Today, some excerpts from The Catholic News Archive concerning tax resistance in .
The Catholic Worker devoted a page to tax resistance:
Conscience and Tax Resistance
Letter to the IRS
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Chief Collection Branch
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service 4901
It’s taken me a while to respond because it’s been a very busy month at the house and it takes me time to express truth.
You asked for a tax return. I wish to give what I have of life in serving others; and, since Federal taxes go primarily for war, I cannot help you in any way with data gathering and collection. Rather, I wish to have back the $635.17 income tax and $373.95 FICA you took in , to use for building peace and living with the poor.
, I have been a pacifist and member of the Catholic Worker movement. I quit the Navy Reserve and, rather than report for induction into the Army, briefly went to jail. During this time I have lived and worked with the poor, actively promoting peace and running city and country “houses of hospitality” for homeless and helpless people. I’ve done agricultural labor and all sorts of poor and subsistence work that poor people must bear — the basic labor that rich, comfortable, and professional people depend upon to live — though they little realize it. For three and a half years, I lived with a Quaker family and have many Quaker friends who have strongly influenced me. Currently, I help run the Arthur Sheehan House of Hospitality and the Christian Help In Park Slope (CHIPS) Shelter in Brooklyn. I also am a poet and go to library school.
Since I refused to take part in killing or coercion, the only thing that makes sense is to refuse cooperation with the process of paying for it. Cooperation builds a public spirit of deference and legitimacy that facilitates the process.
The process of taxation supports developments more far-reaching, serious, and monstrously perverse than even simply killing. This country is spending more of the budget for war than ever before in peacetime. We make, use, and export weapons which kill indiscriminately (even babies in womb or at breast) and en masse; and weapons which mutilate, pollute air, ground, and water, and corrupt forever the genetic heritage of future generations. The government plans first strikes and preemptive war, destabilizes governments, foments discord and treachery, and brokers arms races. Further, it actually has placed and planned to use weapons which can destroy every living thing. Fear, greed, grasping to get one-up on others, and war, have distorted perspectives and led the Federal Government in every area and at every level (including health, education, welfare, agriculture, commerce, etc.) to adopt what amounts to an anti-life mentality. I look long and hard to find anything the Federal Government does which is not in its own interest and is in a right spirit. Support for abortion, though a relatively small part of the budget — an extreme case in point — is a sign that the spirit is anti-life. Although for civic peace and good neighborliness, I file and go along with state and city taxes, despite whatever foolishness local government gets into, I draw a line.
All of these anti-life actions have been condemned by the Catholic Church. I am Catholic. The American bishops, Vatican Council, Popes — I think by now most responsible religious bodies — have condemned especially weapons of indiscriminate destruction — even possession of such weapons. Several American bishops have called for war tax refusal. I believe the only way to peace is peace. Only winning hearts is effective. Violence originates in human hearts; peace begins in self with faith, poverty of spirit, and fundamental change of heart. Then, to make peace with each other, it is necessary to make peace with the earth. Experience convinces me war is incompatible with any true problem-solving, dialogue, reconciliation, or ministry — war is futile for achieving peace. It lacks room for forgiveness. State resort to violence makes violence seem legitimate and helps create a climate of contradictions and violence. All other violence pales in comparison to preparation of instruments for world destruction. The government which prepares such things lacks qualifications to resolve conflicts, within or without. I believe the only way to resolve social conflicts is to resolve and eliminate causes — works of mercy versus works of war.
I believe I must one day face Jesus as judge (Who said: “If you deny Me before men, I shall deny you before My Father in Heaven”). He commanded “Love your enemy,” “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is, Who lets His rain fall on the just and unjust.” He warned: “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword” and “What you’ve done to the least of these you’ve done to Me.” He took judgment and killing out of our hands, because it is sacrilegious to kill within God’s family and killing leads to destruction of the killers — body, soul, mind, heart. He left us the right to use, in constant prayer, only whatever truth and love God abundantly grants us.
We each face, in a way, the choice that humans have faced since the beginning, as in the story of Adam and Eve: to choose good only and thus find paradise or to choose the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thus bring on ourselves pain, death, and destruction of everything most beautiful and precious to us in the world we know. I want to give allegiance only to hope — to say “Yes!” to life, and to say “No!” to mad fear and scapegoating — while it still may possibly not be too late. The Federal Government may go one way. I go another — trying to build a spirit in the world, such that some day I may even be happy to contribute to what the government does; and the government may even be willing to allow me to contribute freely or not. Can you imagine? That is world peace! I care for your salvation. I pray you may have peace and freedom from the madness of arms. Will you gather a harvest in spirit for Truth and Love rather than money for war and worse? If you want to pursue this further may we meet and talk?
Conscience & Military Tax Campaign
One of several groups promoting various ways to refuse taxes is the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign. It is seeking people who will resolve to start withholding the full military portion of their Federal income taxes when notified that 100,000 people are ready to join in this action. The Campaign encourages people to start at least symbolic withholding now, and offers support as well as advice on how to do it. CMTC was organized by supporters of the World Peace Tax Fund. Some may feel they cannot take such a risk because they are encumbered with assets and family obligations. CMTC can furnish material that will explain how certain steps towards tax refusal can be taken with minimum risk. One can withhold taxes in such a way as to not expose oneself to a jail sentence. For further information, contact: Conscience & Military Tax Campaign, 44 Bellhaven Road, Bellport, NY 11713.
People Pay for Peace
An updated and enlarged edition of People Pay for Peace: A Military Tax Refusal Guide for Radical Religious Pacifists and People of Conscience, by Bill Durland, will be available by .
People Pay for Peace has been used for several years by people of religious and moral conscience who are contemplating or actually resisting participation in military expenditures for war, planning for war or weapons research. Over 50% of U.S. income tax dollars goes to the military (for past, present and future uses), while social services expenditures continue to be cut by the current administration.
The new edition (published by The Center on Law and Pacifism, P.O. Box 1584 Colorado Springs, CO 80901 and available on order from them) is enlarged to include the following subjects: Part Ⅰ is entitled “Introduction to Military Tax Refusal” and contains four chapters. Chapter One discusses the background of the movement including motivations and a history of war tax resistance. Chapter Two outlines theological responses to paying taxes for war — both Christian and Jewish, including the relationship of civil disobedience to the Gospel and Torah. Chapter Three deals with several philosophical questions on the “why’s” and “why not’s” of doing war tax resistance. Chapter Four discusses the military budget, alternative funds and community organization.
