Apparently, the new reason Mitt is giving for not releasing his taxes is that he doesn’t want us all to know how much he is giving to his church. Presumably he’s thinking of this verse:
“3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,”
This is fine advice – the gist of the verses is if you are giving to others to look good, for the earthly benefits, that’s all the benefits you deserve. I do wish some politicians & preachers would pay a bit more attention to the next section:
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners [on televisions?] to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
But Mitt’s explanation is lacking in at least two ways. First of all, if this is a religious issue, why was it okay to make his tithes public for a couple years? Matthew 6.4 does not say “unless it’s the bare minimum needed to have a shot at getting elected”. Secondly, I realize that the verse speaks specifically of making public donations for the public esteem it creates, but telling the government how much money you give away to write it off on their taxes seems to fall into the “they have received their reward in full” category.
I don’t begrudge people putting their donations to charity on their tax returns; it’s totally reasonable. However, claiming you can’t reveal your taxes because it reveals your generosity, but still using those same donations for your financial advantage, seems a bit silly.