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November 15, 2008


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"Charity freely given is a virtue distinctly more valuable than any government program could be. For charity to be a virtue, it must be freely given. But government entitlement programs are funded from taxes."

There's no virtue in obeying the law? Who knew!

I live in a free country. If I and my fellow-citizens get together and elect a government which collects money from all of us for the good of all of us, my contributions darned well count as good acts. My taxes feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the aged and orphans...any of this sound familiar? Anyone?


I guess you could say that your tax contributions count as good acts, but that's pretty weak.

There's virtue in obeying the law, but I don't think I could say with a straight face that I gave to charity by paying my taxes.

Cut back your spending?

Hmmm, my monthly income is $1000. I pay $650 to rent a room in a house with nine people, $110 in medical expenses, and $136 to a student loan garnishment.

Exactly what spending should I cut back?

Good article.

But I'm not sure why Marotta even went into the bit about government versus charity. It seems kinda irrelevant to the point to me. Charity stands on its own as a good deed. YOu don't need to argue that paying taxes is coerced to support the cause of charity. Just seems like irrelevant negativity towards government..


Poor Boomer said: "$650 to rent a room in a house with nine people" if you're paying $650 to renta room then you're probably in someplace like San Francisco or Manhattan. Sorry but you need to move to somewhere more affordable if your income is that low.


Poor Boomer, Actually tinking about it.. If your income is $1000 a month then you're likely eligible as a recepient for govt aid. I think you can probably qualify for food stamps or other programs. I don't know what your circumstances are but $1000 a month is on the border of the poverty line for 1 person.


I live in Portland, which isn't as expensive as SF or Manhattan, or even as Seattle. Two of the people own the house and rent rooms to the other seven (there are two couples). Is this a great business model or what? Oh, and they charge weekly which attracts poor people who don't have the $1000+ bucks to move into a monthly rental, which is how I wound up here in the first place.

I'd love to do it myself but I don't have the startup costs (e.g. to buy the house in the first place).

And I don't even live anywhere near a decent location; I am in the next-to-last subdivision on the edge of town, two blocks from the end of a bus line with poor service.

I do get $25 in food stamps.

Note that I am stuck and can't move to a better/cheaper place because I am perpetually broke and have no move-in money.


Very little of taxes go to the areas you mentioned. With that said, it is my belief that God looks at how we as individuals care for those mentioned. I have yet to see anything where it says to find someone else (or a government) to do it for you. Several passages clearly speak of direct involvement, such as James 1:27.

Poor Boomer,
I assume you mean Portland Oregon rather than Maine. $650 for a room in Portland seems excessive. I did a search on Craigslist for Portland and it looks like rooms typically go for $300-400:
If you look around you can find something that doesn't demand 1st and last months. Maybe one of those folks would let you pay in weekly amounts?

Are you employed or retired? If you are not disabled then are you looking for work? $1000 a month means you're either on a fixed income like social security or disability or you're working part time on minimum wage.

If you can't work or find work then you could seek the aid of charitable organizations. Someone might be able to help you out short term to get you out of the situation of paying high rent like you are. Or check into further public assistance. Given your income level you may qualify for public housing assistance (section 8).

You may be in a difficult spot but there are solutions and people willing to help.


Sarah: Following the law is not a moral choice -- it's a coercion. Even if you have moral reasons for acting in accordance with the law, it doesn't change the fact that other people require you to comply with it (at the threat of fining you, throwing you into prison, or even death) regardless of your moral sensibilities.

And I find it hard to believe that anyone, even those who say they believe that the law should always be followed to a T, actually follow the law ALL the time. Have you ever driven with a headlight out? Or jaywalked? Or let a piece of paper fall to the ground, blowing away in the wind, and not bothered to chase it down? If you think these illegal actions are okay, then you admit that following the law is not a moral obligation, and the rest is just a matter of degree.

There are literally millions of local, state and federal laws, and it's almost impossible to live a single day without breaking at least one of them.

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