Part Ⅱ is entitled “How to Refuse to Pay the Military Tax.” This part also has four chapters. Chapter One deals with the employee as tax refuser, with special emphasis on the problem of withholding and adjusting one’s W-4 form in order to have sufficient allowances so that by income tax time one may have some control of one’s tax payment, thereby allowing a war tax deduction. Chapter Two is concerned with the problems encountered by employers, self-employed and community organizations as war tax resisters. Such questions as the loss of tax exempt status are addressed in this chapter. Chapter Three provides an historical background of the income tax and information on current trends in military spending. War tax credits, deductions and refunds and, finally, an analysis of telephone tax refusal are also covered in this chapter. Chapter Four reprints a number of examples of letters of conscience of people who explain to the IRS their reasons for war tax refusal.
Part Ⅲ is entitled “What the IRS Will Do To You” and treats the administrative process (the audit) in Chapter One; the collection process (the lien, levy, seizure) in Chapter Two. Attention is given to specific questions such as: Can you be fired? What are the specific problems of husbands and wives or other people with joint accounts? What are the IRS penalties and interest? What can you do about collection?
Part Ⅳ explains the court process. Chapter One discusses both civil and criminal courts, especially the Tax Court, and the process involved in electing to go there. Is it true you can be fined $500 for exercising your constitutional right to use the Tax Court? What are the statutes of limitations for the IRS in prosecuting your case? Chapter Two deals with current criminal and civil cases with a discussion of winning and witnessing and conscience and the courts.
Part Ⅴ reviews the major constitutional cases on war tax resistance brought before the courts by the Center on Law and Pacifism over the past several years. Each chapter includes reprints of major sections of legal briefs and writs used at the Appellate Court and Supreme Court level. These reprints are offered because they can be modified for use at all court levels by war tax resisters handling their own cases. Chapter Seven of this section concludes with some observations about the future for war tax resistance.
War Resisters League Tax Refusal Guide
People at the War Resisters League, many of whom themselves have refused taxes, have put together a comprehensive Guide to War Tax Resistance. Drawing on their own experiences and the kinds of questions many people have asked them through the years, they have compiled information on types of tax refusal and their consequences, a history of tax refusal, accounts of resisters, a list of local tax refusal centers or contacts, and an historical analysis of military spending. Another section is on ways to resist collection. The Guide is a very useful resource and easy to understand. It is 120 pgs. long, with 8½×11 inch pages, and can be gotten for $6 plus $1 postage from: War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St., NY, NY 10012.
When we last left Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, he had issued a rousing cry for resistance to nuclear arms, and had suggested war tax resistance as one way to go about it, but had been a little coy about how he himself was going to respond come tax time. In , he cleared that up. From the National Catholic News Service:
ARCHBISHOP HUNTHAUSEN HOLDING BACK HALF OF TAXES IN NUCLEAR PROTEST (600 — EMBARGOED until . Not to be published or broadcast before that date.)
Seattle (NC)— Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle has announced that he will withhold 50 percent of his federal income taxes as “a means of protesting our nation’s continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.”
The archbishop’s announcement, in the form of a pastoral letter, came seven months after he suggested to delegates to the Pacific Northwest Synod Convocation of the Lutheran Church in America that one possible non-violent form of Christian resistance to “nuclear murder and suicide” would be to refuse to pay 50 percent of one’s federal income taxes.
In his letter dated and released in the issue of his archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Northwest Progress, the archbishop stated that he is “aware that this action will provoke a variety of responses,” but urged all persons to “continue to discuss this nuclear arms issue in a spirit of mutual openness and charity.”
He also said that he was not suggesting that all who agree with his peace and disarmament views should imitate his action of income tax withholding.
“I recognize,” he said, “that some who agree with me in their hearts find it practically impossible to run the risk of withholding taxes because of their obligations to those personally dependent upon them. Moreover, I see little value in imitating what I am doing simply because I am doing it. I prefer that each individual come to his or her own decision on what should be done to meet the nuclear arms challenge.”
Citing a previous pastoral letter he wrote on the subject. Archbishop Hunthausen stated that certain laws may be peacefully disobeyed under serious conditions, and that there may be times “when disobedience may be an obligation of conscience.”
“I believe,” he said “that the present issue is as serious as any the world has faced. The very existence of humanity is at stake.”
What he hopes his words and actions will do, the archbishop continued, is “to awaken those who have come to accept without thinking the continuation of the arms race, to stir even those who disagree with me to find a better path than the one we now follow, to encourage all to put in first place not the production of arms but the production of peace.”
The federal income tax which he withholds, the archbishop said, will be deposited in a fund to be used for charitable purposes.
When Archbishop Hunthausen called for unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United States in an address to the Lutheran synod meeting and suggested nuclear tax resistance as one possible response to nuclear arms spending, his comments received national news coverage. His speech led Catholic and non-Catholic church leaders in the state of Washington to begin programs of prayer, study and discussion on war and peace issues in their churches.
Archbishop Hunthausen, 60, did not reveal the amount of federal taxes he usually pays or how much one half of his taxes would be.
His chancellor, Father Michael Ryan, said he did not think the archbishop would publicize the amount because it was the symbol of the action that was important rather than the amount of money involved.
Father Ryan also said the archbishop “realizes he’s responsible for facing the consequences” of civil disobedience, but “I don’t think he’d want to speculate on” the penalties he may face. Deliberate refusal to pay taxes can be punished by fines or imprisonment or both.
NC DOCUMENTARY: ARCHBISHOP HUNTHAUSEN ON TAX RESISTANCE (1,080 — EMBARGOED until . Not to be published or broadcast before that date.)
Seattle (NC)— This is the text of a pastoral letter by Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle announcing his decision to withhold half his federal income tax in protest over U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The letter, dated , was released in the Seattle archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Northwest Progress.
My dear people of God:
As you Know, I have spoken out against the participation of our country in the nuclear arms race because I believe that such participation leads to incalculable harm. Not only does it take us along the path toward nuclear destruction, but it also diverts immense resources from helping the needy. As Vatican Ⅱ put it, “The arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race and the harm that it inflicts on the poor is more than can be endured.” (“The Church in the Modern World,” n. 81)
I believe that as Christians imbued with the spirit of peacemaking expressed by the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, we must find ways to make known our objections to the present concentration on further nuclear arms buildup. Accordingly, after much prayer, thought, and personal struggle, I have decided to withhold 50 percent of my income taxes as a means of protesting our nation’s continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.
