealth distribution. talk about missing the point? WHOOSH!
posted by quonsar at 12:53 PM on December 12, 2005


This has been an issue since 2003.

As far as the parable of the talents go, it's a mistake to assume that the master is God. The story is about fear, and not reverse economics. It is an anthropological reflection, not a deep statement about God's economy.

as far as "judeo-christian" ethics being a crock of shit, perhaps you could be a bit more precise. There are obviously shitty things in both.

I'm sympathetic to the view that Christian ethics is what Christians do. And Christians who take scripture seriously might make the conclusions she does.
posted by john wilkins at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2005


So, there's going to be some bigstyle punitive tax on shellfish now?
posted by pompomtom at 4:58 PM on December 12, 2005


I could just as easily make a "judeo-christian" case for all federal and state taxation to be immoral, on the grounds that it compels people to support government social programs - programs that people could otherwise give sacrificially to support if they were private.

Well, from no less a source than Jesus himself, we have the direct command to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's", referring specifically to the need to paying taxes. So I think your argument probably wouldn't hold water.

You are right, however, that the scriptural Christian ethos (yes, I know there are variations, but the mainstream understanding of what the Bible is saying) is that Christians are supposed to give generously of their wealth to the poor and needy, too.

See also the story of the rich man, the widow's offering, the good Samaritan, etc., etc., etc...
posted by darkstar at 5:28 PM on December 12, 2005


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