Letter to Rep. McGovern

Urge Rep. McGovern to sponsor The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act

Rep. Jim McGovern and Rep. John Lewis sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives together.
Rep. Jim McGovern sits with Rep. John Lewis on the floor of the House of Representatives

The Honorable Jim McGovern
United States House of Representatives
370 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Rep. McGovern:

I urge you to support the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act by becoming the new sponsor of this important civil liberties legislation. Introduced for many years by Rep. John Lewis, the Peace Tax Fund Act protects the First Amendment rights of people of conscience who try to balance their deeply held moral and religious principles opposing war in all forms and paying for it with their income taxes. The Peace Tax Fund Act would allow people to live out their First Amendment rights as conscientious objectors and still maintain their personal integrity as they pay their income taxes.

Conscientious objection is recognized by our government. However, it is understood in narrow terms. For example, someone who is opposed to war based on deeply held moral beliefs can be excused from military service. However, this same person would have her/his income taxes conscripted to pay for military expenditures. Thus, the First Amendment rights of this person would still be infringed upon because of the narrow understanding of conscientious objection to war. Every year many people pay their taxes in full however, they feel morally conflicted because a portion of their income taxes is used for military purposes. This percentage of income taxes used for military expenses makes them a participant in war, they believe. They do not want any of their income taxes paying for militarism in any form. Their constitutional rights are compromised because their income taxes are conscripted for a purpose contrary to their moral or religious beliefs.

Last year you co-sponsored the The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, introduced by the late Rep. John Lewis. I am grateful for your past support of this legislation. Sadly, John Lewis has passed on but his important legacy working for social justice, peace, and nonviolence should be kept alive. Please help carry on John Lewis’ legacy promoting the rights of conscience by becoming the new sponsor of the Peace Tax Fund Act.

Thank you for your consideration,