I am aware that this action will provoke a variety of responses. Many will agree with me and support me as they have done in the past. Other conscientious people will be puzzled, uncomprehending, resentful, and even angry. For the sake of all, I shall clarify what I am attempting and not attempting to do by my tax-withholding action. I do so in the prayerful hope that all continue to discuss this nuclear arms issue in a spirit of mutual openness and charity. How ironic if we as Christians were to discuss the issue of disarmament for peace in a warlike fashion!
I am not attempting to say that there is but one way of dealing with the problem of the arms race and the nuclear holocaust toward which it leads. I recognize the need for a number of different strategies for the promotion of arms reduction. Accordingly, I welcome the diverse efforts of many individuals and groups, including the efforts of some of my fellow bishops to call attention to the seriousness of this matter and to suggest practical ways of acting with regard to it.
I am not attempting to divide the Christian community. I pray that because of our openness and respect for one another we can grow together by our concentration on the goal of world peace and the eventual elimination of nuclear arms despite our disagreements over the best way to achieve such goals.
I am not suggesting that all who agree with my peace and disarmament views should imitate my action of income tax withholding. I recognize that some who agree with me in their hearts find it practically impossible to run the risk of withholding taxes because of their obligations to those personally dependent upon them. Moreover, I see little value in imitating what I am doing simply because I am doing it. I prefer that each individual come to his or her own decision on what should be done to meet the nuclear arms challenge.
I am not pointing a finger of accusation at those who disagree with what I plan to do. I would hope, however, that such persons will respect those whose views differ from theirs. No one has answers that are absolutely certain in such complex matters. I am suggesting that we must maintain a continuing and open dialogue.
I am not attacking my country. I love my country. As I said in a previous pastoral letter on this subject (): “It is true that as a general rule the laws of the state must be obeyed. However, we may peacefully disobey certain laws under serious conditions. There may even be times when disobedience may be an obligation of conscience. Most adults have lived through times and situations where this would apply.
“Thus Christians of the first three centuries disobeyed the laws of the Roman Empire and often went to their death because of their stands. They were within their rights. Similarly, in order to call attention to certain injustices, persons like Martin Luther King engaged in demonstrations that broke the laws of the state. The point is that civil law is not an absolute, it is not a god that must be obeyed under any and all conditions. In certain cases where issues of great moral import are at stake, disobedience to a law in a peaceful manner and accompanied by certain safeguards that help preserve respect for the institution of law is not only allowed but may be, as I have said, an obligation of conscience.” I believe that the present issue is as serious as any the world has faced. The very existence of humanity is at stake.
I am not encouraging those who wish to avoid paying taxes to use my action as an excuse for their not paying. I plan to deposit what I withhold in a fund to be used for charitable peaceful purposes.
I am saying by my action that in conscience I cannot support or acquiesce in a nuclear arms buildup which I consider a grave moral evil.
I am saying that I see no possible justification for the willingness to employ nuclear weapons capable of destroying humanity as we know it.
I am saying that everyone should think profoundly and pray deeply over the issue of nuclear armaments. My words and my action of tax withholding are meant to awaken those who have come to accept without thinking the continuation of the arms race, to stir even those who disagree with me to find a better path than the one we now follow, to encourage all to put in first place not the production of arms but the production of peace.
I urge all of you to pray and to fast, to study and to discuss, and then to decide what you shall do to combat the evil of the nuclear arms race. I cannot make your decision for you. I can and do challenge you to make a decision.
May God be with you, His joy, His peace, His love.
Raymond G. Hunthausen, Archbishop of Seattle
IRS Could Prosecute Tax Resisting Archbishop
By Jerry Filteau
Washington (NC)— If Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle holds back half of his federal income tax in protest over U.S. nuclear arms policy, as he has said he will, the Internal Revenue Service could prosecute him.
In addition to having his assets attached to pay the taxes and interest or penalties on them, the archbishop could face up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines for each year that he refuses to pay.
“We’ve got to administer the law regardless of the political or philosophical persuasion of the taxpayer,” said Larry Batdorf, an official of IRS’s national media relations office in Washington.
Archbishop Hunthausen said in a TV interview in Seattle that he planned to withhold 50 percent of his federal income taxes to protest U.S. involvement in the nuclear arms race. In a pastoral letter to his archdiocese a few days later he stated his position more fully and explained it.
Batdorf, following IRS policy, declined to comment specifically on Archbishop Hunthausen’s action or how the IRS would respond, but he outlined the general IRS position and policy regarding those who try to resist or evade their taxes.
He cited the court case of Autenreith v. Cullan, in which a tax resister was trying to withhold part of his taxes in protest over the Vietnam War, as a key legal precedent for IRS policy in such cases.
Batdorf quoted the pertinent part of the judge’s ruling: “The fact that some persons may object on religious grounds to some of the things that the government does is not a basis upon which they can claim a constitutional right not to pay a part of the tax.”
“We feel that the court has ruled very clearly” on that type of protest of conscience, said Batdorf.
He said that during the Vietnam War one popular form of tax protest was to refuse to pay the excise tax on one’s telephone bill. The IRS assessed and collected the taxes from “about 700 to 800 a year” who engaged in that protest, he said.
He said he did not have any specific figures distinguishing IRS cases involving protests of conscience from those involving mistakes on one’s tax return or fraudulent tax evasion.
But in general, he said, the IRS audits some 2 million tax returns a year, settles most of those cases civilly, and gets about 1,600 criminal convictions a year for tax evasion.
He said in most cases the procedure is to try for a civil settlement first. If the person refuses to file a return or files a low return, the IRS computes the tax, informs the person of its findings, and notifies the person that he has 90 days to make corrections or petition the findings in court.
If the person does not petition, said Batdorf, the tax is presumed correct. After the court decides in favor of the IRS or the person fails to go to court, the IRS is free to collect the money and can use various means to do so, including attachment of wages or assets.
If the case goes to criminal prosecution, he said, the maximum penalty upon conviction for tax evasion, which is a felony, is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The actual penalties in each case are determined by the courts, not by the IRS, he said.
Another dispatch, from , read:
Church Refuses IRS Demand
Ames, Iowa (NC)— A Catholic church in Ames has refused to cooperate with demands by the Internal Revenue Service to garnishee the wages of an employee who is a tax protester against the nuclear arms race.
