did quakers pay taxes

Also, here’s what Isaac Zane and Anthony Benezet had to say about Quakers taking pledges of allegiance or paying fines for refusing. of Friends (Quakers). This research has also been an interesting look into the emergence of this nonsectarian American peace movement. “The Haydocks’ Testimony” is a fictionalized account of Quaker conscientious objection (and refusal to pay militia exemption taxes) in the Confederacy during the American Civil War. I speak to the “Abundance League” on the pleasures of tax resistance and simple living. Here are some examples. Selections from Nathan F. Spencer’s “An Account of the Sufferings of Friends of North Carolina Yearly Meeting in Support of Their Testimony Against War from 1861 to 1865” concerning what happened to Friends who refused to pay the militia exemption fees. London Yearly Meeting, in order to bring these dissenters back in line, sent emissaries to the colonies to “explain and enforce our known principles and practice respecting the payment of taxes for the support of civil government.” But the radical war tax resistance position, and the sincerity of those who held it, proved influential. Here are some examples. ought to pay “national taxes levied in large degree for the support of war, The successful tax resistance campaign of the Great Confederated Anti-Dray and Land Tax League of South Australia in 1850–51. Shortly after the British surrender at Yorktown, David Cooper wrote: “How many have refused to pay their taxes from the very spirit of parity, instead of the meek, forgiving spirit which only can support a testimony against all violence. nature of the Redeemer’s kingdom and were professing to uphold it, and who yet American peace movement. Also: Foes of Hugo Chavez tear up their tax forms and go on strike in Venezuela in 2003. (Orthodox) editorial agreed (editorials in the Friends research to determine how much of that amount represented the “bounty tax.” William Penn, along with many other individuals created a culture and a society that encourages peace and God through each person. Many Quakers apparently did not do this research, and taking cover under the Tax collectors were notorious plunderers. Historians disagree about the relationships between early Quaker husbands and wives. They did make some headway. his meeting were paying the tax and discouraging those who felt they could not, Both times the practice then dwindled, to be remembered, if at all, as a curious, perhaps admirable practice of a more pious generation. The peacefulness, charity, and self-reliance of Quakers After the war, there was a “bounty tax” which was meant to fund the bonuses Bartering is on the rise. battle, than with those whose eyes had been enlightened to see the peaceable By the end of the century, Quaker war tax resistance was nearly extinct. And: Nereus Mendenhall sets the record straight about Quaker war tax resistance in the Confederate states. At the upcoming national gathering of G) And this may also help us to anticipate whether, how, and in what form this tradition may return again. protected theo-pacifist refusal to pay taxes in support of the military or of specific military endeavors.2 In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (Hobby Lobby),3 some Quakers have argued that such tax resistance now has a legal basis.4 However, both the majority and t. In England such resistance was still exceptional, but in America to be a Quaker almost necessitated being a war tax resister. South in cruelty when a draft law was enacted that would enable draftees to get Am I “obsessing” about Quaker tax resistance from centuries past? I’m working on a summary of the history of war tax resistance in the Society of Friends. the boundaries of legal conscientious objection to military service. Also: British suffragists look back at the history of tax resistance in England. In 1849, Pennsylvania changed its law so that a This was a clear war tax of the sort that Quakers normally could not pay, but, for instance in Ohio, this tax was collected at the same time as other state and local taxes. In a pamphlet titled “Views of the Society of Friends in Relation to Civil Government” (1840), the New England Yearly Meeting set down its idea of the sort of relationship a Christian ought to have with Cæsar, particularly regarding war and war taxes. For example, Henry David Thoreau and William Lloyd Garrison drew inspiration from the American Revolution and the stubborn pacifism of the Quakers. A. to provide a refuge for Quakers B. to create new trading markets C. to provide a refuge for English Catholics D. to earn money for the Dutch West India Company. is noticing more tax evasion and fraud this year, “Bushel Bob” shuts down his produce market to avoid paying war taxes, more Tax Day action reports, 10 reasons not to pay U.S. taxes, and the curious case of the Oath Keepers. Quaker sympathies were almost universally with the Union, whose cause became increasingly tied to the abolition of slavery. cause célèbre amongst the various peace societies in the We are at maximum capacity on our planet—in fact, beyond it—and in order to have wealth you have to be consuming and hoarding resources at a level that is harmful to human beings and all of creation, which is a terrible injustice. Also: “An act to compel the Quakers to perform military service, or to pay money in lieu thereof, might properly be entitled, ‘An act for the extinction of the Religious Society of Friends,’ ” wrote the Friends’ Review in 1869. Refusal to pay tax as a form of protest goes back at least to 1709, when Pennsylvania Quakers refused a request for £4000 for a military expedition against the French in Canada, saying "it was contrary to their religious principles to hire men to kill one another". Were nothing to be gained but the incarceration of peaceable against war in all respects, even keeping in subjection a warlike spirit in This cross-pollination between the Quaker and non-Quaker peace movements would Friends might be “dealt with as disorderly walkers” or disowned by their meetings for such evasions. Fox’s followers refused to pay taxes to the Church of England, take legal oaths in court, or follow the custom of removing their hats in acknowledgement to those in power—a custom that conflicted with their beliefs in equality. What to do? necessity of taking something, you may, by inquiry and calculation, find what The assembly was unmoved. Clearness committees from coast to coast were busy helping Quakers decide not so much whether, but how to resist war taxes, and meetings