Friends: It is that time of year again when we are asked to pay our federal taxes, half of which goes for war and preparations for more wars. In the last century over 180 million people died in wars. Our country continues to spend about one trillion dollars a year of our tax dollars on wars and other military expenditures – for nuclear weapons, bomber planes, drones, over one thousand military bases around the world, and for the soldiers who do the killing for us.
All of us are asked to pay for the killing of our fellow human beings, children of God, and perhaps to even put an end to all human life on this planet if we have a nuclear war, which is unfortunately really possible. Even aside from the cost, wars are not working. Wars do NOT resolve conflicts. Rather they sow the seeds of future wars – and are creating ever more enemies.
Our government can only continue fighting its wars if we cooperate – with our silence and by dutifully paying the 50% of our federal taxes which are allocated for wars and armaments.
When do we say ENOUGH? We as Friends can not longer in good conscience pay for killing our fellow human beings. Instead we will redirect 50% of our federal taxes to feeding the hungry, healing the sick and helping build a more peaceful, just and environmentally sustainable world.
In March and April, I will be visiting Korea and Vietnam, where the people are still suffering from the tragic wars we inflicted on them many decades ago. I will ask people’s forgiveness for the horrible pain we have caused them by these wars, and commit to working to help change American policies so we don’t continue inflicting pain and suffering on people in other parts of the world.
I would like to hear how other Friends are wrestling with the question of praying and working for peace, while paying for war. For more information about war tax resistance, see the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, www.nwtcc.org. Also, to learn about a global campaign to end all war, see www.worldbeyondwar.org.
David Hartsough, San Francisco Friends Meeting, California (PYM)
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