Apr 21, 2013

A tax on sex outside of marriage

Chuck Colson died a year ago today. The one-time Watergate criminal, who converted to evangelical Christianity after his indictment, played a pivotal role in the political mobilization of American evangelicals, particularly by popularizing and promoting the work of Francis Schaeffer and the idea of "worldviews," and also in convincing evangelicals to work with Catholics on common social causes.

In one of his very last daily radio commentaries, broadcast April 2, Colson argued tax policies necessarily reflects legislator's worldview, and that conceptions of "sin" are important to the shape that those tax policies take. He said,
... the number of sin taxes is increasing, perhaps because legislators simply want to be on record as opposing the 'sins' of alcohol, smoking, and even sugary drinks! 
It’s odd, though, that despite this feeding frenzy, nobody is proposing to tax an activity that nearly every previous generation saw as truly sinful and harmful to society: sexual promiscuity. 
In fact, the word 'promiscuity' is no longer uttered after the word 'sexual' in polite company, although the word 'freedom' certainly is. And we actually celebrate sexual promiscuity. 
... now the Sexual Left not only excuses sin, they want us to actually subsidize it.
It's a clever argument, partly playfully facetious, built not on argument for a policy position per se but the deftness of the reversal of the policy position being opposed, an argument via subversion, mutates mutandis.

That style was not incidental to his success, I don't think.

The late Colson's radio commentaries can be heard here. Colson's columns for Christianity Today, including those he co-wrote with the Catholic theologian Robert P. George, can be found here. The radio commentaries of those who have continued his work -- including those of popular Dietrich Bonhoeffer biographer Eric Metaxas -- can be heard here.