Today, a couple of notes about Richard Fichter, who was one of those in the first generation of the modern American war tax resistance movement. First, from the Binghamton Press:
Springville Minister Won’t Contribute To “Arms Race”
Scranton — (AP) — An executive session of the one hundred and second annual meeting of the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist Church has dismissed a 29-year-old minister because he refuses to pay income taxes.
The action was taken against the Rev. Richard M. Fichter of Springville, Pa., who was charged with six rural churches on a circuit in Susquehanna County of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The dismissal was announced by the Rev. Dr. Roswell W. Lyon, superintendent of Mr. Fichter’s district. He said Mr. Fichter was given a chance last year to pay the taxes after he had repeatedly refused to do so.
Mr. Fichter, a deacon in the church, says he refuses to pay taxes as a “matter of Christian conscience because of the suicidal armaments race” the money would support. The Internal Revenue Bureau has filed a lien against him for back taxes. The amount due was not disclosed.
His dismissal was voted by the executive session which overruled a decision of the nine-man Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifications. The board voted 5-4 to accept Mr. Fichter as an elder, the final recognition given by the church. The later vote against Mr. Fichter automatically dismisses him from his charges, Dr. Lyon explained.
On “Duty” at Ohio Courthouse
Cincinnati — (AP) — Richard Fichter, a Springville, Susquehanna County, Pa., dairy farmer has started a one-man picket duty at county courthouse here.
Mr. Fichter drove 650 miles here in a rickety old car, to support a pacifist jail inmate who won’t pay taxes.
His placard, on one side, says: “I don’t support war taxes either.”
The other side says: “I support McCrackin’s 13-day fast in Jail for peace.”
Mr. McCrackin is the Rev. Maurice F. McCrackin, controversial minister sent to jail indefinitely for contempt because he refused to take any part in his U.S. District Court arraignment . He was Indicted on a charge of failing to heed a summons to a conference on taxes.
The pastor has refused any food since entering his cell, except to drink some water. On a doctor’s advice, he ended his fast .
Mr. Fichter, a wiry man, started his picketing Saturday. The Pennsylvania farmer, like the minister, is connected with a group here called the Peacemakers, who refused to pay part, or all their Income tax because it goes for war purposes.
Mr. Fichter was once a minister, serving a Methodist Church in Springville, a small rural community. But he said he was stripped of his church.
He said: “Fellow clergymen wouldn’t let me in as a ministerial member of the Wyoming Conference because of my refusal to pay taxes.”
An attempt by Mr. Fichter to crash “The $64,000 Question” television show, no longer on the air, on , in New York City was cut short by show officials. He had prepared an appeal against paying taxes to buy nuclear weapons.
Mr. Fichter said he hasn’t paid his taxes in nine years. “The first year, they (Revenue Service) took it out of my bank.
“After that I didn’t file a return. Lately they’ve been coming out to the farm trying to get me to file. And they sent me a notice recently saying they’d like to file it for me — going to the banks and feed mills and so on, to get the figures.”
New troubles loom for Mr. McCrackin, minister of a com-Church in the west end of Cincinnati.
He also directs church-connected Neighborhood House. Episcopal Bishop Henry Wise Hobson has taken steps that may force out the minister as director.
Not As Minister
A house board spokesman said last night the bishop’s suggestions for a change are still somewhat loose, but that one suggestion was to have the minister step out as director — but not as minister of the church.
Ernest Bromley of nearby Sharonville, one of the leaders of the non-taxpaying Peacemakers and also a onetime Methodist minister in Bath, N.C., said he visited the minister in jail and found him in good spirits, “but he looks a little thinner from that fast.”
Mr. McCrackin is slated for trial in U.S. District Court here .
Judge John H. Durffel last week ordered a new group of prospective jurors drawn for the trial.