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Re: Peace Tax Fund - Lobby Day Report 2006  Ray Gingerich
 May 19, 2006 14:35 PDT 


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Dear Steve,

I am a military tax resister, and have been for 30 years. Marian Franz
is my friend (and we're both Mennonites).   And without wanting to
diminish your valiant lobbying efforts, please allow me to raise a few
questions which no one on the Peace Tax Fund board or active staff has
yet answered.

1) I wonder how many conscientious Christians who subconsciously wish
they didn't need to pay war taxes, are of the mind that they can't
resist payment of these military taxes until a bill is passed to make
it legal?

2) I wonder if Congress ever passed a bill of this nature (including
the special provisions granted conscientious objectors in WW II), that
was not in the self-interests of Congress itself?

3) I wonder whether the most effective way to get Congress to pass a
bill would be, not to lobby Congress, but to generate a huge movement
of conscientious objectors, i.e., military tax resisters---people who
resist the payment of military taxes because they are persuaded that it
is sinful to pay military taxes and that the faithful way to follow
Jesus is to resist payment?

4) I wonder if Jesus ever, ever, had a vision of faithfulness and
attempted to implement the vision by lobbying Rome (the Imperial
Power) to get permission to do so?

5) I wonder why in all these many years Marian Franz and the people
behind the Peace Tax Fund have insisted on doing things so "a. . .
-backward"---so contrary to both efficiency and faithfulness---common
sense and the way of Jesus?

Can any Christian (or anyone else) tell me, please, why we work so
hard to change the minds of our Congresspeople and Senators, and invest
so little of our resources, both human and material, to convert the
church to the ways of peace?

Blessings,

Ray

Ray Gingerich
Professor Emeritus of
Theology and Ethics
Eastern Mennonite University
Harrisonburg, VA 22802

Tel. 540 432-4465


n May 19, 2006, at 11:28 AM, Steve Olshewsky wrote:

  
The Lobby Day bad news is the attendance number and the good news is
the quality of that attender.
 
In addition to those that were ignorant or uninterested in the PTF,
and those openly hostile to PTF lobbying activities, there were three
Quakers from the Philly area (myself and two staff workers of the
PYM subcommittee on war tax) as well as the National Campaign Office's
staff (including the incoming Executive Director) and Penny from
Cleveland.
 
If an organized Lobby Day could only attract one person to come to DC
for an office visit (as was the case this year), Penny would be my
choice of that one person.
 
I spend two weeks every year visiting the offices of every member of
Congress, and that overlaps with Lobby Day.
 
I sent the following report to the Natioinal Campaign Office to use
however they might find helpful. 
 
=======
 
The groundwork done by Congressional District Contacts (CDC) made this
year’s Lobby Day a success.  Penny (**LAST NAME UNKNOWN**)  followed
up on a recent local district office visit in the DC office of
Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH).  Alan Gamble and his parents followed up
on a series of local discussions visiting with Dave Camp (R-MI) in his
DC office.  I visited with tax staff for the sixth year in the DC
offices of Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Mark Foley (R-FL).
 
These examples are four members of the House Ways and Means
Committee.  The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (RFPTF) needs to
get a majority of votes in this committee to be considered by the full
Congress.     
 
Bill Thomas (R-CA) is finishing his last session as chair of the
committee.  While never scheduling a vote or hearing on the RFPTF, his
office had indicated that more co-sponsors in Congress would increase
the chances of getting it out of committee.  Any member of Congress
can co-sponsor to help the RFPTF.  Republicans and members of the
committee are especially influential at this time, however any
co-sponsorship is a big help.
 
Marian Franz has told us repeatedly that in addition to winning over
co-sponsors, it is important to persuade our Representatives not to
oppose it.  These four members might become silent supporters who will
vote favourably when the time comes or at least not vote or speak
against it even if they are not moved further to eventually
co-sponsor.  So these visits, and the advance groundwork done, are
critical.  As Marian says: “no witness for conscience is ever lost.” 
 
Prior to Lobby Day, Penny organized a visit with the staff person
handling tax issues in the local district office of Cleveland.  Her
visit with nine supporters of the RFPTF caused an internal report to
be written and sent to the DC office.  Thus, her appointment with a
legislative assistant in the DC office on Lobby Day motivated the tax
and trade counsel, Jorge Castro, to take the meeting personally.
 
