Now, I’m no theologian, but I’m fairly certain that neither Jesus nor his rabbinic forebears, when speaking of giving, meant some obligation to the state. You tithe the priest, not the tax man.This is interesting, because the common forms of the word Rabbi didn't appear until about 200 A.D., and what we now call Rabbinic Judaism didn't emerge as the dominant strain of Judaism until sometime around the 6th or 7th century, after the codification of the Talmud. Well, maybe Snarls knows some Karaites, although I'm not sure that Karaites have rabbis; in fact, I think they rather disapprove of them. But now, look, leaving aside the age-old question of what exactly J-Chrizzle meant with the whole Render unto Caesar rap (but he meant taxes), Judaism is in fact perfectly clear: with few exceptions, it is not only a legal obligation to pay taxes to secular authority, but a religious one: it is chillul Hashem to avoid 'em--literally, a desecration of the name of god, and you know how strongly Jews feel about that whole name of god business.
Hashem knows, you'll rarely find me defending the Oh, Brother administration, least of all its Good-News justification of American social programs even as it bombs the hell out of all and sundry, just like Jesus would've, but the idea of the state as a redistributive agency would have been no more alien to a Davidian king than it currently is to a gopher in the tunnels of the Center for American Progress. And since the kohenim worked for the state, the whole argument becomes even nuttier. The temple treasury and the state treasury were indistinct--when they weren't dragooning the poor into forced labor projects, both the state and the temple, which were one and the same, helped the poor. Constitutional libertarianism or whatever was a lot more fucking weird, which is a polite way to say nonexistent, in the ancient world than the dole. Riddle me this, Krauthammer: in a society without class mobility, what else do you do with the poor but feed them from the granaries of the state?