Witness: Peace Tax Escrow Account; War Tax Resistance Letters
Peace Tax Witness Escrow Account
The Farmington-Scipio Regional meeting, of which Fredonia Meeting is a member, has established a Peace Tax Witness Escrow Account. We can now accept for deposit into the account tax money that is being withheld from the government in witness against paying for war.
Tom Joyce, Perry City MM and member of Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting-Conscience & War Committee (FSRM-CAWC), and himself a war tax resister, has volunteered to serve as the contact person for the account. Anyone interested in withholding any portion of their taxes in protest against paying for war should contact him for information about the process and a copy of the agreement that must be signed before we can accept a deposit into the Escrow account.
Tom can be reached at: Tom Joyce 598 Hayts Road Ithaca, NY 14850 (P) 607-277-7426
The Committee is in the process of developing a flyer which we will distribute as soon as formatting is completed. Although the Escrow account is to serve Friends in the Region, it is also hoped that Meetings will announce its availability to others in their communities who are morally opposed to paying for war.
Tax Protest Letters
Friends, below is our growing collection of sample letters for protesting the payment of taxes for war in violation of religious freedom. If you have a sample letter you'd like to share here, please let us know.
Sent by a Buffalo Monthly meeting member:
April 16, 20xx
Dear Fellow Citizens,
We are paying these taxes under protest. We are Quakers and peace people and, while the Bill of Rights grants us religious freedom, it is interpreted in an increasingly limited manner by the Federal government. Although you are not now drafting young men and women, you are drafting our tax dollars. This is a gross violation of our religious freedom, an undermining of what the founding Fathers intended in the Bill of Rights.
Prior to 1776, New York State specifically exempted Quakers from the levies for war purposes. Though not specifically retained in the US Constitution, it was widely expected that the Bill of Rights would continue this recognition of religious conscience.
Instead you now write that our insistence upon conscience objection to war is “frivolous.” Nonsense! It is in the highest American traditions. Your claim of frivolity, although supported by court cases, is a scurrilous legalism.
We are against the current “wars” (which are not real wars at all, and point to nothing that could be called “victory”), the regime-change campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and the proxy wars in Lebanon and Gaza, as we are against all wars. We object to being forced to participate in such unproductive military ventures. That is a kind of totalitarian coercion. We would wish to be law-abiding citizens, but you do not provide a mechanism for us as good citizens to pay our taxes and have them earmarked for those programs that we peace-loving Quakers can and should support, such as Medicaid, Headstart, Peace Corps, United States Institute for Peace, foster care services, boosting job opportunities in Latin America, and HIV care in Africa. We would happily pay for any part of the Federal budget that is not directly for the military, nor for payment of interest on the debt caused by military expenditures, nor for military aid abroad.
We are frustrated to have our tax dollars used to promote the killing and destruction we abhor.
The Bible and other scriptures tell us that our safety comes not from chariots, humvees, and armaments, but from the word of God; and what is the word of God? The word of God tells us to care for the widows and orphans, the poor, sick, and needy.
There was a time in the history of New York State when Quakers were given an exemption from paying to support the military, when the State recognized that Quakers could not in good conscience pay for killing and destruction. That exemption was considered to be part and parcel of our Religious Freedom and should be revived.
There is proposed Federal legislation that would create a Peace Tax Fund. We urge that it be passed in order to provide a mechanism for all people of conscience to avoid military conscription for their tax dollars.
May the Eternal Light shine upon your day, and bless America with peace.
Grass Valley member Tristan Anderson Injured At Israel/Palestine Separation Wall
Friend Injured At Israel/Palestine Separation Wall
Fredonia Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Called Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business May 24, 2009
We gathered at the rise of Meeting for Worship for a called Meeting for Business to consider a request from the parents of Tristan Anderson, a young man who was shot by a high-velocity tear gas canister during a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. The parents are members of the Grass Valley Meeting in California.
We are asked to consider writing a letter of request to the US Ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, asking Israel to accept full responsibility for the shooting of Tristan Anderson. We are also asked to consider reaching out with this request to other meetings.
Minute #1 on Tristan Anderson. Tristan Anderson, a United States citizen, was shot in the head with a new type of high-velocity tear gas canister, by the Israeli Defense Forces, on March 13, 2009, while non-violently demonstrating in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. Tristan has undergone, to date, three brain surgeries, a tracheostomy and is awaiting further brain surgery. Tristan was raised in a Friends community – Grass Valley Friends Meeting - and has been involved in many social-justice projects during his life.
In unity with Friends’ testimony on non-violence, Fredonia Friends Meeting is asking the government of Israel to publicly take full responsibility, including paying for Tristan Anderson’s medical costs, having an independent investigation and an apology for his shooting by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Members of Fredonia Friends Meeting have visited with Tristan Anderson’s parents- Mike and Nancy Anderson - who have been part of Grass Valley Friends Meeting in Nevada City, California for nearly thirty years. The visit took place at the end of April, at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, where Tristan was still in the ICU and in isolation due to a life-threatening systemic infection.
Friends are grieved by the suffering and offer our prayers in hope for the future.
Minute #2 Action on Behalf of Tristan Anderson:
Fredonia Friends Meeting will send a letter to the US Ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging them to pressure the Israeli government to publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of Tristan Anderson. Friends approved the minute of action on behalf of Tristan Anderson.
Fredonia Friends meeting encourages the meetings within Farmington Scipio region and within NYYM to be under the weight of this concern and consider joining us in sending a letter of support on behalf of Tristan Anderson to the US Ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Friends approved the minute.
Letter from Fredonia Friends Meeting to Ambassador James Cunningham:
FREDONIA MONTHLY MEETING of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Box 525, Fredonia, New York 14063
May 25, 2009
Ambassador US Embassy
71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv, Israel 63903
Dear Ambassador Cunningham,
Fredonia Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is grieved by the injuries suffered by those whose conscience compels them to offer their non-violent protest against injustice and the suffering of others, at the Israeli-constructed separation wall between Palestine and Israel.
In particular, we are referring to Tristan Anderson, who was shot in the head by a new type of high velocity tear gas canister fired by the Israel Defense Forces in a manner contrary to the appropriate method of discharge on March 13, 2009. Members of Fredonia Friends Meeting visited with Tristan Anderson’s parents- Mike and Nancy Anderson - who have been part of Grass Valley Friends Meeting in Nevada City, California for nearly thirty years. The visit took place at the end of April, at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, where Tristan was still in the ICU and in isolation from a life-threatening systemic infection.
Friends understand that every individual must attend to the call of conscience, particularly where such attention could work to prevent further injustice and suffering. We find that Tristan Anderson’s non-violent presence and support on behalf of the land and residents of Ni’lin in Palestine was in unity with that call of conscience and with Friends’ testimony on non-violence.
Fredonia Friends Meeting urges you to pressure the Israeli government to publically take full responsibility for the shooting of Tristan Anderson.
In care for one another,
Fredonia Friends Meeting
Deborah First, Clerk