Thomas Cordaro, employed by St. Thomas Aquinas Church as a lay campus minister for the parish’s Catholic Student Center at Iowa State University, owes the government $828.23 in federal income taxes.
He has refused to pay the taxes because of his religious beliefs. He used the money instead to help found and run Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House, a shelter and meal center for the poor.
Father Thomas Geary, administrator of the parish, said an IRS representative from Des Moines, Iowa, served levies four times to the parish secretary, each time declining to wait to meet with the pastor. He said he was frustrated at the lack of personal contact and called the IRS office, but the personnel there were unwilling to discuss the matter.
The parish council unanimously resolved “that St. Thomas Parish refuse to pay the IRS levy because we are not a tax collecting agency and because we see underlying moral implications that we have not had time to sufficiently explicate.”
Father Geary sent the IRS a letter communicating the parish council’s resolution and his decision to refuse to garnishee Cordaro’s wages for the government.
The decision means that the government could take the church to court to force it to pay the money. According to an IRS spokesman, under Section 6332 of the IRS code an employer that refuses to honor a levy for garnishment of wages becomes “liable in his own estate to the extent of the levy not honored.”
If the IRS must take the employer to court to enforce the payment of that liability, the spokesman said, the court can force the employer to pay a penalty of 50 percent of the levy in addition to the levy itself.
Archbishop James Byrne of Dubuque, Iowa, the archdiocese in which Ames is located, has privately supported the parish’s decision to refuse to honor the levy in support of Cordaro’s conscience.
Father Geary said that the parish council’s decision was not based on the taxes and their use, but on concern for “respecting the conscience of Cordaro.”
“Also this council decision does not necessarily reflect the thinking of the parish members, who are now struggling with the issue before deciding what path to follow,” he said.
Cordaro agreed that the parish council is still struggling with the issue of his tax protest and said its action should not be interpreted as a condemnation of the arms race.
He said his decision to withhold his taxes as a witness against the nuclear arms race “is intricately linked to my concern for the poor,” and all his financial resources are used to rent and maintain the hospitality house for the poor.
Saying his action “is well within Catholic orthodoxy,” Cordaro cited the statement by the Vatican to the United Nations on disarmament in , which said that the arms race itself “is an act of aggression which amounts to a crime, for even when they are not used, by their cost alone armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.”
Following a similar rationale, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle recently announced that he was refusing to pay half of his federal income tax as a protest against U.S. involvement in the global arms race. He said the tax money would go into a fund for charitable activities.
In rejecting the right of citizens to withhold taxes because of conscientious objection to a government policy or program, the IRS cites the decision of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
That court ruling said in part, “The fact that some persons may object on religious grounds to some of the things that the government does is not a basis upon which they can claim a constitutional right not to pay a part of the tax.”
An article in the Catholic Commentator said that Archbishop Hunthausen had addressed “300 peace activists attending a meeting at Notre Dame University” in South Bend, Indiana and had again announced his tax resistance there. Aside from that, the article just recycled already-familiar quotes and background.
However, the Catholic Worker printed a few excerpts from the talk:
“…Render to Caesar without question, and without question we will get nuclear war.
“As Christians, we once had a commitment of refusing incense to Caesar. The Church resisted that idolatry, at the cost of martyrdom. What has happened to the Christian belief in the Cross and rejection of idolatry?
“Now, on a more blasphemous scale than any homage paid to a first-century Caesar, we engage in nuclear idolatry. It is not God in Whom we place our trust, but nuclear weapons…
“I believe deeply that God’s love is infinitely more powerful than any nuclear weapon, and that, in seeking to rediscover the Cross, we are on the edge of a discovery more momentous to the world than that of nuclear energy. Nonviolence. Jesus’ divine way of the Cross, is, in its own way, the most explosive force of history. Its kind of force, however, is a force of life — a divine force of compassion which can raise the people of this earth from death to life. I invite you to join me in finding our way back to that nonviolent force of life and love at the heart of the Gospels, which offers a way out of our nuclear tomb.”
An editorial by Father Michael J. Savelesky, printed in the issue of the Inland Register (newspaper of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington), went out over the wire on . It compared Hunthausen to the biblical prophet Jeremiah, and concluded:
Already people are calling Archbishop Hunthausen a prophet in our own time. There is a subtle abdication of personal responsibility here. If the archbishop is indeed a prophet, then we individually and collectively are obliged to face the truth he speaks. His tax refusal will hardly affect the Gross National Product, but it does shock us into confronting in our own lives the moral issue of nuclear arms. No one of us escapes that responsibility. Even to do nothing is a moral stance whose consequences we bear.
Tax Protester Gets Support in Iowa, Criticism in Florida
By NC News Service
Tax protester Tom Cordaro, who refused to pay $828 in taxes because of the nuclear arms race, has drawn support from the Dubuque Iowa, archdiocesan priests’ senate and criticism from a writer, a lawyer and a priest in Florida.
In an unanimous vote the Dubuque priests’ senate backed Cordaro and his parish, St. Thomas Aquinas, in Ames, Iowa, which has refused Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demands to withhold money from his wages.
Individual members of the priests’ senate also pledged $2,500 for a defense fund to be used if litigation with the IRS over the tax protest ensues.
Meanwhile, in Florida, writer and Scripture scholar Dick Biow and an attorney, Aldo Icardi, both of Winter Park in the Diocese of Orlando, and an unidentified priest, who all disagree with Cordaro, have sent the IRS $145 to cover some of the taxes Cordaro owes. They said they acted out of concern for armed forces personnel and a “deep sense of shame that one of our co-religionists" would withhold taxes.
Cordaro is a lay pastoral minister for his parish’s Catholic Student Center at Iowa State University. Because of his religious beliefs he withheld his federal income tax payment and used it to set up Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House, a shelter and meal center for the poor.
The IRS has served levies on St. Thomas Parish four times but according to Father Patrick Geary, parish administrator, has declined to discuss the matter with the pastor. The parish council passed a resolution stating St. Thomas will “refuse to pay the IRS levy because we are not a tax collecting agency and because we see underlying moral implications that we have not had time to sufficiently explicate.” Father Geary informed the IRS of the parish decision and the government could take the church to court over the issue.
