Can the Lord’s work be funded by taxation? If you’re Reverend Kevass Harding, the answer is sure, why not? He might even think it’s his calling.
Never mind that at its fundamental level, taxation takes money from one person against their will and gives it to another.
Sure, some people will argue that taxes are “the price we pay for civilization” or something like that. Or they will say that since we all benefit from, say, police and fire protection, we all have to pay taxes.
Even if true, these rationalizations are a long way from using taxation to support private real estate development. At least these arguments don’t invoke the name of Jesus. But Harding does in order to accomplish through government, in the form of tax increment financing, what he couldn’t through voluntary action. Is this what Jesus would do?
The Wichita Eagle story KenMar part of pastor’s work in neighborhood tells us of Harding’s belief that “he is doing the Lord’s work, in part, in renovating the run-down KenMar Shopping Center at 13th and Oliver.”
The story also states “The project is a private, for-profit venture, he said, but it springs in part from his spiritual vocation.”
This taking of money, shrouded in morality and spirituality, is even more egregious than most. High atop his moral high horse, Harding believes he is doing good for the community. For the entire city, I’m sure he believes.
Here’s something from another man of religion, C.S. Lewis, reminding us about moral busybodies: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”