Author Topic: A Lutheran View of Government and Taxation  (Read 5503 times)

Jim_Krauser

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • "The one who is righteous shall live by faith."
    • View Profile
Re: A Lutheran View of Government and Taxation
« Reply #75 on: October 15, 2012, 03:11:25 PM »

God gave the people of Germany in the time of Luther and Malancthon a government of appointed rulers, usually from the hereditary aristocracy. God gives us in 21st century America a constitutional republic with elected leaders and an appointed bureaucracy. We choose our leaders through the ballot box. By your interpretation of scripture, that is a gift of God we are to be grateful for. Included in that gift from God is the principle of separation of state and church. The state is, on paper at least, not allowed to dictate what a preacher may or may not preach. The church, on paper at least, is not supposed to take sides in partisan elections.
"The church, on paper at least, is not supposed to take sides in partisan elections." 
This idea is the result of a 1954 Law, the was no such sense in American law prior to that. 
The quotation I've offered has not partisan content, that is YOUR inference.  You can say it is mine as often as you like, but it is not true.
Quote

The structure of government is one thing. The written rules and laws it is to follow is another thing. And the people selected to fill that structure and work within those rules is a third thing. In the minds of most people, those three things tend to blur into a single entity called "government". By calling for prayers of thankfulness for the structure of our government, and for our set of laws, one is also calling for prayers of thanksgiving for incumbent office holders at a time when the incumbents are being challenged in contested elections. Such prayers would be heard by many people as an endorsement for incumbent officeholders.
 
I'm not sure what distincting you are trying to make between the first and second points.  Of the second you said the laws it (meaning government?) is to follow....Wouldn't that be the structure that arranges how the government works?  Perhaps you mean the enactments of the government.   As to the people that fill the structure some are elected others but many perhaps most are career civil servants.  They are good because the do the work of governing, not because of policies they enact. (Caveat:  if what they were doing were manifestly criminal, violated the laws they have a duty to uphold, then they would be poor servants worthy of rejection through election or termination of employment on behalf of the public.)  How can affirmation of the work of civil servants partisan?
Quote

Which comes back to the object I have raised that you keep pretending is about something else. You claim you raise this issue with no "agenda", and I reject your claim of lack of agenda. Your actions are consistent with someone who wants to support the re-election of the incumbents, and inconsistent with someone who truly is neutral about his desired outcome for the election.


You are taking the writings of Luther and Malancthon that referred to a government in which those being governed had no say whatsoever in who did the governing, and attempting to use them as a subtle encouragement to re-elect the incumbent candidates. Your replies dodge that issue completely, and substitute lengthy and convoluted defenses of a 16th century understanding of the nature of government. Even the addition of taxation to the argument is tailored to support the incumbent candidate, who seeks to increase taxes.
Here as in many other places there are many state races also being decided most of the incumbents in these are Republicans .  Our congressional district happens to be represented by a Republican.  So if, as you claim, my offering the quote as a celebration of democratic government is partisan in favor of incumbents, then I'm probably endorsing many more Republicans than Democrats, so your argument and analysis of my motives is flawed and false.
The taxation quote (which I had not identified as part of the statement that I would read to the congregation) was offered for the purposes of discussion here. 
 
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 04:57:37 PM by Jim_Krauser »
Jim Krauser

Pastor-Grace Evang. Lutheran Church, North Bellmore, NY

Jim_Krauser

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • "The one who is righteous shall live by faith."
    • View Profile
Re: A Lutheran View of Government and Taxation
« Reply #76 on: October 15, 2012, 03:23:19 PM »
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/10/14/fukuyama-on-building-better-bureaucracies/

Some useful thoughts on the proper role of government.
An interesting analysis and much food for thought. Other than praising thrift (which religion regards as a virtue), it is purely secular and organizational in scope. 
One wonders if it is not open to the same utopian charge as the proclamation of the general goodness of government.  Small government would likely be more efficient and ideal, who could argue against that?  The lingering question is whether it is really possible in a very large and compelex societies, that is how small could "small" be in a nation of 300,000,000 people who need the services of government.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 05:02:04 PM by Jim_Krauser »
Jim Krauser

Pastor-Grace Evang. Lutheran Church, North Bellmore, NY

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: A Lutheran View of Government and Taxation
« Reply #77 on: October 15, 2012, 06:27:27 PM »
The structure of government is one thing. The written rules and laws it is to follow is another thing. And the people selected to fill that structure and work within those rules is a third thing. In the minds of most people, those three things tend to blur into a single entity called "government". By calling for prayers of thankfulness for the structure of our government, and for our set of laws, one is also calling for prayers of thanksgiving for incumbent office holders at a time when the incumbents are being challenged in contested elections. Such prayers would be heard by many people as an endorsement for incumbent officeholders.
 
I'm not sure what distincting you are trying to make between the first and second points.  Of the second you said the laws it (meaning government?) is to follow....Wouldn't that be the structure that arranges how the government works?  Perhaps you mean the enactments of the government.   As to the people that fill the structure some are elected others but many perhaps most are career civil servants.  They are good because the do the work of governing, not because of policies they enact. (Caveat:  if what they were doing were manifestly criminal, violated the laws they have a duty to uphold, then they would be poor servants worthy of rejection through election or termination of employment on behalf of the public.)  How can affirmation of the work of civil servants partisan?

"Structure" refers to such things as a bicameral legislature with separate executive and judicial branches. Laws refer to those things that the legislature passes that the executive executes. If a city with a home rule charter decides to govern itself with a pseudo parliamentary structure, with an elected council that appoints one of it's members to be the chairman/executive, that's a structure. If a city has an elected council and hires a professional city manager to handle the executive duties, that's another structure. If the city has an ordinance requiring people to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice, that's a law. Jurisdictions can have different government structures, and yet have similar laws. Likewise, identical structures could result in very different laws.


A jurisdiction could pass a law that all persons must have a properly approved permit in order to build an addition to their home. The bureaucrats responsible for issuing those permits might be good and diligent public servants, or they might be incompetent fools. They might do their work as they are supposed to, or they might require the illegal payment of bribes before they do what they should. A jurisdiction might pass laws about restaurant sanitation, but the bureaucrats who do the inspections might be incompetent, corrupt, or both.


There are also laws such as constitutions or charters that specifically limit what authority a jurisdiction has. The US Constitution limits some functions to the Federal government, and reserves other functions to the states or the people themselves. In modern times, most of those limits are blatantly ignored by the use of the weakest, flimsiest excuses. A recent example is Federal taxes on people who don't buy healthcare insurance. It is true that most constitutions and charters both define structures of government as well as setting limits on them, those are two separate things.


And far too often, when the bureaucrats responsible for carrying out the provisions of the laws are incompetent, corrupt, or both, it is because their jobs were obtained as a result of political patronage.