for sufferings were helping them deal with the consequences. assessment. [19] Nathaniel felt that if the citizenry in general was going to be burdened with involuntary British Quakers debated whether this income tax increase was a “war tax” that they should refuse to voluntarily pay. Boosting the Mennonite Church’s war tax alternative fund. But it’s not the only, or even necessarily the most important, act we perhaps ought to be doing. for the money would make the Quakers give in. And: a dispatch from the Hut Tax War of 1898. I find more about Zerah C. Whipple in the peace movement literature of the last half of the nineteenth century. The North Carolina the sort that Quakers normally could not pay, but, for instance in Ohio, this Tax resistance against the war on the home front. The (Orthodox) New York Yearly Also: William Gladstone said that “when the Legislature made a demand on its subjects for a part of their property, whatever might be the purpose to which it was applied, the demand of the Legislature absolved the conscience of its subjects.” Think that’s true? Quakers to casually overlook it and neglect their testimony. Also: an update on Cindy Sheehan’s tax resistance. Which statement characterizes sixteenth-century English Puritanism? The criminal cases against several more accused Rebeccaites come to a conclusion, while Rebecca’s example stands as the “bad cop” that lets peaceful, law-abiding Welsh farmers play “good cop” and get their grievance heard. Religious employers are not taxable entities. Most Quakers solved this problem by refusing to distinguish between war taxes and other taxes. Also: 150 years ago today the Philadelphia Inquirer tries to make the case that there was unanimous patriotic Civil War fervor in the North — even among the nominally pacifist Quakers. Here’s his answer. Some, like A.J. One insisted “that the free exercise of the Quaker religion entails the avoidance of any participation in war or financial contribution to that part of the national budget used by the military.”, I’m very disappointed and I might be too negative. Quaker meetings would occasionally distill their discussions over war taxes and the payment of militia exemption fines into a consensus statement, which they would publish as a record of the current understanding of the Meeting. all our members in refusing to pay these fines or allowing others to do it, In 1863, President Lincoln started the first federal military draft, and the pages of the “Friends’ Intelligencer” filled with debate over whether Quakers could pay the $300 commutation money to escape from bearing arms. was brought forward in their defense as to why they should not also be burdened In 1984 Kingdon Swayne complained that during a representative meeting in Philadelphia, “those who obey the [tax] law were compared to the Quaker … Even being a war tax resister usually means that you’re above the poverty line: to resist taxes means having the money to not pay. there were some interesting debates in state legislatures when they were In 1874 he was imprisoned for refusing to pay a military tax. And: a British Quaker explains why they pay some war taxes. I do not know that any peace man omitted to write checks after the opening of the Spanish War because stamps were necessary to make them legal, and these stamps were expressly a war tax. Much of the documentation I have collected from the In Philadelphia, over three days in 1901, an “American Friends’ Peace Conference” was held at which speeches were given on antiwar activism, the incompatibility of war and Christianity, international arbitration, and related topics. There have been instances of people refusing to pay taxes for war in virtually every Some of the groups in this movement took up the cause of Zerah C. There also wouldn’t be much practical effect, truth be told, either on military spending or on peace tax payers’ complicity with it, but Boardman thinks there’s an upside: “It would be a different way of saying to the government that we don’t want to pay for war. “We drove all around northern California with our dog-and-pony show,” she says, “saying ‘we’ll come out and talk to your meeting if this issue has been a challenge for you.’ We promoted everything from something very symbolic like paying under protest, to full-fledged refusal. I don’t know anyone else who actually does it at our meeting. © 2020 Friends Publishing Corporation. our known principles and practice respecting the payment of taxes for the support of civil government.” But the radical war tax resistance position, and the sincerity of those who held it, proved influential. Employees of War Resisters’ International in London tell Inland Revenue why they’re not getting those war taxes. after the Great Forgetting period when Quaker war tax resistance almost Quakers refused to pay for war almost from the beginning. the spoiling of our goods and the imprisonment of our members for this Also: Some of the global tension concerning high food and fuel prices has taken the form of organized tax protests. They are exempt from income tax withholding and owe no federal income tax. You know about John Woolman’s tax resistance, but what about his brother Abner? relation to this very oppression, and no one through mistaken kindness being creation of government, the government should be able to ask for it back at any only because some others scruple paying it, whom they esteem.”, And some American Quakers resisted not from unwillingness to participate in war but from loyalist sympathy. It’s a good example of a typical knee-jerk opposition to the Quaker peace testimony and its tax-resistance ramifications. non-sectarian (though still largely Christian) peace movement began to flourish The effects of war and the war machine in terms of racism and economic violence, these things aren’t felt by white, middle-class Americans in general, including Quakers, and so the intensity of the conviction is not as central. It was then, much as it is today, a mix of pacifists, sentimentalists, advocates of stronger institutions of international law, feminists, anarchists, socialists, Christians, liberal reformers, and the occasional crackpot. in the militia, although such tax or fine may be applied to the most laudable “It’s legal for us do it the way we do it, so there’s no pushback from the law. Powerful people their tenth to a lay impropriator or tithe-farmer to it, because it would be legal there... In 1761, John Churchman noted that some war tax resistance to government! 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