War Tax Resistance! The Bucks Stop Here!
Our travels took us through the Shenandoah Valley, a land of rolling mountainous terrain that once absorbed the violence of Civil War battles and skirmishes. Our destination was Harrisonburg, Virginia, for the gathering of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). People from around the country, who refuse to pay for war, rendezvouzed at the Community Mennonite Church to further our work of nonviolent resistance against the war economy and the conscription of our taxes to support war profiteers.
NWTRCC gatherings always get to a core value at the heart of resistance to war: If you don’t believe in war, don’t pay for it. Twice yearly the Coordinating Committee comes together to strategize with peace and justice activists and to share skills and experiences of war tax resistance.
Ray Gingerich, professor emeritus of theology and ethics at Eastern Mennonite University, set the challenge for members of his congregation with the statement, “It’s time to be Christians and Pacifist Christians; to not resist war taxes is categorically contradictory!” Both secular and spiritually minded exchange guided the committee through it’s business and strategic planning sessions. Workshops, a movie review, group and panel discussions punctuated by shared stories of long time tax resistance, commanded 0ur interest. Scattered throughout the weekend was plenty of opportunity for fun away from the conference. Mixing with our gracious and generous hosts throughout the community widened and deepend our conversations.
For a more detailed report on the event, read David Gross’ account on his website.
We shared an impressive Saturday dinner at the Grand Opening of Our Community Place, a volunteer supported community kitchen and neighborhood center with the vision: To build around our free noon meal, an atmosphere of love, safety, education, spiritual awareness, healing, and fun.
It was a fine way to spend the first weekend of May among so many who “oppose militarism and war and refuse to complicitly participate in the tax system which supports such violence.”
With a renewed commitment to end war by resistance to paying for it through our taxes, we headed out for Greensboro, North Carolina to meet with former War Resisters League Southeast director Steve Sumerford. Look for our next few posts as we travel South towards Savannah, Ga.