Top 10 reasons Mennonites no longer resist paying war taxesBy Steve Ratzlaff
10. It would make me look bad with my non-Mennonite friends.
In recent years it seems that Mennonites have become more concerned about what people think of us. We are less prone to be different today, especially with folks we know who are not Mennonite. We want to fit in and go to great pains to do so.
9. As citizens of this country we need to support our government with our taxes.
There was a time when Mennonites thought of themselves as sojourners in this land with God as the ultimate authority in their lives. However, as we have become more settled and more comfortable we have accepted the idea that we should support our government, right or wrong. Including the payment of taxes for war.
8. Jesus would never ask me to break the law by refusing to pay for war.
The Bible is full of examples of followers of Jesus who ended up in jail or even killed. It takes considerable mental gymnastics to somehow think that we should be able to be faithful and not have to stand up against the evils of society. If we are opposed to war as a matter of faith and conscience, we must be willing to break the law in order to be faithful. Very few of us even support the passage of Peace Tax Fund legislation, which would make it legal for us to use our tax dollars for peaceful purposes only.
7. Conscientious objection to war doesn’t carry over to paying for war.
For centuries Mennonites have conscientiously opposed war and refused to serve in the armed forces. Finally, in 1940, the U.S. government allowed us to perform alternative service instead. Today there is no longer a draft. However, the equivalent of the draft today is paying taxes for war. True conscientious objectors in the 21st century must refuse to pay for war as well.
6. What would my children think? What kind of example is that for them?
War tax resisters have a unique opportunity to talk with their children about what it means to truly follow Jesus. It is important for young Christians to know that there some issues which are significant enough that we are willing to resist them even if it will cause us hardship. What better example could we give our children?
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