Biow, a writer whose articles have appeared in the Florida Catholic, newspaper of the dioceses of Orlando and St. Petersburg, the priest and the lawyer listed three reasons for opposing Cordaro and for extending partial payment of his taxes. They stated that they “would not like to see even one member of our armed forces deprived of the weapons needed to save his own life while he is protecting that of Mr. Cardaro” and that they “pay these reparations out of a deep sense of shame that one of our co-religionists would select such a callous and brutal way of articulating his anti-defense posture.”
“We hope to deny him the opportunity of playing the public martyr,” they added.
A convert to Catholicism, Biow served as a fighter pilot in World War Ⅱ and his son is now a student at the U.S. Naval Academy. He has studied Scripture for the last 20 years and served as a Scripture consultant to Bishop William D. Borders of Orlando, now an archbishop who heads the Baltimore See.
Biow said he thinks the Reagan administration’s military budget is too big. But he also said that seeking a strong national defense is good sense. And, he said, those who believe a cut in military spending will mean more money for the poor are mistaken.
Reagan “is running the military on credit and he could do the same for the poor,” Biow said. “People who want to help the poor could do a better job if they stopped tying in their arguments with military spending. Reagan has to be convinced — or politically forced — to help the poor.”
A National Catholic News Service dispatch gave some more details about Hunthausen’s tax resistance (excerpt):
On his tax resistance the archbishop commented that the amount of money involved “will not be great” since “my total income for will be only about $9,000–$10,000.”
He said he will engage in the resistance by withholding half the amount due when he makes his quarterly estimated tax declaration. He will divide the unpaid tax money “among a peace group — probably the Peace Academy — a pro-life group and perhaps a direct-service charity like our Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” he said.
“Increasingly I see the linkage between peace, life and charity issues, especially as I see the impact on people’s lives of the worsening economy,” he commented.
Asked if he would continue to withhold taxes until the arms race stopped, the 60-year-old Seattle prelate said, “I have not thought that through completely, but what has recently come home to me is the thought that I should be more closely living the poverty of the Gospel and should be giving away more of what I earn.
“In that case I would have no tax to pay. However, I want to be sure that I am putting myself in that position for the sake of the Gospel and not because I want to avoid the difficulties of tax resistance.”
A dispatch from gives the appearance of a rapidly-developing story:
Priests Hold Back Taxes to Protest Nuclear Arms
By Jerry Filteau
NC News Service
At least 10 U.S. priests refused to pay part of their federal income tax to protest American military expenditures and the nuclear arms race.
There was no way to tell how many others may have done so without saying anything about it publicly.
In Oakland, Calif., Father James A. Schexnayder said he “will not be part of a plot to incinerate humanity” and withheld half his taxes “as a conscious resistance to our nation’s nuclear arms race and our selfish and oppressive military interference in Central America.”
Father Schexnayder, 44, is director of the Oakland diocesan permanent diaconate program.
He said he had been considering tax resistance for some time but was “in a sense stimulated” by the similar decision of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, which received national publicity .
In Pittsburgh eight priests held a press conference on , to explain their decisions to withhold part of their taxes to protest “the militaristic priorities of the federal budget and to resist our country’s obsessive participation in the arms race.”
“We are fully aware of the illegality of our action according to the U.S. Tax Code laws,” they said in a prepared press statement. “We pray that the tension caused by our ‘peace gestures’ may turn people’s minds and hearts to the illegality and immorality of the arms race.”
The priests, all from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, were Fathers Donald McIlvane, John Brennan, Patrick Fenton, Jack O’Malley, Robert Schweitzer, Donald Fischer, Mark Glasgow and John Oesterle.
After a brief press conference and prayer service at the Pittsburgh Diocesan Building, the eight were joined by other opponents of nuclear weapons in a march to the Pittsburgh Federal Building for a protest demonstration there.
Hearing of the tax protests in Pittsburgh and Oakland, the Indianapolis archdiocesan newspaper, The Criterion, called an associate pastor at a local socially active parish to see if he knew of any priests in the Indianapolis area who were doing the same thing.
The priest, Father Cosmas Raimondi, said yes, he knew of one — “me.”
He had made no public announcement of his decision, but he said that a few days earlier he had filed his federal tax return with a covering letter notifying the IRS that he was paying only half the tax due.
“In my own conscience I don’t feel that I can support a strong militarist spirit in government,” Father Raimondi explained. “I respect civil law but I also feel that God’s law of love is superior to that civil law.”
He said he preferred to not to call his action of conscience “civil disobedience,” but rather “divine obedience.”
Father Raimondi said he objected to not only the nuclear arms race, which he said must be ended by “mutually monitored steps of disarmament, but also U.S. military aid to “repressive regimes” in Central America and the current program of draft registration in the United States, which he said will lead to a mandatory draft.
The fact that Father Raimondi said nothing of his tax protest until he was called by a newspaper indicated that there may be other priests in the country, influenced by Archbishop Hunthausen’s decision and by the numerous denunciations of the arms race by other American bishops in the past year, who have also engaged in tax resistance without publicity.
In virtually all cases the amount of money involved is slight, since the taxable income of diocesan priests is normally very low.
For religious order priests and nuns, tax resistance is not an option because of the vow of poverty they take. Under federal law salaries received by members of religious orders are considered income of the religious order itself, not personal income.
Father Schexnayder said his protest was “largely symbolic” because half his taxes only came to about $60.
His tax resistance drew mixed reactions from other Oakland clergymen.
Three local military chaplains contacted by the Oakland diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Voice, expressed different views.
A retired National Guard chaplain, Father Paul J. Engberg, called it “anarchism” and said it was contrary to American principles of respect for law and working within the system if changes are needed.
Father Robert Ríen, chaplain of the 349th Military Airlift Wing, said, “If he feels in conscience that he has to do this, then I support him 100 percent. At the same time, I hope brother priests will support me in bringing the ministry we share to the people in the military sector.”
Another National Guard chaplain, Father Ronald Lagasse, called Father Schexnayder’s protest “laudable” but “ineffective.” It might “prick people’s consciences, but won’t go any further than that. There’s no basis on which to build,” he said.
He and Father Ríen emphasized that military personnel do not want war. Those in the military, said Father Lagasse, are going through the same qualms of conscience as everyone else on nuclear weapons.
Father Brian Joyce, president of the diocesan priests senate, praised Father Schexnayder for drawing attention to the nuclear arms race as “an issue of conscience, a major one that every Christian has to seriously address.”
But he said he would not take the same action for several reasons, including questions he had about its effectiveness and whether it was the right approach. “For instance, while I oppose nuclear arms, I don’t necessarily oppose defense, and at the same time I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Jim (Father Schexnayder) is doing,” he said.
