Last year, President Donald Trump signed into law a tax bill that cut taxes for large corporations and America’s wealthiest individuals by slashing trillions of dollars over the next decade from programs that serve low-income and middle-class families.
The law puts Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and nutrition assistance programs at risk.
As millions of Americans file their taxes, it’s important to reflect on why we must fight to preserve social programs that feed our kids and keep our communities healthy.
As a pastor, I can say with certainty that Jesus cares about taxes. As a man who walked the Earth feeding the hungry and healing the sick, Jesus would decry a cruel, immoral tax plan.
A just society will make sure that everyone pays their fair share to protect working families. This bill will make that much more difficult. It punishes people for being poor.
The tax plan also destabilizes the health insurance markets, making it more difficult and expensive for our most vulnerable citizens to access the health care that they need.
This breaks one of the two core commandments of my faith: to love your neighbor as yourself. That love means we must have compassion, not a cruel tax bill.
As a person of faith, I believe in forgiveness and repentance. The tax bill that this Congress passed is cruel and unjust, but that doesn’t mean it is irreversible.
Just as Zacchaeus, a tax collector in the Bible, repented and gave back to people what he had stolen from them, so Congress needs to recognize that the legislation it passed will hurt people.
The gospel of Luke doesn’t go into detail about what Zacchaeus did after his encounter with Jesus.
I like to think that he went back to his job changed, with a renewed focus on what is right for the poor — and a new commitment not to steal.
Will Congress have a Zacchaeus moment and commit to doing what is right?
Elder Lee Harris, pastor,
Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church,