"Sacred Texts, Social Duty" (2010)

Order "Sacred Texts, Social Duty" on DVD!

Click the video to play the trailer for
"Sacred Texts, Social Duty."



"In this world nothing can be said to be certain," wrote Benjamin Franklin, "except death and taxes." For centuries, the faithful have said much about death, little about taxes. Yet, taxes support our common life as a society. The Abrahamic faith traditions have much to say on this issue, and some of it will surprise you. See how Jewish, Christian and Muslim people of faith read their sacred texts and what they say morally about taxation.

"Sacred Texts, Social Duty" is produced by EthicsDaily.com and is now available for order.

Documentary and DVD Information:

  • Documentary running time: 57 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Color, Widescreen, Stereo
  • DVD includes scene selection menus, trailer and seven bonus segments


EthicsDaily.com contains dozens and dozens of articles on faith and taxes. You can find the articles by: 1) clicking on some of the "related articles" on the right-hand side of the page; 2) clicking on the keywords/tags at the bottom of this page, which will call up even more related articles; or 3) simply type a search term, like "tax" or "taxation," into the search box at the top of the site.


Click here for a free PDF discussion guide for the documentary.



Click here to download a PDF press kit. It includes a news release, bios of documentary participants and interviewees, storylines and more.

Below you can watch several excerpts from the documentary. Single-click the video play it on this page (in the small format), or double-click the video to open it in a high-definition format (loading times will vary depending on the speed of your computer and Internet connection). All clips are embeddable.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," interviewees discuss how houses of faith avoid the topic of taxation.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," Wayne Flynt, ordained Baptist minister and professor emeritus at Auburn University, discusses the idea of "tax freedom."
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," a rally in Birmingham touches on taxes.
In this clip from "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," Philip Blackwell, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Chicago, shows how his church stands at the crossroads of faith and government.



All photos below are video stills taken from documentary footage. Click the link below each photo to call up the higher-resolution image (png format), which may then be downloaded. Please credit EthicsDaily.com.

Contact Cliff Vaughn at cliff@ethicsdaily.com if you need additional images or a different format. More stills are forthcoming.

Wayne Flynt
Download: 1280x720 png
Wayne Flynt, professor emeritus of history at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.
Stained-glass window
Download: 1280x720 png
A stained-glass window of Jesus at Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama.
Oregon Capitol Building
Download:1280x720 png
The Oregon capitol building in Salem.
Pres Harris
Download:1280x720 png
Pres Harris, staff organizer for Alabama Arise in Montgomery.
Doug Smith
Download:1280x720 png
Doug Smith, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond.
Ammar Amonette
Download:1280x720 png
Ammar Amonette, imam of the Islamic Center of Virginia in Richmond.
Tami Sober
Download: 1280x720 png
Tami Sober, assistant director at the Virginia Education Association in Richmond.
David Leslie
Download: 1280x720 png
David Leslie, executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon in Portland.
Alcena Boozer
Download: 1280x720 png
Alcena Boozer, rector of St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon.
Mark Knutson
Download: 1280x720 png
Mark Knutson, pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon.
Philip Blackwell
Download:1280x720 png
Philip Blackwell, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois.
The Virginia Capitol Building in Richmond
Download:1280x720 png
The Virginia capitol building in Richmond.
Trudy Bradley
Download: 1280x720 png
Trudy Bradley, minister at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon.
Ralph Martire
Download: 1280x720 png
Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago, Illinois.
Kimble Forrister
Download: 1280x720 png
Kimble Forrister, state coordinator of Alabama Arise in Montgomery.
Jim Nowlan
Download: 1280x720 png
James Nowlan, research director for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago, Illinois.
Illinois Lottery Sign
Download: 1280x720 png
A street sign for the lottery in Chicago, Illinois.
Gene Levy
Download: 1280x720 png
Gene Levy, rabbi at B'nai Israel in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Ali Faruk
Download: 1280x720 png
Ali Faruk, policy analyst at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond.
Abdul Malik Mujahid
Download: 1280x720 png
Abdul Malik Mujahid, imam at the Downtown Islamic Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Daniel Isaak
Download: 1280x720 png
Daniel Isaak, rabbi at Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, Oregon.
Imad Damaj
Download: 1280x720 png
Imad Damaj, president of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs in Richmond.
Larry Greenfield
Download: 1280x720 png
Larry Greenfield, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago.
Margaret M. Mitchell
Download: 1280x720 png
Margaret M. Mitchell, dean of the divinity school at the University of Chicago.
David Wheeler
Download: 1280x720 png
David Wheeler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Ben Romer
Download: 1280x720 png
Ben Romer, rabbi at Congregation Or Ami in Richmond, Virginia.



"'Sacred Texts, Social Duty' is a very important film, especially in this time wherein so many of our politicians and pundits seem to view taxation as one of the great illnesses of society. We seem to forget just what our taxes pay for and how necessary such things as public safety, education and transportation are. We have also forgotten that the three major religious traditions of Western civilization advocate for communal responsibility as it relates to the poor. I am most interested in using this film in the future for a program with Muslims, Christians and Jews and their respective clergy. The film, being so exceptionally well done, lends itself to communal dialogue among our congregants, clergy and politicians."

Fred Guttman, rabbi

Temple Emanuel

Greensboro, North Carolina

"With keen insight into the social context of persons of faith in America, representative leaders from the Abraham traditions speak of the moral responsibility of taxes. The significant message of the documentary is that individual and congregational charity cannot resolve the urgent needs of those in charity. Only public morality through constructive, progressive tax policies can address the common good and move toward justice. EthicsDaily.com has provided a significant public service in re-framing the significance of taxes as viewed through the lenses of sacred texts. The unequivocal teaching of Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Quran is that almsgiving demonstrates compassion and faith in God; these scriptures also advocate for participation in the larger social contract of taxation."

Molly T. Marshall, president

Central Baptist Theological Seminary

Shawnee, Kansas

Related Articles


Tags: STSD, Taxation, Taxes

Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: