Freedom of Conscience v. Required Taxation: Exploring the Conflict Transformation Agency of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act
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Refusing to participate in war does not only mean refusing to serve in the military. For many conscientious objectors, it means refusing to pay taxes that directly support the military industrial complex. Conscientious tax objectors risk many punishments by withholding tax money that supports war. Politico-social conflicts exist between a citizen's legal obligation to pay taxes and the personal obligation to her/his moral beliefs. My research suggests that the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (RFPTFA) may be one transformative agent for this conflict. Through examination of relevant case law, statutes, conflict transformation literature, and interviews with conscientious tax objectors, my investigation concludes that members of the conscientious tax objector movement disagree on the merits of RFPTFA. My research suggests that until these various intermovement factions enter into consensus-building dialogue, conscientious tax objection will remain a mere symbolic method of pacifism rather than a powerful tool in the art of peacebuilding.