It was gratifying to read a summary of the “statement on the value and morality of the 2022 U.S. defense budget” by Mennonite Church USA staff in collaboration with the Mennonites Against Militarism reference council (“Military’s priority questioned,” Jan. 21). The statement asks, “Are there 100 new war tax resisters among us?”
Is paying for war a form of participation in war? When the U.S. government is annually levying the constituency of MC USA more in taxes to support war and militarism than what we are contributing to our church budgets, we need creativity and courage to step outside our usual paths. Might one of our new paths be to redirect our tax dollars that underwrite war-making to the MC USA Peace Tax Fund?
If our conscience doesn’t compel us to redirect up to the portion of our federal income-tax levy that pays for war and militarism — currently widely regarded as 48% — let’s consider a tax-deductible contribution to the MC USA Peace Tax Fund. The fund supports educational programs that promote peace, such as a Bible study curriculum on nonviolence. It allocates grants to Mennonite youth so they can participate in activities like the March 6-11 Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Young Adult Peacebuilders Training.
Consider engaging your congregation in this witness. Akron Mennonite Church has a budget line for this fund.
Channeling conscripted income toward meeting human needs gives a testimony to the world regarding Jesus’ way of peace.
Harold A. Penner, Akron, Pa.