About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Resisting Unfair Taxation

Two enlarged FlatZach-s, decorated earlier,
come to Rutgers worship this Sunday 2/7. 
Unfair Taxation - for me it will always be associated with Margaret Thatcher and her poll tax.
    In 1989 I received an invitation from the Church of Scotland to study theology for a year at the New College in Edinburgh. Shortly after I came to Scotland, the Berlin Wall came down and soon the totalitarian Communism was no more. Back in home I used to be part of a Christian youth movement strongly opposed to the totalitarian system and Margaret Thatcher was our hero. While the Velvet Revolution was going on in Prague, I went through my own political revolution because in Scotland I experienced first-hand the rigid harshness of conservative ideologues.
    Year 1989 was exactly the year when Thatcher imposed on Scotland her poll tax (to finance the local councils and infrastructure). She treated the Scots like guinea pigs, testing the poll tax in Scotland before it was to be introduced to the rest of the kingdom. From my meager bursary (British word for a scholarship) I paid a substantial poll tax prorated to finance Edinburgh City Council. This was a proper capitation tax when every person had to pay the same amount regardless of age, income or employment status and it was patently unfair! In respect of social ethos it was an attempt to return to dark and unjust medieval times. Around the world you can actually use an abolition of capitation as a marker of socially sensitive modernity.
    Of course I was in Scotland to study theology and I thought about it and reflected this experience through the theological prism. Jesus in the well-known passage about Roman Head Tax (Matthew 22:15-22) famously pronounced, “Give to emperor what caries his image and give to God what caries God’s image!” It can be further paraphrased: Pay tax even if it is unfair, because open rebellion is exactly what the state bureaucratic, police and judicial machineries are waiting for and are prepared to suppress and punish, but dedicate your entire self (Remember - you are the images of God!) to undo injustice and work for divine kingdom of SHALOM (God’s peace and harmony).
    So as I have mentioned, I dutifully paid the Thatcher’s poll tax because I did not want to be deported, but I went through substantial change of my heart and social orientation. I left Communist Prague for Great Britain as an ardent anticommunist and after experiencing the rule of Iron Lady over Scotland, I returned to my home, quickly returning to capitalism, and I was a theological democratic socialist - standing on the side and defending the oppressed, the exploited, the poor.
    Come this Sunday to meet with a notorious New Testament tax collector Zacchaeus (FlatZach) who similarly turned around his life. We will learn from Jesus why Flat Tax (just like head tax) is unfair and what we can do about it.

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