Monday, 5 September 2011

Travellers at Dale Farm, Church land and Romans 13:1-7

The travellers at Dale Farm who are threatened with eviction need somewhere to go.  They would want to continue their way of life where they could park their caravans and cars etc.  The local churches have been involved in the mediation process.  I wonder if any of them has thought about offering some land owned by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church to help these travellers.   These churches own vast amounts of land and property. They have a lot of land attached to theological colleges, convents, monasteries, cathedrals, neglected churches, educational institutions, retreat centres etc.

Has Vanessa Redgrave thought about accommodating some of the travellers on her land? Perhaps she has thought about putting them in her back yard or on her property.

Are some of the wealthy travellers prepared to buy some more brown sites, like old scrapyards, to help them?  It is alleged that there are some very wealthy travellers who have become rich by evading taxes on their income through some their commercial enterprises.  Travellers have been accused of parasitical practices by taking advantage of the free health care, transport infrastructure, local amenities and benefits of society without putting in the funds through taxes, revenues etc.

Some, however, see travellers as a persecuted minority in a complex and structured society that treats them badly and unjustly.  According to this view, and others close to it, the travellers have a right to their independent, non-conformist culture and way of life.  It has been argued that they are often vilified for petty crimes by a hypocritical and hypercritical society that tolerates enormous fraud and foul practices in the name of commerce, banking and enterprise.

Some of the travellers who claim to be practising Catholics, committed Christians, preachers and pilgrims, and  other religious labels and affiliations need to consider the message and meaning of Paul's letter to the Romans in chapter 13, verses one to seven.

We pay taxes to the authorities because they are God's servants who give their full time to government administration.  Verse six clearly enjoins these acts.  We are to give everyone what we owe them and that includes taxes, revenue, respect and honour.

Those who put themselves above reasonable laws and established rules in a democratic society and deliberately disobey them, should take heed.  According to Romans 13:2, they are clearly acting against what God has established, rebelling against God and inviting the judgement of God on themselves.

This applies to certain members of the travellers, but it also applies to the incredibly greedy tax evaders who have lied, cheated and sought refuge in "tax havens", who are guilty of criminal acts that cost the British tax payer far, far more than the small amounts of lost revenue from the travelling community.

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