Rev. Lawrence Scott Refuses to Pay for War

From the Baptist Informer:

Minister Refuses to Pay for War

The Rev. Lawrence Scott of Kansas City withheld one-third of his federal income tax payment to protest government expenditures for military purposes.

Rev. Mr. Scott, director of the Interracial Fellowship House, said he was a member of a tax refusal committee of a national pacificist [sic] organization known as the Peacemakers.

He mailed the internal revenue collector $29.21, two-thirds of his tax due for . He added that he was sending the remainder of $15.04 to the Fellowship of Reconciliation in New York “for the promotion of peace between nations.”

A Baptist minister, Rev. Mr. Scott said the amount of tax he withheld represented the proportion of the national income “being used for armaments and other expenditures relative to preparation for war.”

I have mostly brief mentions of Scott in my archives. He’s listed among the signers of a 1949 Peacemakers tax resistance pledge in a Philadelphia Inquirer article that year (as “Laurence” Scott). The Friends Journal notes him as a speaker at an “[o]pen panel discussion on tax refusal” in , and he authored a piece promoting civil disobedience in a 1968 edition of that magazine.

Scott is credited as founder of the Committee for Nonviolent Action, which advocated for war tax resistance and other forms of nonviolent direct action in the peace cause.

Although the article above says he was a Baptist minister, I think that he had joined the Society of Friends by . In he became Peace Education Secretary for the Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee, but he resigned in with a bang after the organization refused to support his tax refusal stand, publishing his resignation letter in which he criticized “effete middle-class Friends of today” for their cheap words of peace at a time when action was called for. (As I noted a while back, the AFSC is very timid and conservative, particularly around the war tax resistance issue.)