I generally try to stay out of politics. I try to stick to my area of expertise, religion and faith. However, there are times when it is difficult to remain silent and not cross into the other.
This week I filed my taxes for 2014. I had been notified as a minister that how I handle health insurance had changed. For the IRS, we clergy are considered “self-employed.” That is kind of crazy since I am clearly an employee of Hillside Christian Church, but that is how it is done. In the twenty-five years I have been at the church, the church has always paid and provided me with heath insurance coverage. That is pretty standard for most clergy. However, this past year with the new health care law, the money that is used to pay health insurance coverage is taxable. What the IRS does now, is to give “credit” for the amount paid. In other words a wash. However, when you file state taxes, the State of Kansas does not “recognize” the new health care law. The clergy end up paying state taxes on what the IRS credites back on the Federal. Thus, the state has increased taxes on all clergy! Don’t tell me we have cut taxes, when I am paying more.
No one argues that we as Christians have to pay tax. Taxes are necessary and needed to have the best community and state that we can have. But don’t lie to me! Don’t tell me that taxes are going down and that the sun is shining in Kansas. Don’t play me for a fool.
I am already upset over the lack of funding for our public schools. There is nothing more important for our children than a good quality education. We want to talk about better jobs, higher paying jobs and yet we deprive our children of one of the most important things possible to get ahead in life. We have some very wonderful private schools in Wichita. Hillside Christian Church has probably one of the best pre-schools in Sedgwick County housed in our building. However, not everyone can afford private school.
While I am not a promoter of abortion, I don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend laws that are more opinion based than fact based. Or spend all of our time and energy creating laws to govern election problems that don’t even exist. We seem to have the money for those items when we can’t even find money to address the unemployed or poor. It is a good thing that the size of a person’s campaign contribution doesn’t influence that office. However, it is free speech. Come on, somewhere and at some time we have to be real!
OK. I will go back to sticking with my field. Justice! Justice! JUSTICE!