Excerpts from the Swarthmore Phoenix give us a peek at how the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was addressing war tax resistance at that time:
The Religious Society of Friends will hold a special Yearly Meeting Session at the Arch Street Meeting House . The Philadelphia assembly, usually scheduled for March, is taking place in October because of the significance and immediacy of the agenda.
The morning session, convening at 10 a.m. will concern the “drafting of money” for war purposes. The Friends believe that tax refusals [sic] is plausible and important manner of dealing with militarism. A great many people support youth in its refusal to fight on battlefields it did not create. A great many people should be ready to withhold money. The Friends believe that “the functions related to war have become the main pre-occupation of our government” while “social needs are given lower priority.” The Friends hope to gather support in their objection to the use of their tax dollars for military purposes.
Quotes from the report by the committee planning the special session, arguments against tax refusal are as follows:
- Refusal to pay taxes would be anarchy.
- The government will collect the taxes, plus interest, and thus get more money.
- The government will not be hurt by such a form of protest.
- The war will get first claim on all money, and thus make less for social causes.
- The tax refuser denies money for worthy civilian activities.
- Anything less than total tax refusal is insignificant.
It was noted that although these arguments are valid, they are far overshadowed by moral reasons for refusal to pay war taxes.