If you missed Columbia's Tea Party with the IRS, you missed a great opportunity to place a tyrannical government on the spot. Overall, it was an enjoyable morning. Our gracious patriot hosts set up a table and chairs in the middle of the front yard, serving tea and crumpets. Our I.R.S. agent soon found herself surrounded by about a dozen of us patriots, all wanting to have our questions answered.
I must compliment our IRS agent, Carla. She was good sport. She tried to honestly answer the questions. But with the 13 years on the "force," she was unaware of our issues.
The meeting opened with a word of prayer. We then read a few Bible verses beginning in Matthew 23:13:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[ 23:13 Some manuscripts to. 14 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Therefore you will be punished more severely.]
Then we read from Matthew 17:24 concerning the Temple Tax:
24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax ?"
25"Yes, he does," he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes--from their own sons or from others?"
26"From others," Peter answered.
27"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. "But so hat we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
We then all had the opportunity to ask her many questions. We asked her to show us where in the law does it show us that we are obligated to pay income tax. She said that she did not know but that she would find out the answer.
Later I had the opportunity to read to her some of the declaration of independence. I started with "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed." This became a theme of the day. We would not be satisfied in having her quote her "code," a document that by her own admission was excessive. We wanted The Law! We then had a chance to quote to her Tacitus who basically said that the more corrupt the nation, the more numerous its laws.
We then had a chance to challenge her on some of the ways that our government spends our hard-earned dollars on evil and wicked purposes. Robert mentioned the 12 billion that Congress just recently paid to farmers to not grow tobacco. We all agreed that if they are going to get paid for not doing stuff, we all should get paid for not doing stuff. I then asked why we should be supporting the baby-killing industry with our tax dollars, mentioning that presently our government pours millions and millions of dollars into this industry. (It is offensive enough that our government chooses to look the other way.) She had no answer for us.
At Robert's prompting, I read from Ezekial chapter 9, a chapter that I recently found that is very applicable to today. It is too long to repeat here, so I will summarize:
The Lord calls forth the angel "with the inkwell" and tells that angel to go forth among the people of Israel and place a mark on the forehead of everyone who "sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it." Here we see a bare minimum standard that God sets for his people: they must still have a conscience left.
The Lord then sends out other angels with "battle axes" to destroy all those who lack the mark of the previous angel sparing none. Interestingly, the Lord tells his destroying angels to begin in the sanctuary. I believe that this is a sign that the Lord places a higher level on expectation on those who serve him and that we, most of all, will not be excused from His judgments.
Ezekial soon finds himself alone with the Lord. There was no one besides Ezekial who met the Lords minimal standard. I believe that this applies just as much to our society today. So few, within the church and without, have any kind of conscience left. So many have become accustomed to the world around them that so few find their world offensive.
Ezekial cries out to the Lord, "Will you kill everyone?" and the Lord answers, "The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city full of perversity; ... As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will bring down their deeds upon their heads."
I concluded the passage above by explaining that I believe that as Christians we have an obligation not to look the other way the way the rest of the world does when our own government engages in abominable acts like the shedding of baby blood.
When she left our little Tea Party about 2 hours later, she told us that she never had a meeting quite like this one.