A peace tax fund

Apr 20, 2020 by

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Shouldn’t taxpayers have the right not to kill? When we pay our taxes that underwrite warmaking, we are participating in all the killing, destruction and displacement that war involves.

Taxpayers praying for peace want to witness to our faith by redirecting our federal tax levy away from death to life-giving causes. We are distressed by the percentage of federal taxes that underwrites the U.S. military — 47 percent, according to the War Resisters League. What human needs, including those caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are going unfunded because of this misdirection of resources?

While the redirection of taxes on the basis of conscience against war is not yet a legal option, shouldn’t the constitutional right of religious freedom protect those whose consciences object to having their labor conscripted for war, in the form of taxes?

Last spring Mennonite Church USA set up a Church Peace Tax Fund, continuing and renaming a War Tax Alternative Fund set up by the General Conference Mennonite Church in the 1980s. The fund enables religious conscientious objectors to redirect their federal tax levy to problem-solving programs which, unlike war, are a realistic path to peace. This fund is designed to provide the spiritual resources, human solidarity and material aid necessary to support and equip those who, because of conscience, choose not to pay taxes that underwrite war and militarism.

You can contribute online at mennoniteusa.org/give by choosing “Peace Witness” and then “Church Peace Tax Fund.” Or send a check to Mennonite Church USA, 718 N. Main St., Newton, KS 67114, with “Church Peace Tax Fund” in the memo line.

Harold A. Penner
Akron, Pa.

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