What an interesting piece at Brian McLaren's blog, "A Theology of Taxation" by Jim Burklo. http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/jim-burklo-of-progressive-christ.html
Burklo's piece dovetails with something else I read, Warren R. Copeland's book Doing Justice in Our Cities (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), where Copeland worries that Christians feel warmer about building a house for Habitat for Humanity because it's somehow more a "good cause" than dealing with federal and local laws about housing. In his city, Springfield, Ohio, Habitat constructed 40 homes but in one year Copeland (serving in local government) voted to support construction of over 200 housing units for low- and medium-income families, and the city government supported nearly 2000 other units. He writes, "Voluntary organizations provide a human touch and often a spiritual dimension that may be missing from government programs. however, ware are not about to meet the huge needs of our urban communities through voluntarism" (p. 73). "Both [government and voluntary groups] are essential to a democratic society" (p. 124). "I believe that the ethical principles of respect for the integrity of other human beings, recognition of the jut claims of our neighbors, and concern for the common good deserve our commitment [in both voluntary and civic service]" (p. 124).
I also thought of Eric Mount's Covenant, Community, and the Common Good (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1999), where he writes, "The government and voluntary associations should be partners, not adversaries, with respect to poverty programs, family problems, and environmental protection. One of the encouraging outcomes of welfare reform has been the necessity for community employers, community organizations, and voluntary associations to work together with the government offices to help people meet deadlines and to keep them from being plunged deeper into poverty. Rejection of government is not the answer" (p. 104).
What is needed, argues Mount, is a "shared membership in a national community or a global community" in which---through our service, civic participation, taxes, and programs---we have a shared sense of responsibility for one another (p. 156)---which is a God-given, biblical value.
(A lesson series that consider these issues is the curriculum "Faithful Citizen" from the Center for the Congregation in Public Life: http://congregationinpubliclife.org/DVDCurriculum.htm )