The pandemic has not caused it but has simply aggravated it. I am talking about the demands on churches to provide welfare rescue of needy citizens. But why is the church being asked to do this minus subsidy from the government which collects taxes from the people to be used to provide for the basic amenities/necessities of citizens?
If government can mandate that all employed citizens pay taxes as part of the social contract with legal consequences for default who holds government accountable for its default on its side of the social contract?
Years ago I produced a CD titled Paying Taxes and other Social Sins and arranged for a copy to be sent to our then Minister of Finance, MP Omar Davis. I don’t know if it reached him. In it I argued that no government has any unquestionable right to collect taxes from citizens unless they do right by citizens with said taxes.
While serving as a Pastor and designated then as self-employed, and given the shoddy job re social amenities, I decided to set aside my taxes for that year and rather than pay it over to government I gave it all to the Maxfield Park Children’s Home where the children were housed under less than humane conditions (I still recall the roof there leaking). I simply asked the person in charge there to give me a receipt for the funds as my defence should the government decide to take me to court.
The churches are periodically (read arbitrarily) limited in numbers in worship and, like it or not, this seriously affects income. From where are churches expected to find the funds to continue, let alone increase, their putreach welfare ministries to the growing number of needy Jamaicans?
Someone needs to remind our governmental leaders of the primary responsibility they are to discharge in the interest of the populace. The Umbrella group of Churches should challenge government to do right by the poor and needy in our country or else provide some kind of subsidy to denominations to continue their welfare work in their communities or else. I don’t know what this necessary threat would mean but the current realities should not be allowed to continue with silence from the Church.