Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill Introduced in 111th Congress as H.R. 2085
On April 23, 2009, Representative John Lewis (GA-05), along with ten cosponsors, introduced the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill as H.R. 2085 in the 111th Congress. If passed by Congress, this legislation would establish a governmental trust fund into which designated conscientious objectors would be able to pay their full federal income taxes. The accumulated revenue would then be allocated yearly by Congress to any federal program that is unrelated to military purposes. The text of H.R. 2085 and links to information about the bill's status in the House of Representatives are available on the "The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2085" page on this site.
Lobby Day 2009: The Wages of Peace
Lobby Day 2009: The Wages of Peace, held here in Washington, D.C., on April 19 & 20, 2009, was a success! Our presence and our witness for peace brought five more Congresspersons on board. In fact, directly following our efforts on Monday afternoon (April 20th), the additional five Congresspersons agreed to cosponsor the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill!
The best news is that the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill has now been introduced in the 111th Congress! Many thanks to Rep. John Lewis and the cosponsoring Representatives. Many thanks as well to the attendees of Lobby Day 2009. Your efforts helped make introduction of the bill possible.
Write Your Editor
Want your opinions heard about the Peace Tax Fund in your local town? Contact your newspaper editor and encourage him/her to spread the news about NCPTF and the urgency for a Peace Tax Fund in our Federal Tax System! Our "Write a Letter to an Editor" page can help you with this.
Peace Tax Fund Loses Key Board Member
John Little Randall, who served on the Peace Tax Fund Board for ten years and was currently Vice-Chair, died suddenly April 29, 2008. His deep caring, unique humor, candor and leadership will be missed greatly. Since his retirement from teaching math in a community college, John was increasingly active in his support of the Peace Tax Fund and Conscience and Peace Tax International (CPTI) (new window). He helped his wife Nana-Fosu Randall establish a Montessori school in Kumasi, Ghana, and maintained several websites, including the sites of CPTI (new window), John William Montessori School (new window), Friends of John William Education Center (new window), and Voices of African Mothers (new window). A memorial service was held on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at Scarsdale Friends Meeting (new window) in Scarsdale, New York.
New Peace Tax Foundation DVD
The new edition of the Peace Tax Foundation's video, Compelled by Conscience, is now available as a DVD. This 12-minute video is an excellent summary intended for both newcomers and activists. It explains the ideal of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund bill in its historical and current context. Leaders and ordinary people from across the religious and political spectrum explain why there is a need to enable citizens to pay their taxes without violating their conscience. Bonus tracks on the Compelled by Conscience DVD include extended interviews, a video from a similar movement in Canada called Conscience Canada, and a moving NCPTF 35th anniversary concert. The DVD is ideal for sharing with a friend or a church group.
Church Bulletin Insert Available
A 5.5" x 8.5" two-sided, full-color insert is available for use in church bulletins between February 17th and March 16th, 2008. Beginning with a story of two pastors punished by the IRS for practicing their faith, the piece summarizes the rationale and need for the Peace Tax Fund and encourages readers to craft brief statements of conscience. With preparation, some churches may provide space to reflect and write, and collect these expressions of individual conscience along with regular gift offerings. Download the bulletin insert (PDF format).
Statements of Conscience
Read and create personal expressions of conscience about paying for war:
Indiana Congresswoman and Peace Tax Fund Cosponsor Julia Carson Dies at 69.
Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.), the first African- American and the first woman to represent Indianapolis, died of lung cancer December 15, 2007. Carson was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. She was also a champion of children's issues, women's rights, and efforts to reduce homelessness.
Carson told National Public Radio correspondent Daniel Zwerdling in a 1996 interview, "My mother dropped out of school when she was in the second grade. She lost her own mother when she was only four years of age—and for someone like me to be able to walk life's journey into the halls of the United States Congress, as an elected member of that body, it's most overwhelming...."
