Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen Advocates War Tax Resistance

The 8 August 1981 Nashua Telegraph carried an article by Associated Press “Religion Writer” George W. Cornell. Some excerpts:

A-bomb anniversary brings peaceful fight

In a time of military buildup, the “peace” people are marching, praying, fasting and signing petitions. Several denominations have made “peacemaking” a current priority. And some church leaders, including a bold bishop, have advised refusing to pay the portion of taxes that goes for arms.

The Reverend Hunthausen: “After much prayer, thought”

[A]dvocacy of withholding so-called “war taxes” — the share of federal income taxes that go for military equipment — came not just from traditional “peace” denominations, but from a Roman Catholic archbishop.

Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen of Seattle, in a speech that has since evoked wide and varying reactions, suggested Christians refuse to pay the half of their federal income taxes going for armament.

“We have to refuse to give our incense — in our day, tax dollars — to the nuclear idol,” he said. “I think the teaching of Jesus tells us to render to a nuclear-arms Caesar what Caesar deserves — tax resistance.

“Some would call what I am urging ‘civil disobedience.’ I prefer to see it as obedience to God.”

Similar suggestions have come from some other Christians, most solidly from leaders of three relatively small, but historic “peace” denominations — The Church of the Brethren, the Friends and Mennonites.

A joint meeting of them under the banner of “New Call to Peacemaking” said paying for war is wrong and asked members to “consider refusal to pay the military portion of their federal taxes, as a response to Christ’s call to radical discipleship.”

In separate denominational actions, the Church of the Brethren has supported “open, massive withholding of war taxes” and the Mennonites general conference is fighting in court against being required to withhold taxes partly used for military purposes from employes’ income.

The New York-based War Resisters League estimates 2,000 to 10,000 Americans annually hold back part of their taxes, some eventually being forced to pay but continuing to repeat the protest.

A short note from the 8 August 1914 edition of Domestic Engineering:

Master Plumbers Refuse To Pay Tax

Ten master plumbers of Joplin, Mo., have refused to pay a tax of $50 per year each, which is provided for in a plumbing ordinance just passed in that city. Plumbers who signed the resolutions are as follows: N.C. Rogers, O.B. Dagley, R.E. Coberly, J.M. Gray, A.L. Lowe, Fred Hamm, J.P. Hamm, L.O. Allen, C.H. Colson and E.P. Law.