(Contributing to this story were Stephen Karlinchak in Pittsburgh, Dan Morris in Oakland and Jim Jachimiak in Indianapolis.)
Archbishop Hunthausen. whose announcement of tax resistance drew national attention, said in that the federal taxes he was refusing to pay were being placed in an escrow account for the World Peace Tax Fund.
Bills to establish that fund are pending in Congress.
If enacted, the legislation would change the U.S. tax code to let conscientious military tax objectors direct the military portion of their tax money to non-military peace-related purposes such as peace research, disarmament efforts, international health, education and welfare programs, and the retraining of workers displaced by conversion from military to non-military production.
A citizens’ organization, Conscience and Military Campaign-U.S., has established the World Peace Tax Fund escrow account to accept payments in anticipation of the legislation.
Correction and Insert
At least 11 (NOT 10) U.S. priests…
After 16th paragraph beginning, The fact that… INSERT the following:
Another priest who said nothing until a newspaper called him and asked was Father Joseph O’Hara, a sociologist at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
When he was contacted by The Witness, Dubuque archdiocesan paper, Father O’Hara said he had refused to pay any taxes and had informed the IRS that this was a protest over the nuclear arms race.
Last year Father O’Hara refused to pay his taxes as a protest against the administration’s military support of El Salvador despite the Salvadoran government’s record of human rights violations.
Another tax protester in the Dubuque Archdiocese is Thomas Cordero, a lay minister employed by St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames, Iowa. In the parish council voted unanimously to refuse IRS orders to the parish to garnishee his wages for payment of the taxes owed. Members of the archdiocesan priests senate agreed to contribute $1,200 out of their pockets to reimburse the parish if the IRS succeeds in legally forcing the parish to pay the taxes plus applicable penalties for its refusal to comply with the garnishment orders.
Father O’Hara said that the money involved in his tax protest was not much, and he had not yet heard a word from the IRS about his refusal to pay taxes last year
PICK UP original 17th paragraph beginning. In virtually all…
ADD to list of contributors at end of story: …and Father Thomas Ralph in Dubuque.
The Cordero case got more attention in a dispatch:
Tax Protester, Archbishop Clash Over IRS
By Father Thomas Ralph
Dubuque, Iowa (NC)— Archbishop James J. Byrne of Dubuque and tax protester Tom Cordaro, a lay minister at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ames have clashed over whether the parish should pay the Internal Revenue Service Cordaro’s unpaid back income taxes.
After a meeting between the two foundered, Cordaro held a five-day prayer vigil next to the archbishop’s house and other protesters picketed the archbishop. In a statement released Archbishop Byrne stated his position.
St. Thomas Parish, the archbishop said, owes Cordaro a month’s salary for his services as a lay minister during . Under the law of the Internal Revenue Service code, these unpaid funds are subject to taxation and the parish is obliged to honor the levy.
The archbishop further stated that he had been advised by legal counsel that the parish church is not “the proper or appropriate party to litigate the merits” of Cordaro’s refusal to pay federal income taxes as a protest against the nuclear arms race.
The archbishop’s response came two days after Cordaro ended a five-day prayer vigil at the Chapel of Perpetual Adoration adjoining the archbishop’s residence in Dubuque and returned to Ames.
Cordaro had been in Dubuque when he and Father Patrick Geary, pastor at the Ames parish, met with Archbishop Byrne at Cordaro’s request to discuss the archbishop’s decision that the parish must honor the IRS order to garnishee his wages for $1,300 in back taxes.
The archbishop requested confidentiality regarding the discussion, and when Cordaro said he could not honor the request the meeting ended. Cordaro began his prayer vigil to protest the archbishop’s refusal to state publicly his reasons for his decision.
At a press conference at the Catholic Worker House before leaving Dubuque , Cordaro said the real tragedy of the past week had not been the archbishop’s demand for payment of his back taxes but “that those in the church with power and influence, who knew an injustice was done, have remained silent.”
He named moral theologians, religious communities, other bishops, teachers and presidents of the universities as examples of those he expected to speak out.
“The archbishop’s silence has made it impossible for me to obey his wishes,” Cordaro said, “and I will continue to withhold my taxes. Blind obedience to authority is in itself immoral.”
Many groups and individuals in the Dubuque Archdiocese support Cordaro’s position of having the courts decide whether he can withhold payment of his taxes on religious grounds.
On the archdiocesan priests’ senate voted 23-1 for a resolution calling for the archbishop to clarify his decision for halting the tax protest.
The parish council at St. Thomas Aquinas voted unanimously the previous week to support Cordaro’s fight and refuse the IRS demand to garnishee his wages.
Cordaro had been refusing to pay his federal income taxes , giving all but $50 of his $874-a-month parish salary to Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House in Ames which furnishes food and shelter to the needy.
Father Richard P. Funke, vice chancellor of the archdiocese, said that neither he nor the archbishop had seen the priests’ senate resolution and questioned why the resolution was made public before the archbishop had seen it.
“The archbishop is equally concerned about the nuclear build-up,” Father Funke said, “but we are talking about two completely different issues.
“The church has the obligation to support the right of conscience and in this has been supportive of Mr. Cordaro and others in their protests of the nuclear arms race.
“The church also has an obligation to support obedience to duly authorized authority such as the government in its right of taxation for purposes of providing protection, order, freedom and services to its citizenry.”
Portions of taxes go to support “the elderly, the needy, the kind of people Cordaro seems to be concerned about,” Father Funke said. “How he can withhold 100 percent of his taxes is a real problem to me.”
A legal battle over the right of the government to force a church to garnishee tax moneys in violation of a person’s conscience is being considered by Cordaro and the parish council, of which he is a member.
Approximately $9,000 in pledges has been received to support his legal defense, he said.
Gordon Allen of Des Moines, a constitutional lawyer and the chief counsel for the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, has offered to handle the case without cost.
Archbishop Hunthausen spoke about his tax resistance and the reasoning behind it — and took some questions from a skeptical audience — at a talk in Brooklyn ( dispatch):
Archbishop Calls Nuclear Threat History’s Greatest Crisis
By Tracy Early
New York (NC)— The possibility of the human family’s destroying itself in a nuclear holocaust presents the greatest spiritual crisis in history, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle said in an address in New York .
