Image: "Join the Campaign!"

Image: "Contact Congress."

Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill Is Reintroduced in the 110th Congress

On April 18, 2007 Representative John Lewis (GA05) reintroduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (H.R. 1921) in the 110th Congress.

This legislation establishes a governmental trust fund into which designated conscientious objectors will pay their full federal income taxes. The accumulated revenue will then be allocated yearly by Congress to any federal program that is unrelated to military purposes.

"At a time when we seek alternatives to our collective culture of overwhelming violence, this bill represents unity, light and hope," said Alan Gamble, Executive Director of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund. "It rightly respects those who cannot participate in organized killing or militaristic threats of lethal force with their taxes for reasons of religious conscience, and it resolves a long-standing entanglement of government with the practice of religion and personal belief. This legislation is written in the spirit of Jefferson and Madison, and it is firmly anchored in the guarantees of individual rights that are found in our federal Constitution."

Essentially a civil liberties and human rights bill, the legislation will have no direct effect on spending priorities. It restores and revitalizes religious freedom and liberty of conscience rights that were established and protected by our society before the individual states were united as a nation. The legislation thus provides a form of "alternative service" for drafted dollars, just as conscientious objectors provided unarmed service to their country during the Second World War.

Because of a favorable congressional climate, this bill is expected to see significant action in upcoming sessions. More information is available from the office of Congressperson John Lewis, on the Library of Congress's Thomas Web site, and at www.peacetaxfund.org.