Republican politicians quoting the Bible in abortion and gay rights debates is nothing new, but basing taxes off Christianity is a whole new ballgame. Ben Carson's tax plan is based on the biblical practice of tithing — everyone pays 10 percent of their income. The Republican presidential candidate discussed his religious economic stance on Fox News Sunday (shocker!), saying it's "condescending" to give the poor a lower tax rate than the rich. He explained that "if you eliminate the loopholes and the deductions, then you’re really talking about a rate between 10 and 15 percent," despite the host, Chris Wallace, saying that it would have to be higher than 20 percent to raise the amount it does now.
Explaining where his position on taxes originated, Carson said: "I like the idea of a proportional tax — that way you pay according to your ability. I got that idea quite frankly from the Bible."
Don't people pay according their ability under the current tax structure, though? The former neurosurgeon believes a flat tax rate would help the U.S.'s tax system run more like a business instead of the "great inefficient behemoth that we have now." He said on Fox News: "You make $10 billion a year, you pay a billion; you make $10 a year, you pay one. That’s pretty damn fair if you ask me."
Carson thinks the poor want to pay the same tax rate as the wealthy. He told Wallace:
Now, some people say it's not fair because, you know, the poor people can't afford to pay that dollar. That's very condescending. You know, I grew up very poor. I’ve experienced every economic level. And I can tell you that poor people have pride, too. And they don't want to be just taken care of.
Since it seems Carson's economics are based on his religion, will the rest of his campaign revolve around Christianity too? Although he hasn't officially labeled himself the "Christian candidate," his positions on the issues mimic Christian beliefs. His campaign website says he is "unabashedly and entirely pro-life" and he wants to "keep faith in our society" because "we can and should be proud of that fact" that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.
It makes sense that Carson would base his campaign on his religion, considering he told the Christian Broadcasting Network he felt God's fingers pulling him toward the 2016 presidential race. Other Republican candidates are also religious, but aren't necessarily shaping their campaigns around their beliefs (with Mike Huckabee, an ordained minister, as a possible exception). This tactic will no doubt attract conservative Christians, but that demographic is already likely to vote Republican.
Images: Getty Images (2)