| Letters

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 37008
Hartford, CT 06176-0008

To Whom It May Concern at the IRS,

As a matter of deep personal and religious conscience, I join tens of thousands of other U.S. Americans this tax season in resisting federal income tax spent on U.S. military and defense. My convictions call that I refuse, in some way, albeit small, to complicitly fund our excessive military spending and actions. Thus, for these reasons, articulated more fully below, I am withholding $4.70, symbolizing the more than 47% of federal tax budget dedicated to past and current military expenses in fiscal year 2013.

My convictions are rooted in an ethnic and religious heritage of Anabaptist-Mennonites, who fled Alsace, Germany/France in the 1800’s because of religious persecution. Refusing the military draft and allegiance with the nation by which it was mandated, and compelled by Christ’s way of peace and nonviolence, my ancestors immigrated to the U.S. in search of religious and personal freedom.

Raised in this tradition, I have grown in my convictions to resist war and violence of all kinds. I knew that I could never fight in war if called, and this year I take my conviction a step further by resisting my payment of our wars through income tax. I have always believed that violence is not solved by violence, whether in international relations, in our hometowns, or in our personal relationships. In my daily life, as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence, I am intimately in touch with the pervasive and cyclical nature of our violence-ridden society. I work tirelessly that this may cease.

Yet, I do believe that no effort in the way of peace and love goes in vain. I believe in a world, and am active in creating a world, where we prioritize the health, wellness, rights and safety of all beings. In fiscal year 2013, I have given over 10% of my income – more dollars than I’m required to pay in federal income tax – to the work of peace with justice, including safe space for the marginalized, homes and gardens for those living with developmental disabilities and mental illness, and international relief for people in need of shelter, food, education, and empowerment.

Finally, I look forward to the day that the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (introduced in Congress nearly annually since 1972, and by Rep. John Lewis [GA-5] in 2011) is passed into law, allowing legal alternatives for conscientious objectors.

With hope for peace and a turning of the tide,