Former Congressman and Peace Tax Fund lead sponsor Andy Jacobs told NCPTF Executive Director Alan Gamble in a January 8 phone call that he lost a good friend, a "jewel," last month. He wrote, "The same praise Carl Sandburg gave to Lincoln—'Look where he came from and look where he went; and wasn't he a kind of tough struggler all his life right up to the finish?'—could, and should, be said of our sister, the late Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.), who has passed beyond the sound of our voices into the sunset of her temporal life and into a dawn of history."
Representative Carson was an avid and consistent supporter of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund, one of the original sixteen who introduced H.R. 1921 in April 2007. The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund mourns with her family and those inside and outside of Indiana's 7th district whose interests she represented. Gamble encourages Peace Tax Fund supporters to advocate for liberty of conscience and belief with the vigor and courage embodied by Ms. Carson. Nominations for her vacant seat will occur January 12-13, with a special election scheduled for March 12, 2008.
Peace Tax Fund's Executive Director Presents Kansas Peace Series Lecture.
So much effort is spent opposing the current war. Will peace be achieved when the fighting stops? On what are we building and to where are we headed? Read the November 2, 2007, lecture by Alan Gamble, which opened the 25th anniversary gathering of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee in Newton, Kansas. Lecture in RTF format (will open in Word). Lecture in PDF format (new window).
The Daniel Jenkins Case Will Seek Review by an International Human Rights Commission.
Daniel Jenkins' legal case—a case of conscientious objection to military taxation—was denied a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 1, 2007. Jenkins' petition was one of several hundred that were submitted during the summer months. Of these, only seventeen were chosen for review by the Supreme Court.
A comprehensive amicus brief was submitted by the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in support of Jenkins' petition for a writ of certiorari (the procedure used in appealing for U.S. Supreme Court review). This amicus brief contains historical material that may be of interest to NCPTF supporters. Both the petition and the supporting brief are available at the Conscience and Peace Tax International Web site:
- Daniel Taylor Jenkins Petition for Writ of Certiorari
- Brief of New York Yearly Meeting as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner-Appellant
As the final door to the U.S. courts closed, another opened at the international level. The Jenkins case can now be appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Preparations are underway.
The Jenkins case is based on retained rights of conscience as identified in state constitutions and as protected from federal denial by the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The freedom of individual conscience is also guaranteed in various international human rights covenants.
The case cannot be appealed to the United Nations human rights tribunal system, as the petitioner is an American citizen, and the United States government has never ratified the necessary protocol.
For additional information contact Daniel Jenkins at 518-891-4083.
Conference on Conscientious Objection to Paying for War in Flushing, NY, September 23–25, 2007
A conference called "Is the Freedom of Religious Conscience a Fundamental Human Right? Conscientious Objection to Paying for War: Court Cases and Appeals to International Human Rights Tribunals" will be held at the Friends Meetinghouse in Flushing, NY, from Sunday, September 23rd, through Tuesday, September 25th, 2007. The conference will focus on the process of taking conscientious objection to military taxation (COMT) cases beyond national courts by appeal to various international tribunals, looking at how individuals, groups of individuals, and organizations can be involved in advancing such cases into the transnational forums that have been established to protect fundamental human rights. Conference participants will also have an opportunity to work on personal statements of conscience, as well as a collective statement that may become a contemporary version of the Flushing Remonstrance. Written in 1657, the Flushing Remonstrance was one of the earliest declarations of the freedom of religious conscience in North America. More information on the conference (new window). Text of the Flushing Remonstrance (new window).
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. (Full article)
- Marian Franz, a witness for peace in the halls of power, died November 17, 2006. She was 76. Marian directed the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) for 24 years. Marian believed no witness for peace and conscience is ever lost.
- Director Alan Gamble, and other staff and supporters of the Campaign dedicate one day per week to visiting Congressional offices. The Campaign invites you to join the conversation.
- On September 28th, Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13) became a cosponsor of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2631. This is her first time sponsoring peace tax fund legislation. The bill now has support from 46 members of Congress, which is the most support it has had in Congress since 1990.
- On September 19, 2006, Representative Darlene Hooley (OR-05) became a cosponsor of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2631. The bill now has support from 45 members of Congress, which is the most support it has had in Congress since 1990.
