“In this world nothing can be said to be certain,” wrote Benjamin Franklin, “except death and taxes.” For centuries, the faithful have said much about death, little about taxes. Yet, taxes support our common life as a society. The Abrahamic faith traditions have much to say on this issue, and some of it will surprise you. See how Jewish, Christian and Muslim people of faith read their sacred texts and what they say morally about taxation.
"Sacred Texts, Social Duty" is produced by EthicsDaily.com and is now available for order.
Documentary and DVD Information:
Documentary running time: 57 minutes, 30 seconds
Color, Widescreen, Stereo
DVD includes scene selection menus, trailer and seven bonus segments
EthicsDaily.com contains dozens and dozens of articles on faith and taxes. You can find the articles by: 1) clicking on some of the "related articles" on the right-hand side of the page; 2) clicking on the keywords/tags at the bottom of this page, which will call up even more related articles; or 3) simply type a search term, like "tax" or "taxation," into the search box at the top of the site.
Below you can watch several excerpts from the documentary. Single-click the video play it on this page (in the small format), or double-click the video to open it in a high-definition format (loading times will vary depending on the speed of your computer and Internet connection). All clips are embeddable.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," interviewees discuss how houses of faith avoid the topic of taxation.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," Wayne Flynt, ordained Baptist minister and professor emeritus at Auburn University, discusses the idea of "tax freedom."
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," a rally in Birmingham touches on taxes.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," Philip Blackwell, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Chicago, shows how his church stands at the crossroads of faith and government.
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“’Sacred Texts, Social Duty’ is a very important film, especially in this time wherein so many of our politicians and pundits seem to view taxation as one of the great illnesses of society. We seem to forget just what our taxes pay for and how necessary such things as public safety, education and transportation are. We have also forgotten that the three major religious traditions of Western civilization advocate for communal responsibility as it relates to the poor. I am most interested in using this film in the future for a program with Muslims, Christians and Jews and their respective clergy. The film, being so exceptionally well done, lends itself to communal dialogue among our congregants, clergy and politicians."
Fred Guttman, rabbi
Greensboro, North Carolina
"With keen insight into the social context of persons of faith in America, representative leaders from the Abraham traditions speak of the moral responsibility of taxes. The significant message of the documentary is that individual and congregational charity cannot resolve the urgent needs of those in charity. Only public morality through constructive, progressive tax policies can address the common good and move toward justice. EthicsDaily.com has provided a significant public service in re-framing the significance of taxes as viewed through the lenses of sacred texts. The unequivocal teaching of Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Quran is that almsgiving demonstrates compassion and faith in God; these scriptures also advocate for participation in the larger social contract of taxation."