TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA — This Wednesday, two Christian missionaries went before the Supreme Court of Tasmania for failing to pay around $930,000 in income taxes, along with other charges, in 2017. The missionaries, Fanny Alida Beerepoot and Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot, argued that paying taxes “goes against God’s will.”
“We believe that the constitution affirms the fact that the Commonwealth resides within the jurisdiction of the law of the Almighty God and the law of the Almighty God is the supreme law of this land,” their submission read. The couple represented themselves, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Mr. Beerepoot argued in a letter to the Queen and Prime Minister of Australia last month that although they paid taxes prior to 2011, their deepening spiritual beliefs caused them to realize that paying taxes was taking away from people’s closeness to God, which in turn is bringing about “curses” on the country of Australia.
“As we move outside of God’s jurisdiction, this country has received curses which we’re already seeing in the form of droughts and infertility,” the letter read according to the ABC. “Transferring our allegiance from God to the Commonwealth would mean rebelling against God and therefore breaking the first commandment.”
“As we reject God, the curses upon us become greater, but if we return to God’s teachings there will be healing,” the pair argued. “We rely on the blessings we receive from God which we give to him and not to an outside entity such as the tax office.”
But the judge was having none of it.
“If you can’t find me a passage in scripture or gospel that says ‘thou shall not pay tax’ then can you see I have difficulty finding a starting point?” Associate Justice Stephen Holt told the pair.
Holt clarified that he believes the Beerepoots’ convictions to be genuine and not just a ploy to avoid taxes, but he doesn’t see how their beliefs are derived from the bible.
“But in my view, the Bible effectively said that civil matters and the law of God operate in two different spheres,” Holt said.
He ultimately ruled that the Beerepoots must pay an estimated $1.159 million and $1.166 million respectively.
Nice try, you two.
Featured image: “Christ Driving Out Money Changers From the Temple,” by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890)