War tax resistance in the Friends Journal in

In , it became increasingly clear that the Iraq War was a catastrophe inflicted by madmen who would stoop to any lie to satisfy their bloodlust, and held no limits sacred — not even those on torture. How would those Quakers who were providing the funding for this disaster respond?

Sad to say, except from a couple of references to the Priscilla Adams legal case that I mentioned earlier (see ♇ ) only one issue of Friends Journal in all of  — the issue — had anything even remotely substantial to say about war tax resistance.

An op-ed by John Calvi on page five urged Quakers to address the torture issue, and put it this way: “The spiritual consequences of torture are that you either are moved to act against it or you stifle and smolder. For each of us who have paid for torture through our taxes, the dilemma is strong.”

Calvi didn’t recommend or even mention tax resistance, but I’m working with what I’ve got.

A page 32 note mentioned a “Peace Tax Return” being promoted by NWTRCC, saying that “Thousands of U.S. taxpayers opposed to the war in Iraq” could be expected to fill out this protest-return which “would be sent to the IRS or an elected official.” The form included an option for people who were paying their taxes but wanted to do so under protest, and a second option for people who were refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes. The note said that this tactic “is modeled on a return produced by Conscience: The Peace Tax Campaign in Britain, one of many groups around the world that are lobbying for legislation that will allow conscientious objectors to war to pay their taxes into a special fund that will not be used by the military.”

That’s it. Sorry. Fortunately this does seem to be the low point, and there is a steady trickle of war tax resistance mentions  — nothing like the storm of  — but at least a flicker of the old fire. (, though, is looking a little sketchier… I’ve only seen one reference so far, and that one in an obituary.)

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