My Second Job: Recognition of the Human Right Not to Pay for War

Even before my retirement I had a second job, and it is not always part-time: working for recognition of conscientious objection to military taxation (COMT).

My job began, formerly as clerk and currently as treasurer, with the Purchase Quarter Peace Tax Escrow Account. It is to support the witness of those who in good conscience cannot pay for war. Their tax money is placed in escrow until such time as our government addresses their quandary.

The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act would provide that tax payments "be used for nonmilitary purposes." I am an elected member of the Board of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, which lobbies for the passing of this act, having previously served as New York Yearly Meeting’s representative. I enjoy working with the members from a variety of religions. The semiannual meetings always remind me how much people grounded in faith have in common.

My work educating people about COMT with the Peace Tax Foundation introduced me to Conscience and Peace Tax International (CPTI).

I maintain the website for CPTI, a resource widely and frequently used around the world. For example, the 135-page report by Derek Brett on Military Recruitment and Conscientious Objection has been downloaded 8,000 times since its publication last year. Keeping the site current is my service to those who stumble upon it and to the hundreds of people who visit several times a month. I am proud the website is written in up-to-date, valid code and designed to be accessible to people with visual challenges. This labor of love is an important part of my personal witness.

I represent CPTI at the United Nations in New York. I still feel good and full of awe as I walk the UN corridors. There is a better way, and many people from around the world are working for it. The common response to my advocacy of COMT can be summarized as, "Why, of course!"

I am grateful to Rosa Packard, a longtime war tax resister in New York Yearly Meeting, as she opened the way for this work.