Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Pacifists Seek to Redirect Tax Dollars. (World)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Pacifists Seek to Redirect Tax Dollars. (World)

Article excerpt

As the nation moves ever closer to war with Iraq, opponents continue to look for ways to oppose it--with their pocketbooks as well as their protests.

In late autumn, for example, a group of 167 opponents of U.S. military action issued a statement, "A Call to Non-cooperation With War on Iraq," declaring their intention to refuse to pay that portion of their federal taxes that would support the war and instead redirect it to medical programs "to heal the wounds of war."

"We call on all those who oppose the military attacks on Iraq to join us in refusing to pay for it, and instead to redirect their federal tax money to heal the wounds of war," said the statement issued by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

"We ask people of conscience to refuse to pay the federal excise tax on their phone bills and/or to refuse to pay some or all of their federal income taxes as a clear signal to our government that continuing the cycle of violence is wrong," the statement said.

While such a refusal is illegal, efforts to create a legal redirection of tax funds for conscientious objectors have run up against a brick wall in Congress.

Last spring, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., introduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, which would allow taxpayers to conscientiously object to having their tax dollars spent on the military.

"People want us to start advocating for peace," Lewis said.

The bill never had a chance of passage and died, but supporters vow to bring it back up in the new Congress as the prospect of war looms ever larger. …

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