FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jessica Felix-Romero
Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners, released the following statement today on the Republican tax plan:
As Christians we are told by Jesus that we will be judged not by our profit margins, our corporate tax rates, or our repeal of healthcare, but how we treat the poor, the sick, and the most vulnerable in society. The Republican tax bill that passed the House of Representatives has failed that moral test on all accounts.
The House passed tax bill is, simply put, a massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and corporations, at the expense of lower and middle-class Americans along with the common good of our society.
Republicans always like to point out how many pages there are in the tax code. I will point out that there are over two thousand verses in the Bible about the poor—and there are no verses in the Bible about tax cuts for the wealthy.
Like budgets, the tax code is a moral document. Budgets are moral statements of priorities. The tax code is a moral document, a social contract, on how we are each going to do our part in sharing our resources with our communities, our neighbors, and those most in need.
In the Bible Jesus condemns the money changers who, in the temple, sought to profit from and indeed exploit the poorest in their community. And in the bible Jesus praises Zacchaeus, a tax collector who, realizing the error of his ways, repents—giving away half of his goods and money to the poor. So how do Republicans, many of whom purport to be followers of Jesus, reconcile their tax bill with the teachings of Christ? How do they reconcile what Jesus says in Matthew 19: 23, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” with their desire to give more to the wealthy at the expense of the poor?
So we must ask:
Would Jesus favor cutting corporate tax rates with no expiration date from 35% to 20% for domestic corporations and to 10% for foreign corporations (incentivizing businesses to move abroad—moving jobs and employment out of already struggling communities)?
Would Jesus favor changes to state and local deductions, putting pressure on cities and counties with already limited budgets for things like education?
Would Jesus favor the changes to the Child Tax Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit that would remove the eligibility of millions of low-income and immigrant families who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number rather than a Social Security Number?
Would Jesus favor doubling the estate tax deduction to $11 million—a provision that only helps the wealthiest Americans?
Would Jesus favor increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion and pushing the country farther into debt—a situation for which Republicans’ solution will surely be, as indeed it always is, to suggest further cuts to vital programs that protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our country and our world?
Jesus was clear when he told us “Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
In passing this bill, Republicans have placed themselves next to the money changers, on the opposite side of the table in the temple from Jesus. We are called, by the example of Jesus, to overturn that table.