- Representatives Rush Holt (NJ-12) became a cosponsor of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2631, on June 28, 2006. The bill only needs one more cosponsor to add his or her name within the current congress to garner the most cosponsors it has had since 1990.
- On May 24, Representatives Chaka Fattah (PA-02) and Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) added their names to the Religious
Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2631.
- Join with other conscientious objectors to military violence to speak out against forced conscription in the military – whether it is our bodies or our tax dollars that are used to kill.
- On April 7th, the New York Yearly Meeting of Friends released one of the most wide-reaching and definitive statements about opposition to military taxation to come from any religious group in this country.
- Tax Day is a great opportunity to get people thinking about the moral implications of how their tax dollars are spent. Here are some ideas for Tax Day actions.
Organizing Resources Available from Rhode Island Campaign
- Two new reports are available from the Rhode Island Campaign for Conscience (RICC).
The RICC Organizer Manual is an outline of what Natalie Merrill, the local organizer for RICC, did to set up and carry out the campaign. It includes a timeline, logistical details, and advice for setting up a similar campaign.
The Local Resolution Guide is a step-by-step manual for getting your own town or city council to pass a resolution in support of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill.
- We've compiled an assortment of resources to help congregations incorporate the issue of conscientious objection to military taxation into a worship service.
- First the good news: Inge Donato was released from prison on February 6th after serving a
six-month term for her refusal to pay taxes for military purposes. Inge has expressed deep gratitude to all those
who wrote her and spoke out on her behalf during her time in prison. While in jail, she received letters from people
all over the world. The support she felt from this broad community helped her to endure the harsh conditions of
prison. Thanks to all of you who communicated with Inge during this time!
And now the bad news: Inge's husband, Joe Donato, and their fellow community member, Kevin McKee, begin their prison terms this month. Kevin's 24-month term began last Monday, and this morning Joe reported to prison to begin his 27-month sentence.
- President Bush unveiled his plan for the 2007 budget. Bush has spent huge sums on the military in the past, but this budget breaks the previous record for military spending with $439.3 billion allocated for military activities.
- On December 15, Representatives Dennis Kucinich (OH-10) and Julia Carson (IN-07) added their names to the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, H.R. 2631. This bill now has support from 41 members of Congress, including lead sponsor Rep. John Lewis (GA-05).
- A Public Hearing on H.R. 2631, the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, took place on Monday, December 12, 2005 from 9:00 to 11:00am in the State Room of the Rhode Island State House in Providence, RI. More than 25 people participated in the hearing, held in a spacious and elegant room used by Rhode Island’s governor for state press conferences and receptions. At a podium bearing the Seal of the Governor of Rhode Island, and under a painting of George Washington, witnesses giving testimony in support of the Peace Tax Fund shared in a morning of hope and fervent petition.
- On October 20, 2005, the Council of the City of Providence, Rhode Island, voted unanimously for a resolution
supporting the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, making it the first city in the U.S. to pass such a measure.
All 15 members of the Council voted for the resolution, which cites the necessity of religious freedom and the
high cost of war as reasons for supporting this legislation. The Rhode Island Campaign for Conscience, a project
of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, is working with city councils in Rhode Island to encourage resolutions
Click here to read the text of the Providence Resolution
- Does it take a natural catastrophe to draw a nation together? Of course last weekend's antiwar protest in Washington D.C. was planned and organized long before the catastrophic events in the Gulf States. However, the government's lack of adequate response to the cries for help both before and after Hurricane Katrina's and Rita's paths of devastation seemed to draw a common thread through the ranks of well over one-hundred thousand protesters gathered around the White House and Washington Monument on September 24. In the face of devastation (whose effects were especially catastrophic for the thousands of New Orleans' citizens living well below the poverty line) the justification for this war seems even more questionable. Read More...
- If you have a strong commitment to the Peace Tax Fund and seek a challenge in your professional work, we would
like to hear! Working with a small, dedicated staff, the new "head of organization" will be seasoned
and skilled in communication, supervision, coordination, organizational development, and networking.
