War Tax Resistance in the Friends Journal in 1965

War tax resistance in the Friends Journal in

Three people dominated the meager Friends Journal coverage of war tax resistance in : Johan Eliot, Margaret Dungan, and Gordon Christiansen.

Johan Eliot

Eliot, “a member of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Meeting,” says the issue, “has received a considerable amount of newspaper and radio publicity recently because of his refusal to pay the balance of his income tax on the ground that the major portion of his tax money goes for armaments which threaten the world. According to an Associated Press dispatch he decided to make this protest after U.S. planes began their raids on North Vietnam.”

This prompted the Journal to publish a more in-depth explanation, penned by Eliot’s wife Francis, in its issue. Excerpts:

The concerns of many Friends about war taxes, expressed from time to time in letters to the Journal; the Yellow Springs (Ohio) Meeting’s Discipline on Friends and Taxes; the Bill for a Civilian Income Tax Fund proposed by Pacific Yearly Meeting; the historical material prepared by Franklin Zahn of Claremont (Calif.) Meeting; The Catholic Worker and its witness against participation in war and preparation for war; and the Peacemakers’ movement — all of these have helped to guide our thinking in the past several years.…

…I expect the government will just fetch the taxes due out of our bank account. There is a possible penalty of $10,000 fine and/or a year in prison, but relatively few tax-protesters have been prosecuted under this provision. Meanwhile, Jo has sent to the United Nations twice the amount of taxes due, earmarked “for technical assistance,” with a letter to U Thant, expressing appreciation for his efforts for world peace. In terms of this year’s taxes, this gives roughly $2000 to Caesar (the withheld portion) and $180 to God — still not a very satisfactory balance!

…Our mail is running 8-to-1 in favor of Jo’s stand!

Margaret Dungan

A report on the annual session of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in the issue included the brief note that “Margaret Dungan reminded Friends of the possibility of protesting military policies by refusing to pay Federal income tax.”

Upset at this abbreviation of her comments, she wrote in to the Journal to clarify that she meant only “refusing to pay the military part of the income tax,” as “I earnestly believe that citizens of the United States should support their Government in all its operations for human welfare, and should refuse to support only what violates the divine law of human brotherhood.”

Dungan’s obituary, in the issue, says: “Early in life Margaret showed a rugged independence of spirit in becoming a suffragette, a vegetarian, and one of the founders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Her unwavering dedication to nonviolence was expressed in many other ways, including the refusal to pay taxes for military expenditures.”

Gordon Christiansen

Christiansen, a former member of the American Friends Service Committee, spoke at the “Speak-Out at the Pentagon” rally sponsored by the Committee for Nonviolent Action on . The issue of the Journal reported on the vows of noncooperation and resistance he made there, including: “I refuse my financial support… I will not willingly pay my income tax.”

represented a lull in coverage of war tax resistance in the Friends Journal, but things would pick up again and then gallop on without let-up for