Tax Resistance News from Around the World

Some links from here and there…

In , Bob Livingston was half-way through his career as a U.S. Congressman. A decade later he would get within a hair’s-breadth of the Speaker of the House position, but when news of an extramarital affair leaked out, he was passed over in favor of a Republican with moral character more suitable for the position (Dennis Hastert).

But on , Livingston had other things on his mind. He had gotten ahold of a copy of “Presbyterians and Peacemaking” by Dana W. Wilbanks and Ronald H. Stone, a paper that had been circulated by a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. advisory body in preparation for an upcoming general assembly.

Livingston took to the floor of the House to exclaim that the contents of Wilbanks’s and Stone’s paper were “shocking beyond belief, and could readily be construed to be manifests for revolution against the U.S. Government.” Most interesting to us here at The Picket Line, is this:

The second form of resistance the authors advise is tax resistance. That resisters are people who withhold part or all of their income tax from the IRS in order to prevent their money from being spent on the military, and to protect [sic] the government’s policies. Wilbanks and Stone urge that the General Assembly “extend its position on conscientious objectors to wars to the support of the conscience of tax resisters.” They envision two methods of resistance that the church could follow, “the Assembly could advocate massive civil disobedience through symbolic withholding of a certain amount; or hold corporately in escrow the money individuals withhold so that legal liability for such acts of disobedience would be the national church body.” To avoid the question of illegality the authors would like the Assembly to “seek the establishment of a World Peace Tax Fund which would provide a legally available channel for conscientiously motivated tax resisters to pay into an alternative fund the portion they would otherwise withhold.” The study recommends that the church should show its opposition to militarism and nuclear arms by encouraging its members to practice tax evasion.