Render unto Caesar? Not if you want a "morally healthy tax system," an industry spokesman-turned-lay church minister has warned.
Chartered accountant Simon McKie left tax reform campaigners gobsmacked by warning that the "unthinking heat" of public anger at big firms' tax dodging could end up hurting the economy.
But this was no industry think tank - Mr McKie, who stepped down as chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants' Faculty of Taxation in 1997, was writing for the Church Times as a Church Of England Reader-In-Training.
He insisted there was "no moral principle that forbids one from taking legal steps to avoid taxation where the charge to tax is based on such artificial constructs."
Tax dodging was not a "significant threat" to government revenues, the priest said.
"Paradoxically, tax avoidance is the sign of a healthy tax system because it involves working within an accepted system of law and complying with its demands."
He claimed that cracking down on avoidance would only encourage people to break the law. "Nothing would more surely corrupt public morality," Mr McKie said.
But Tax Research UK's Richard Murphy was incredulous - avoidance was about deliberately seeking out legal loopholes, he said.
"How could anyone think it was moral to spend one's time seeking to undermine the will of a democratically elected parliament by deliberately seeking to get round the law?"
It was especially alarming to see such views in a Christian publication, he said.
The Church Times's editor Paul Handley told the Morning Star that Mr McKie's views were not its editorial policy.