Social Security and Pastors
One last thing that came in the welcome packet was a page-long argument for pastors to not opt-out of Social Security. The IRS allows clergy to do this if "you are conscientiously opposed to public insurance because of your individual religious considerations (not because of your general conscience), or you are opposed because of the principles of your religious denomination," and if you are doing so "for other than economic reasons" (IRS publication 517).
There are several issues involved here.
1. Financial. To submit the governing authorities properly (Romans 13), ministers may not opt out simply because they can do better financially for their retirement outside of Social Securtiy (which is surely true).
2. Political. This clause also does not allow for conservative or libertarian types to opt out, simply because their political beliefs oppose public (government is a more accurate name) insurance. This is what I interpret the phrase "general conscience" to mean, as opposed to religious considerations.
3. Religious worldview. The statement DOES allow clergy to opt out if their denomination teaches against public insurance (only a small number of sects actually do, or if their religious beliefs drive them to oppose government insurance. Let's look at the latter a minute. It is the phrase which I think allows ministers who interpret Scripture properly to opt out of Social Security with integrity.
While we are called to submit to the governing authorities, those authorities have limits, and if they exceed them, or start usurping other God-ordained governing bodies (family or church) they become illegitimate authorities. The case against public insurance from Scripture could go many ways, but I'll leave you with one right now. Paul's discussion of widows in 1 Timothy 5 commands families to provide for parents first, and then, if the family can't, or it isn't there to do so, the church should kick in. Government is nowhere mentioned.
Opposing government insurance with integrity means not accepting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. One would lack integrity to opt out now, but then apply for Medicare at retirement. Most people say that this is not feasible to go without Medicaid, and so they either stay with Social Security or give up some integrity for financial benefit. I, in my youthful idealism think it is feasible to not receive Medicare on retirement. Any thoughts to the contrary for me?