Holding Out for Peace

As the surge of nuclear resistance has cut broader and deeper channels into the mainstream of the U.S. church, new and encouraging voices of Christian protest are being raised. Following years of dissent from the so-called peripheries of the church, these new voices are earnestly imploring a vigorous, sacrificial witness by the church as a whole against impending nuclear catastrophe.

Although many streams feed the currents of resistance, the refusal to pay military taxes is receiving increasing public attention. Both as a means of protesting the arms race and as a denial of funds that fuel it, war tax resistance is slowly building momentum.

In this issue of Sojourners, we offer Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen's strong letter to his parishioners explaining his decision to withhold the war portion of his income taxes. Attorney William Durland updates the state of war tax resistance litigation. And one of the best military tax refusal guides available is reviewed. Also in this issue we want to explain how we at Sojourners practice war tax resistance.

Non-payment of war taxes has always been a vital concern. We began publishing in 1971 during the height of the Vietnam War, a conflict that we unequivocally opposed. It soon became clear that refusal of war tax payment was for us as morally necessary as our refusal of military induction. We could not oppose that war in every other way and then help pay for it. In those early days we refused war tax payment by holding our earnings below the taxable income level and withholding the war tax portion of our phone bill.

With the heightening nuclear arms race and the widening conflict in Central America, our stand on war tax resistance has remained resolute: We cannot with good conscience provide our government, through our tax dollars, with the necessary means for nuclear preparedness and ideological military exploits.

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