Could an 11th commandmentâlove your taxesâbe far off in England?
The Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales has launched a campaign to encourage its 4.6 million members in the U.K. and Northern Ireland to embrace their inner taxpayer. A 40-page booklet called "Taxation for the Common Good," offers the premise that rather than seeing taxes as an unfair penalty, they should be seen as a way people can participate morally in society, Reuters reported.
"Taxes are very much based on the principles of solidarity, which is based on the commandment to love your neighbor," former Bishop Howard Tripp, Chairman of the Church's Committee for Public Life, told Reuters.
On average, Britons pay a basic rate on income of 22 percent and 40 percent on anything over 29,900 pounds ($55,550) but the Church's book doesn't get into what tax rate it considers equitable.
"This document is suggesting taxes are a way to play our part and it is something we should be pleased to do...It's all part of our duty to our neighbor, stemming from our duty as social animals," he said.
The Church claims the booklet is not a party political statement and does not mention the tax policy of British Chancellor (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown, who has hiked taxes to help fund the country's ailing health service, Reuters reported.
Tripp said the booklet is intended to jumpstart public debate on the issue and to give taxation a moral standing in society. He said tax dodgers cheat themselves and their country.
"If a person felt bound not to pay some tax to a certain cause they disagree with then they must follow their conscience, but I would urge them to look at other ways to deal with that problem, such as lobbying members of parliament."