Richard Stenhouse’s War Tax Resistance Covered by Jet

There were a couple of perplexing short pieces about war tax resister Richard Stenhouse in Jet magazine in :

Harlem Cleric Defies U.S., Refuses to Pay Taxes

The white Reverend Stenhouse

A 37-year-old white pastor of Harlem’s predominantly-Negro Presbyterian Church of the Master faced seizure of his automobile and personal property because he refuses to pay $344.81 in Federal income taxes. The Rev. Richard Stenhouse, associate pastor at Church of the Master, told Jet, “religious conviction and belief prevents me from paying that part of my tax (approximately 80 per cent) which is earmarked for military expenditure.” The taxes due are $192.27 for and $157.54 for . The government in attached Rev. Stenhouse’s salary for taxes due. “I don’t refuse to pay taxes per se,” Rev. Stenhouse declared, “I simply refuse to support military expenditures.”

Refused to Pay Taxes, Seize Cleric’s Bank Account

The right Reverend Stenhouse

A 37-year-old associate pastor at Harlem’s Presbyterian Church of the Master, who over has refused to pay Federal income taxes because he objects to U.S. military expenditures, learned that his $35 personal bank account has been attached by the government as partial payment of a $344.81 tax bill for . Rev. Richard Stenhouse declared that “religious conviction and belief” prohibit him from paying that part of his U.S. income taxes (approximately 80 per cent) earmarked for military expenditures. Rev. Stenhouse disclosed that the Internal Revenue Service has also moved to attach his church salary for the balance of taxes due.

I think the second article gets it right, while the first one pictures Stenhouse’s partner-in-ministry Rev. Malcolm Evans.

I’m surprised I haven’t come across Stenhouse before in my research. There weren’t a whole lot of war tax resisters in the U.S. in .


And continuing our series on lesser-known war tax resisting ministers, here is an article about Karel Botermans from :

Won’t Pay U.S. Taxes for Arms, Says Minister Who Fought Nazis

A Unitarian minister who fought with the Dutch resistance during World War 2 now is refusing to pay part of his U.S. income taxes.

Karel Botermans, 40, says he is challenging the U.S. Government for reasons basically similar to those which prompted him to fight the Nazis 20 years ago.

He wouldn’t bow to some of the Nazi occupation’s orders because, he said, an individual has no right to violate his conscience just because the government so commands.

Now Botermans is refusing to pay that part of his taxes — 69 per cent — which he says would be spent for defense. To do so, he said, would be to make a personal contribution to an arms race which will lead to world destruction.

(Actually, under the budget submitted by the administration for , only about 50 per cent would be spent on defense and related items, including space and foreign military aid.)

Botermans, who arrived in the United States in , paid only 31 per cent of his tax bill , and sent the remainder to the United Nations for use in developing a world court.

But the UN replied that it could not accept money withheld from income taxes.

Botermans’ action parallels that of a bookstore operator in this area who won’t pay any taxes. The Internal Revenue Service, however, gets its money by clamping liens on his bank accounts.

In the past, the service has employed the same method to get money from former Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee, who refused to pay taxes for the support of the UN.

Botermans said his congregation is split over his conduct, but that nobody has questioned his right to follow his own belief. Respect for the other person’s position is a keystone of Unitananism, he said.

But he said his wife and four children agree with him. His 8-year-old son, Matthew, summed it up for Botermans when he said:

“Daddy, I think you are right because it is not the government that pays for the bombs, it is you.”

Asked if disarmament might not cause the U.S. to lose its freedom or to be wiped out by Communist attack, Botermans replied:

“There has to be another way than the way we’re headed on now. Our present path will lead inevitably to nuclear destruction.”

Karel Botermans died in .

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