Interested candidates should send a letter of inquiry and resume to:
Peace Tax Fund
2121 Decatur Pl NW
Washington, DC 20008
or, by e-mail, to: email@example.com
Applications accepted through January 17, 2006
- On July 1, three members of a small religious group from New Jersey were sentenced to prison terms for their refusal to pay taxes for military use. Kevin McKee, Joe Donato and Inge Donato were sentenced to prison terms of 24, 27 and 6 months, respectively for "conspiring to defraud the United States," attempted evasion of employment taxes, and failure to file personal income tax returns. Prosecution of religious pacifist tax resisters is almost unheard of since 1950, and prison sentences are exceedingly rare.
- The newest local chapter of the National Campaign has commenced operations in Rhode Island.
- We now have a copy of the official transcript from the June 9th hearing.
- Over seventy-five people braved the blazing sun and sweltering concrete yesterday to call for a Peace Tax Fund. The gathering, on the steps of New York City Hall, marked the beginning of a historic afternoon in which the New York City Council heard testimony on Resolution 367.
- HR 2631 - The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill Was Introduced Yesterday, May 25, With 34 Cosponsors.
- As of Friday, the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill had 31 cosponsors. Click here for a complete list.
- On May 16, over forty people came to DC from as far away as Florida and Indiana for a lobby day to advocate for the rights of conscientious objectors. Participants in this annual event, organized jointly by the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) and the Center on Conscience and War (CCW), asked their members of Congress to support legislation affirming conscientious objection by supporting two pieces of legislation.
- Come to DC, or lobby at your Rep’s local office. This year’s Lobby Day will feature the kick-off of the "I Will Not Kill" Campaign with a press conference at the Capitol.
- The Friends Committee on National Legislation has an analysis of the federal government's military spending for FY2004, our most recent fiscal year
- We have the language of the Peace Tax Fund Bill in the 109th Congress! Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is seeking as many cosponsors as possible before officially introducing it in the House of Representatives.
- Carol Horne considers herself a good American: She loves her country, she does what she can for others. She cries
during the national anthem. But she won't pay taxes to support the war.
This is the beginning of an article from the Register-Guard. It mentions the Peace Tax Fund and has snippets of an interview with our very own Marian Franz. For those new to the issue, this is a great primer on the history and purpose of the Peace Tax Fund.
- This Op-ed by Andy McKenna appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on January 19, 2005. McKenna, an Austin resident, volunteers for the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
New PTF Website Launches
- Like the new look? You can expect a few odd occurrences during the next few days as we work to update and reformat the PTF website. Please report any errors and broken links to Longwing@peacetaxfund.org
Judge Delivers Mixed Ruling In U.S. v. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
- The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the IRS, sued Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) for refusing to
garnish the wages of Priscilla Adams, one of their employees who is a war tax resister. PYM decided to defend itself
in court. Among other things, PYM argued that the establishment of a Peace Tax Fund would be a way to accommodate
the religious and moral beliefs of Priscilla Adams and many others whose consciences refuse to let them participate
in war, financially or otherwise.
Judge Stewart Dalzell, of the United States District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, offered a mixed decision in the case. On the one hand, Judge Dalzell found against PYM in determining that they must honor the levy on Priscilla Adams's wages and pay over to the IRS the amount they seek. On the other hand, he found in favor of PYM in determining that as Quakers they were not unreasonable - as the IRS had claimed - to stand on religious principles and to contest the appropriateness of the levy as a means of collection in these circumstances. The judge thus ruled that the 50% penalty the IRS sought to impose on PYM for refusing to honor the levy was unwarranted and disallowed.
Click here to find out more.
New York City Resolution
- On May 19, 2004, led by Council Member Bill Perkins of the 9th District in Manhattan, the New York City Council
introduced Resolution 367 in support of the Peace Tax Fund Bill. The resolution affirms the rights of conscientious
objectors to have "alternative service for their drafted dollars." New York City is the first locality
to propose such a resolution. Click
here to see the text of the resolution. The New York City Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is organizing itself
around the City Council Resolution. Click here for more information about the New York City
Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund and their efforts.