Declaring that he saw no political solution to the crisis, he said that “conversion” was needed “at a depth in our lives we’d rather not know.”
Archbishop Hunthausen spoke at St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn, N.Y. following Sunday Vespers, one of several bishops appearing in a “Shepherds Speak” series sponsored by the Brooklyn Diocese.
The archbishop from Washington state was a focus of national news when he suggested that refusing to pay part of ones income tax could be an appropriate way of protesting the nuclear arms race, and again when he announced that he was refusing to pay half his own tax.
Instead, he said, he would put the money in a fund for such purposes as helping the poor, fighting abortion and promoting disarmament.
In his address Archbishop Hunthausen offered no analysis of how his approach would resolve the military issues involved in national defense but kept his argument on a religious level.
Faith in Christ he said, will liberate Americans from “fear of the Russians” and other fears motivating production of nuclear weapons. These include the “fear of losing our wealth,” he said.
Archbishop Hunthausen reported that others had tried to convince him that the “realistic way of preserving peace was to build nuclear weapons and plan for the possibility of a first strike.
“I do not understand any of this as realistic,” he said. Americans, he added, must get a new understanding of reality “or we shall be destroyed.”
As an alternative he advocated the “reality” of the kingdom of God as taught by Jesus.
Archbishop Hunthausen described the way of Jesus as “faithful non-violent action” and said he was seeking to follow that way in his tax protest.
As a result of taking this action, he said he has “begun to experience conversion myself.” Carrying the action a step further Archbishop Hunthausen said he would participate in a “non-violent peace blockade” trying to stop the U.S.S. Ohio, America’s first Trident nuclear missile submarine, when it is taken to its Puget Sound base .
Archbishop Hunthausen was enthusiastically applauded by nearly all of the audience, which numbered about 200–300. He received standing ovations when he was introduced, at the conclusion of his brief talk, and again at the end of a question period.
However a few individuals had come to express opposition. One of them, James Crockett, a retired layman from a Brooklyn parish, had prepared a large sign that he held up outside as people departed. It read: “Archbishop Hunthausen: Would you have us abandon the defense of our homeland and our loved ones?”
During the question period, the archbishop was challenged by S.Z.F. Rutar, a layman of another Brooklyn parish who is the area chapter president of the National Alliance of Czech Catholics.
He told of leaving Czechoslovakia after seeing many friends killed by communists and went on to question Archbishop Hunthausen’s commitment to preserving American freedom.
“I love my country and it is because I love my country that I say what I do,” the archbishop responded. “I would like for my country to put its confidence in the God we profess to believe in.”
Finally, Bill Samuel summed up the history and current state-of-the-art of American war tax resistance in an article for New Catholic World (reprinted in the Catholic Worker):
Refusing War Taxes
By Bill Samuel
Tax refusal is such an obvious and fundamental means of protest and resistance that it has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes. Movements of tax refusers are reported as far back as in Egypt. Tax refusal movements focusing on opposition to war date back at least as far as , when Danish peasants refused to pay taxes to support King Christian Ⅱ’s war against Sweden.
In the United States, war tax refusal is older than the country. The Quaker-controlled Assembly of the Pennsylvania Colony in refused a royal demand to appropriate money for an expedition into Canada. In , when the Assembly voted large amounts for the French and Indian War, many Quakers and Mennonites refused to pay taxes. , this was true throughout the colonies, and a number were imprisoned as a result. The Quaker testimony became so strong that a number of Quakers were disowned by their Monthly Meetings (parishes) during the Revolutionary War for paying war taxes.
But it was not only Quakers and those of other traditionally pacifist religious groups who are engaged in war tax refusal. The most famous early American war tax refuser was Henry David Thoreau, who was jailed for refusing to pay taxes for the Mexican War. He eloquently defended his action in his landmark essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”: “If a thousand (people) were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”
Over , there continued to be persons refusing taxes on grounds of objection to war, but war tax refusal was not a major part of peace efforts. It took the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the growth of the Cold War, to make tax refusal again an important issue in the peace movement. A number of peace activists, including A.J. Muste, began war tax refusal in .
In , about 250 people seeking a more radical approach to peace met in Chicago. War tax refusal was one of the major issues at the conference, which spawned the radical pacifist Peacemaker movement. Nonpayment of taxes for war has been a central tenet of this movement since its founding. A handful of people associated with the Peacemakers were imprisoned on various charges connected with tax refusal during .
Until , little was published on war tax refusal except leaflets and magazine articles. Two important books were issued that year. The Peacemakers issued the first edition of their Handbook on Nonpayment of Taxes for War, which reported the experiences of a number of individuals and endeavored to explain both the whys and the hows of war tax refusal. The other publication, Edmund Wilson’s The Cold War and the Income Tax, was written by a prominent literary figure who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the same year. This blistering attack on militarism and the income tax system was greeted with critical acclaim and received mass distribution as a Signet paperback.
Although war tax refusal grew in the two decades following Hiroshima, it remained largely an act of deeply committed pacifists, a tiny minority on the fringes of American society. It only became a mass movement when large numbers of Americans were killing and being killed in a war that was difficult to justify.
President Johnson aided the growth of tax resistance by identifying specific taxes as needed to finance the war. The telephone tax, scheduled to expire in , was reimposed explicitly to finance the Vietnam operation and was extended twice during the Vietnam War. For there was also an income tax surcharge to raise revenue for the war. People who strongly opposed the Vietnam War, but who were not necessarily pacifists, were moved to resist those taxes. Because it was both clearly associated with Vietnam and easy to refuse, the telephone tax was at one time refused by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The War Resisters League (WRL) was the principal group promoting war tax refusal during the early Vietnam war years. By it seemed to merit its own organization. With considerable help from the WRL, War Tax Resistance was launched at a New York press conference on . Aiming at the masses of Vietnam War protesters, WTR defined as a war tax resister anyone who refused at least $5 of some federal tax.
WTR struck a real chord. Its initial hope was to encourage the formation of WTR branches in at least 25 cities. Within a year, it had 160 WTR Centers in all parts of the country. Tax resistance demonstrations were held, especially at filing deadline, in cities and towns all over the U.S. Most national peace groups participated in the campaign. Local churches of many denominations refused the phone tax. Two editions () of a book, Ain’t Gonna Pay for War No More by Robert Calvert, on the reasons for and the methods of war tax refusal were published.
