Tax Reform H. Christ
March 4, 2003 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Jesus, fix our taxes! A professor is criticizing Alabama's tax system with Bible verses in tow. Some are saying it just might work, and others are calling it baptised Marxism. Fat Tuesday indeed!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo (6 comments total)
An open secret is that white southern evangelicals, as a group, learn more toward the economically liberal side than the conventional wisdom would have it. Or rather, there is latent economic liberalism there. White southern evangelicals only started voting Republican because of social issues and most likely race, although they deny such. In any case, I'd imagine that this has something to do with the evangelical movement's roots. Does anyone remember that economic populist William Jennings Bryan was on the "wrong" side of the Scopes trial? The association of economic liberalism with intellectualism begins with the New Deal and Keynesian economics, but its roots still show.
posted by raysmj at 2:44 PM on March 4, 2003

Yeah thats a good point, but what about the upper class in many churches taking offense at this, creating 'self censorship' at the pulpit. I still think its an interesting catalyst for change, if it ends up doing any good. Religious groups seem to get a lot of flack from the left regarding social issues and civil liberties, it would be interesting to see both sides work together for a common cause.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 3:32 PM on March 4, 2003

Whether one agrees with the specific tax policies of this professor or not, I think that the left can learn a lot from her strategy. He's learned to "speak the language" of the people he's trying to break through to. You can talk until you're blue in the face about the economic advantages of a more stable tax structure that progressive income taxation provides, but most people don't care because they're not economists. Prof. Hamill is out there pressing flesh with the people explaining the problems of the state in terms that her southern co-religionists can relate to.

To put it succinctly, if her opponents aren't using purely economic arguments to promote their position, why should Prof. Hamill? Much as I might take issue with Nicholas Kristof when he gets on a self-righteous high-horse about how the NYT doesn't pander to fundamentalists, I don't have anything against using the old evangelical fire-and-brimestone to preach against the depredations of conservative crookery.
posted by deanc at 4:05 PM on March 4, 2003

I don't have anything against using the old evangelical fire-and-brimestone to preach against the depredations of conservative crookery

From one crookery to another, eh?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 5:10 AM on March 5, 2003

Jesus really was progressive on taxation. Some would even say he was very socialistic.

"Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"
"From whom much is given, much is expected"
"If a man asks for your robe, give him your cloak also"
"Do not store up treasures here on earth but in heaven."

This lady may be on to something.
posted by nofundy at 5:36 AM on March 5, 2003

Nobody seems to be mentioning taxing the churches themselves. (See also this, but the site doesn't seem to have been updated since last August.)
posted by LeLiLo at 8:18 AM on March 5, 2003

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