I have met with Jorge in past years, so he is familiar with the
issues, but did not promote co-sponsorship.  Faced with a constituent
who had recently demonstrated support among the voting base, Jorge
came to regard Penny’s presentation of the RFPTF as an item of
potential interest to Tubbs-Jones.
 
Acting as a CDC in prior years, Alan had written letters to Dave Camp
and built a relationship with his Representative through consistent
and respectful interactions.  His parents had also established
relationships with the Representative over the years. 
 
Lobby Day found Camp prepared to listen to Dave and his parents
open-mindedly.  So much so that he went from three objections to the
RFPTF to only one, and that was one he was willing to think about.  He
agreed to look over the bill again, with the fresh eyes provided by
these Lobby Day and previous efforts.
 
The tax staff working with Ramstad and Foley have become cooperative
through working together with us over the years.  One raised the issue
of any opinion the Treasury Department might have about the law and
the other agreed to “shoot” the bill over to a contact in Treasury and
get a reading of that opinion.
 
Talking to tax people in the various House offices, there was broad
agreement that more co-sponsors were the key to getting the RFPTF out
of committee.  Another nearly universal message was that letters from
constituents were essential to gaining support.  In some cases, I was
told that even one letter would justify support.
 
Lobby Day was obviously a success.  Coming to DC sends a powerful
message to a Representative.  Visiting a local district office sends a
strong message as well.  Even writing a letter is a message that helps
build support for the RFPTF.
 
Now that the office of every Member of the House of Representatives
has been recently visited to promote the RFPTF, letters from
constituents are essential.  Many people spoken with advise that they
need at least one letter from the folks back home to base their
support upon.  In short, even if they like what they hear in an office
visit, they need to have a tangible verification of citizen interest
in the RFPTF. 
 
Now, while your Congressional Representative is thinking about it,
your letter will help them with their thinking.
    
   

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Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/enriched;
charset=WINDOWS-1252

Dear Steve,


I am a military tax resister, and have been for 30 years. Marian
Franz is my friend (and we're both Mennonites).   And without wanting
to diminish your valiant lobbying efforts, please allow me to raise a
few questions which no one on the Peace Tax Fund board or active staff=20=

has yet answered.


1) I wonder how many conscientious Christians who subconsciously wish
they didn't need to pay war taxes, are of the mind that they can't
resist payment of these military taxes until a bill is passed to make
it legal?


2) I wonder if Congress ever passed a bill of this nature (including
the special provisions granted conscientious objectors in WW II), that
was not in the self-interests of Congress itself?


3) I wonder whether the most effective way to get Congress to pass a
bill would be, not to lobby Congress, but to generate a huge movement
of conscientious objectors, i.e., military tax resisters---people who
resist the payment of military taxes because they are persuaded that
it is sinful to pay military taxes and that the faithful way to follow
Jesus is to resist payment?


4) I wonder if Jesus ever, ever, had a vision of faithfulness and
attempted to implement the vision by lobbying Rome (the Imperial
Power) to get permission to do so?


5) I wonder why in all these many years Marian Franz and the people
behind the Peace Tax Fund have insisted on doing things so "a. . .
-backward"---so contrary to both efficiency and faithfulness---common
sense and the way of Jesus?


Can any Christian (or anyone else) tell me, please, why we work so
hard to change the minds of our Congresspeople and Senators, and
invest so little of our resources, both human and material, to
convert the church to the ways of peace?


Blessings,


Ray


<fontfamily><param>Helvetica</param>Ray Gingerich

Professor Emeritus of=20

Theology and Ethics

Eastern Mennonite University

Harrisonburg, VA 22802


Tel. 540 432-4465</fontfamily>



n May 19, 2006, at 11:28 AM, Steve Olshewsky wrote:


<excerpt>=A0

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>The Lobby Day bad news is
the attendance number and the good news is the quality of that
attender.</fontfamily>

=A0

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>In addition to those that
were ignorant or uninterested in the PTF, and those openly hostile to
PTF lobbying activities, there were three Quakers from the Philly area
(myself and two staff workers=A0of the PYM=A0subcommittee on war tax) as
well as the National Campaign Office's staff (including the incoming
Executive Director) and Penny from Cleveland.</fontfamily>

=A0

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>If=A0an organized Lobby Day
could only attract one person to come to DC for an office visit (as
was the case this year), Penny would be my choice of that one =
person.</fontfamily>

=A0

I=A0spend two weeks every year visiting the offices of every member of
Congress,=A0and that overlaps with Lobby Day.