During , the movement attempted to conquer a major obstacle to income tax resistance, the withholding system. Resisters began to claim additional exemptions on the withholding forms (Form W-4) they filed with their employers to reduce or eliminate withholding. A number of resisters were indicted on withholding fraud charges. A handful went to prison, but others won court decisions that an open aboveboard act could not be considered fraud. Withholding resistance became more sophisticated as Form W-4 was made more complex. Resisters began claiming allowances justified by large itemized deductions rather than additional dependents. Large amounts were claimed as “war tax deductions” on tax returns. This tax refusal method forced the IRS to allow the taxpayer appeals through the civil courts.
The movement also developed a concrete positive component, inspired by Karl Meyer’s article “A Fund for Mankind” in the issue of The Catholic Worker. Alternative funds pooling refused taxes began to spring up in cities all across the country. These funds would grant or loan money for a wide variety of social service and social change purposes. Sometimes the money was dispersed in public and dramatic ways, such as handing people subway tokens with a leaflet at subway stations in poor areas. Decisions about use of the funds have usually been made collectively by donors. Most of the funds will return deposited tax money in the event of IRS seizure. For this reason, many funds have retained all income tax deposits, spending only the interest earned on them. There were about 55 funds in existence by .
In , a group of war tax refusers and others concerned in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area began meeting together to find a legal alternative to paying taxes for military purposes. Under the able leadership of Quaker physician Dr. David Bassett, this group developed the World Peace Tax Fund Bill using the legal resources of volunteers from the University of Michigan Law School. This proposed legislation would allow persons to declare themselves conscientious objectors to military taxation on their tax returns. Their taxes would be diverted to a new government trust fund, the World Peace Tax Fund. The military portion of the taxes paid by conscientious objectors would perform alternative service through support of a national peace academy, disarmament efforts, international exchanges and other peace-related programs. The non-military portion would be returned to the Treasury for use in civilian government programs.
In , a related committee composed largely of church and peace group lobbyists was formed in Washington. They persuaded Rep. Ronald Dellums (D.-Calif.) and nine other U.S. Representatives to introduce the bill that year. The Ann Arbor and Washington committees, working from their own homes and offices on a volunteer basis, developed support for the bill from around the country from thousands of individuals and many Church, peace and political groups. In , the two committees consolidated their efforts into the National Council for a World Peace Tax Fund, operating from a staffed office in Washington. In , the bill was introduced in the Senate for the first time by Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Oregon). The World Peace Tax Fund Bill (H.R. 4897, S. 880) was introduced again in by Rep. Dellums and 29 co-sponsors (as of ) in the House and Sen. Hatfield in the Senate.
In the first years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, the war tax refusal movement lost a lot of its energy. Although there continued to be many more tax resisters than before the Vietnam era, the organized movement faltered. National WTR published the last issue of its Tax Talk publication in and formally dissolved . Many local WTR groups lapsed into inactivity. Most of the national peace groups lost interest. Individual resisters often had difficulty finding needed information and support.
As the much-heralded “Vietnam dividend” releasing resources for domestic needs failed to appear and military spending continued to rise, interest in war tax resistance began to grow, particularly within the religious community. In , the Center on Law and Pacifism was formed. The brainchild of Catholic attorney and lay theologian William Durland, it was conceived as a radical religious pacifist group focusing on the relationship of pacifism to law and legal institutions. The Center has provided legal counsel to a number of war tax refusers. It has not won any major legal victories, but its existence as an expert resource for support encouraged many to become war tax resisters. A Center workshop in called for a People Pay for Peace campaign involving the refusal of at least $2.40 (U.S. military budget per day per capita) in federal taxes. During the tax filing season, local groups formed in a number of cities, resulting in many new war tax resisters and a number of public witness actions. The Center issued the first edition of People Pay for Peace: A Military Tax Refusal Guide in , and has issued a revised edition or a supplement to the book each year since.
At the same time, interest was increasing in historically pacifist churches. The General Conference Mennonlte Church had been considering the issue for years, beginning its forum newsletter God and Caesar in . The issue became a major one for the New Call to Peacemaking (NCP), a joint effort by Mennonites, Quakers and Brethren to revitalize their peace witness. At the first NCP national conference in , the gathering called upon individual church members “seriously to consider refusal to pay the military portion of their federal taxes as a response to Christ’s call to radical discipleship.” It further called “on our denominations, congregations, and meetings to give high priority to the study and promotion of war tax resistance in our own circles and beyond.” This strong stand received considerable publicity in the mass media. Particularly among Mennonites and Quakers, greatly increased consideration of the issue has resulted and many more individual members are engaging in war tax resistance. A second NCP conference in reaffirmed the position.
In , Long Island peace activist Ed Pearson and others active in the World Peace Tax Fund movement launched a new national campaign to focus mass war tax resistance on passage of the bill. The Conscience and Military Tax Campaign seeks 100,000 people to sign a Resolution stating that they are either now resisting the payment of war taxes or will do so by the time 100,000 have signed. An Escrow Account of refused military taxes is maintained, to be turned over to IRS after enactment of the World Peace Tax Fund bill.
On , Catholic Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle spoke to a regional Lutheran gathering, sharing “a vision of… a sizable number of people… refusing to pay 50 percent of their taxes in nonviolent resistance to nuclear murder and suicide.” Although he later stated in a pastoral letter that this was a secondary aspect of the speech, his vision received considerable national publicity and sparked many Catholics and other mainstream Christians to consider seriously war tax refusal for the first time.
There is now a growing war tax resistance movement which has begun to reach Americans in the mainstream. This movement has the potential of becoming a major component of a large and influential campaign to halt the arms race.
(Bill Samuel is a Quaker who has worked on tax refusal for years. This article first appeared in New Catholic World.)
- Conscience and Military Tax Campaign, 44 Bellhaven Road, Bellport, NY 11713; (516) 286‒8825. Newsletter, literature, escrow account.
- National Council for a World Peace Tax Fund, 2111 Florida Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20008: (202) 483‒3751. Newsletter, literature, slideshow.
- Center on Law and Pacifism. P.O. Box 1584, Colorado Springs, CO 80901; (303) 635‒0041. Publishes People Pay for Peace: A Military Tax Refusal Guide ( edition).
- Peacemakers, P.O. Box 627, Garberville, CA 95440. Handbook on Nonpayment of Taxes for War ( edition — $1.50) and The Peacemaker (monthly — $10 year).
- War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; (212) 228‒0450. Guide to War Tax Resistance, , $6 plus postage.