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Tax resistance is everyone's moral charge.

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By David Hazen For The Register-Guard

Due to recent events within the Bush administration, I have been forced to reconsider my willingness to pay my federal taxes.

I am a member of a Christian church in Eugene, and I accept the power of love, compassion and nonviolence as it is spoken to us by all traditions of faith. These ideals are not only moral, they are a functional necessity for coexistence on a planet that is increasingly interdependent.

It simply takes some humility, patience and creativity to implement such values, and we can do that if we would but try.

I perceive the federal government of the United States to be operating outside the laws of humanity and common morality, having violated many treaties and international laws.

Since the Vietnam War, the U.S. has intervened militarily in more than 31 foreign countries. The reality is that our government uses the overpowering threat of military violence to impose the will of the rich upon the weak and poor nations of the world.

President Bush is only the current player in a long list of puppets.

The savage militarism of the United States has contributed to permanent conditions of poverty in this nation and around the world. These conditions deny the dignity, freedom and equality of all people.

Our government scorns the concept of human equality. Our founding fathers used the words "all men are created equal" to demand respect and independence from the British Empire. Now, the United States has become the despotic empire, falsely claiming that we know what is best for other nations and using incredible destructive power to prove that we are right.

Therefore, I refuse to be complicit with this government in the form of personal income tax. The idea that my money is being used to buy more weapons of war is morally repulsive.

I intend to divert my tax to an escrow account, to be used for life-affirming purposes, until Congress passes the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. This bill would enable people such as myself, who conscientiously object to their income taxes being used for death and destruction, to legally divert their tax into a nonmilitary fund.

Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio was a co-sponsor of the bill in the last session of Congress. DeFazio's constituents need to contact him to ask him to make passage of the Peace Tax Fund a priority this session of Congress.

Until the fund bill is passed, I would release all withheld taxes to the federal government if the following conditions are met:

Unconditional withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq, combined with an open-bid, international rebuilding of the infrastructure, agriculture and industry of Iraq and Afghanistan that is funded by the United States.

Reduction of the U.S. military budget by 25 percent, with the resulting funds devoted to a worldwide campaign to end hunger, disease, illiteracy and water shortages; to stabilize population, and to care for refugees.

A stand-down of all nuclear weapons that are on alert status, and a renunciation of the policy of pre-emptive war.

Establishment of a fully funded, cabinet-level Department of Peace, the purpose of which is to end all forms of violence, from domestic to international. The Department of Peace would provide the president with an array of creative, peace-building options to de-escalate conflict before violence begins.

Legislation creating the Department of Peace is sponsored by Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and is supported by DeFazio.

David Hazen of Eugene is writing on behalf of Taxes for Peace Not War.
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Title Annotation:Commentary
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 15, 2005
Words:592
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