was the business meeting of the
national gathering. The way
NWTRCC is organized, most of the group decisions are made using
a version of the consensus model of decision-making, in which everyone present is part
of the “coordinating committee” which advises and consents on the various
The business meeting usually has a tight agenda, and this one was no
exception, but we have a good track record at setting and keeping to a good
Erica Weiland facilitates part of the business meeting
Most of the meeting was uneventful: adjustments to and ratifications of our
budget, objectives for the year, and so forth. The big news for me, and for
other folks in my area, is that the San Francisco bay area has “been
volunteered” to host the next national gathering in
After the business meeting, we had an informative counselors’ training
session, featuring Peter Goldberger, a legal advisor for conscientious
objectors and war tax resisters, who shared his insights into the legal
ins-and-outs of war tax resistance counselling.
The coordinating committee of NWTRCC poses for a group photo
A mystery I’ve been wanting to get to the bottom of is what happened to Quaker
war tax resistance in the United States after the American Civil War. There
was a strong element of war tax resistance in the Society of Friends all the
way through the war, but then it seemed to peter out, until by the turn of the
century it seemed hardly to exist at all, and Quakers who took it up again in
the late 20th century often seemed as though they
were starting from scratch.
Here’s another data point, though it doesn’t seem to get us much closer to an
answer. It comes from
an New York Times article
reporting on a sermon by Oscar Hugo, a visiting protestant minister from
Hugo was promoting the use of the Bible in public schools, and ridiculed those
Catholics who were opposed to what they feared would be taxpayer-funded
Protestant Bible study and indoctrination, and who felt it unfair to pay such
The speaker referred to the Quakers. Did they refuse to pay the war tax
because they do not believe in war? No. They knew the maintenance of the Army
and Navy was necessary for the perpetuation of the country.
So, by , Quakers had become a case study in
why war tax resistance was not a reasonable form of conscientious
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