Sister Alegría del Señor on “Our Peace Testimony and Taxes”

The latest issue of Friends Journal includes an article by Sister Alegría del Señor of the Amigas del Señor Monastery in Honduras on “Our Peace Testimony and Taxes.”

She begins by telling the story of Saint Hugh of Lincoln, who defied King Richard’s attempt to tax the church to pay for his military adventure, the Third Crusade. She says this is the oldest example of religiously-motivated war tax resistance she has been able to uncover, and that it gives her encouragement in her own war tax resistance.

Sister Alegría began her war tax resistance in by lowering her income below the tax line. She discusses the steps she took to simplify her life, the help she got along the way, and how she has used deductions for charity and volunteer work expenses to help her stay below the tax line.

“The IRS considers it perfectly reasonable to expend up to 50 percent of taxable income on donations and expenses for volunteer work,” she writes. “I followed the letter of the law (just as any stingy person would). The IRS gave me better spiritual counsel than most Friends [Quakers] would!”

Continuing on the path of voluntary simplicity and income-reduction, in Sister Alegría went a step further: she took a vow of poverty and founded the Methodist/Quaker Monastery where she now lives and works. (The book she co-authored, Giving Up Something Good for Something Better, tells this story.)