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What Belongs to Caesar?

content ballShortly after our son was born, we discovered that his skin was very sensitive.  He frequently had itchy, dry patches, which made him miserable. The creams we were given to treat the outbreaks actually burned and made him scream in pain.  I decided to try changing some things to see if we could prevent the outbreaks altogether.  I started by making a lot of my cleaners from food-grade products such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.  I also made our laundry soap and used cornstarch on his skin to help with perspiration.  While I wasn’t able to eliminate his skin irritations completely, I made an interesting discovery.  I was saving money on sales tax!  It didn’t occur to me that each time I bought a commercial cleaner or any non-food item such as toothpaste, soap, and laundry detergent, I was paying higher sales tax than I did for our food.  The sales tax on food in our area is 1.5% and in the city just to the north of us, there is no tax on food at all!  Compare that to the sales tax on non-food items which is 8.8% and in the city that has no tax on food, the non-food tax is 9%.

This got me to thinking about all the ways we hand money over to our government without batting an eyelash.  I know taxes are necessary to build roads, maintain our libraries and postal services, etc. and I am not opposed to paying taxes.  However, I am not always impressed with the way our tax dollars are being spent and would like more autonomy when it comes to giving our hard-earned dollars away.

An example of this that seems rampant here in Arizona is specialized license plates.  Supposedly, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plates is used to support various organizations. We have a huge selection of special plates to choose from when renewing our registration. These designs are all designed to pull on our heart strings or show our pride or support of an organization.  We have child abuse plates, environmental plates, and most of the colleges and universities are represented as well.

Then, as if paying extra for the license plate isn’t enough, the government likes to entice us to add “personalization” for just a few dollars more. Call me skeptical, but I’ve never thought too highly of our government getting into the business of philanthropy.  It’s great to show everyone what school you graduated from or to support child abuse awareness, but I don’t think using our government to pool these funds on behalf of these organizations is the way to go.  When it comes to charity, we need to leave that to the Church or donate directly to the organizations we want to support using our tithe.  And, they might even give us a bumper sticker as a “thank you” for our donation!

~Matthew 22:21 “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”

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