It’s been widely assumed that a political ethic can be read in Jesus’ answer to “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” and that the social location of the conversation can be ignored or considered irrelevant. But only the most interiorized notion of discipleship can be indifferent to the social circumstances in which discipleship is embodied.
Americans are, or at least claim to be, a Christian people. Almost 80 percent of us, including President Bush, practice Christianity in some form. Bush has openly stated that Jesus is his favorite philosopher and that “we ought to love our neighbor like we love our self, as manifested in public policy.” Yet the president is leading our tax policy far from God’s moral compass.
To worry publicly about the increasing disparities of wealth and income in this country is to invite the charge of fomenting “class warfare.” Nevertheless, consider: Top CEOs earn 1,000 times the pay of an average worker—a ratio that has increased exponentially in the past three decades.