The Bible clearly tells Christians to obey the laws of local authorities, including payments of council rates, says the Very Reverend Richard Humphrey.
The dean of St David’s Cathedral in Hobart said refusal to pay local and state governments for services, including roads and the police, on religious grounds was not a commonly held belief.
The comments came after the Meander Valley Council resolved to sell three properties owned by the Beerepoot family, including Melita Honey Farm, for non-payment of rates because the land is “owned by God”.
Reverend Humphrey said in Mathew 22:21 Jesus said “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's”.
“We should give thanks to God for the beauties of the land and the produce it has and the bounty for the good of all, but if we are going to use the benefits of the modern state then we should play our part in supporting that state,” he said.
The reverend said he had not heard of any situations in which rates were refused to be paid on religious grounds in Australia but some micro states had attempted to declare themselves sovereign.
“In the end it is all God’s land, it is his world and his creation … but also the Bible teaches that the authorities that are in place have been created by God and in Romans 13:1 we are to pay a due respect to those authorities and to pay taxes when taxes are due,” Reverend Humphrey said.
“While a lot of churches don’t pay full rates it’s not because it’s God’s land, it’s in recognition of the good that we do for the community.”