=A0

I sent the following report to the Natioinal Campaign Office to use
however they might find helpful.=A0

=A0

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D</fontfamil=
y>

=A0

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>The groundwork done by
Congressional District Contacts (CDC) made this year=92s Lobby Day a
success.=A0 Penny (**LAST NAME UNKNOWN**)=A0 followed up on a recent =
local
district office visit in the DC office of Stephanie Tubbs-Jones
(D-OH).=A0 Alan Gamble and his parents followed up on a series of local
discussions visiting with Dave Camp (R-MI) in his DC office.=A0 I
visited with tax staff for the sixth year in the DC offices of Jim
Ramstad (R-MN) and Mark Foley (R-FL).</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>These examples are four
members of the House Ways and Means Committee.=A0 The Religious Freedom
Peace Tax Fund Act (RFPTF) needs to get a majority of votes in this
committee to be considered by the full Congress.=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0</fontfamil=
y>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Bill Thomas (R-CA) is
finishing his last session as chair of the committee.=A0 While never
scheduling a vote or hearing on the RFPTF, his office had indicated
that more co-sponsors in Congress would increase the chances of
getting it out of committee.=A0 Any member of Congress can co-sponsor to
help the RFPTF.=A0 Republicans and members of the committee are
especially influential at this time, however any co-sponsorship is a
big help.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Marian Franz has told us
repeatedly that in addition to winning over co-sponsors, it is
important to persuade our Representatives not to oppose it.=A0 These
four members might become silent supporters who will vote favourably
when the time comes or at least not vote or speak against it even if
they are not moved further to eventually co-sponsor.=A0 So these visits,
and the advance groundwork done, are critical.=A0 As Marian says: =93no
witness for conscience is ever lost.=94=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Prior to Lobby Day, Penny
organized a visit with the staff person handling tax issues in the
local district office of Cleveland.=A0 Her visit with nine supporters of
the RFPTF caused an internal report to be written and sent to the DC
office.=A0 Thus, her appointment with a legislative assistant in the DC
office on Lobby Day motivated the tax and trade counsel, Jorge Castro,
to take the meeting personally.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>I have met with Jorge in
past years, so he is familiar with the issues, but did not promote
co-sponsorship.=A0 Faced with a constituent who had recently
demonstrated support among the voting base, Jorge came to regard
Penny=92s presentation of the RFPTF as an item of potential interest to
Tubbs-Jones.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Acting as a CDC in prior
years, Alan had written letters to Dave Camp and built a relationship
with his Representative through consistent and respectful
interactions.=A0 His parents had also established relationships with the
Representative over the years.=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Lobby Day found Camp
prepared to listen to Dave and his parents open-mindedly.=A0 So much so
that he went from three objections to the RFPTF to only one, and that
was one he was willing to think about.=A0 He agreed to look over the
bill again, with the fresh eyes provided by these Lobby Day and
previous efforts.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>The tax staff working with
Ramstad and Foley have become cooperative through working together
with us over the years.=A0 One raised the issue of any opinion the
Treasury Department might have about the law and the other agreed to
=93shoot=94 the bill over to a contact in Treasury and get a reading of
that opinion.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Talking to tax people in the
various House offices, there was broad agreement that more co-sponsors
were the key to getting the RFPTF out of committee.=A0 Another nearly
universal message was that letters from constituents were essential to
gaining support.=A0 In some cases, I was told that even one letter would
justify support.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Lobby Day was obviously a
success.=A0 Coming to DC sends a powerful message to a Representative.=A0
Visiting a local district office sends a strong message as well.=A0 Even
writing a letter is a message that helps build support for the =
RFPTF.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Now that the office of every
Member of the House of Representatives has been recently visited to
promote the RFPTF, letters from constituents are essential.=A0 Many
people spoken with advise that they need at least one letter from the
folks back home to base their support upon.=A0 In short, even if they
like what they hear in an office visit, they need to have a tangible
verification of citizen interest in the RFPTF.=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>Now, while your
Congressional Representative is thinking about it, your letter will
help them with their thinking.</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0=A0=A0=A0</fontfamily>

<fontfamily><param>Times New Roman</param>=A0=A0=A0</fontfamily>


Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. <color><param>0000,0000,EEEE</param>Make
PC-to-Phone Calls</color> to the US (and 30+ countries) for 2=A2/min or
less.</excerpt>=

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