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Quaker Faces Jail For Refusing to Support The Military

Quaker Faces Jail For Refusing to Support The Military

armored tanksA British Quaker has lost his bid to withhold that part of his income used to wage war. Colchester County Court ruled that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had a right to demand the money from Roy Prockter, a member of Clacton-on-Sea Meeting, who has withheld tax for the last three years. His argument is interesting and very logical. He points out that, in the eyes of the law, if he paid someone to commit murder he would be guilty of murder; if he paid someone to carry out an act of terrorism he would be a terrorist; it follows therefore that if he pays for military activity he is a combatant. But he does not wish to be a combatant and claims his right to conscientious objection. The judge did not agree and found against him, refusing him the right to appeal. He has now applied to a circuit judge to overrule the refusal of leave to appeal. If this fails he is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Many citizens, especially Christians, feel strongly that war is not the answer to the problems we face and that the money spent on the military and of weapons would be better spent ending world poverty. But how many of us have the courage of Roy Prockter who may now face prison as the consequence of his brave stand.

About ChrisP

Partner in Just Film, a video production company which tries to focus on social justice. A Quaker.
  • Mr. Prockter makes a valid point, I think.

    I've been watching the "Occupy" movement over the last couple of days and just a handful of them are protesting war. War has become big business, sucking up huge amounts of public dollars and destroying humans and the environment. It really bothers me that people have become so calloused about what is being done in the name of "spreading democracy" and the "collateral damage." I was reading somewhere about how virtually everyone in Iraq has lost either a family member, relative, or friend because of the war. Here in America, the religious are more concerned about unborn fetuses than the tragic and real consequences of war.

    Thanks for posting your story, Chris.


  • Back a pacifist into a hypothetical corner and their non-violence is absolutely repugnant.

    e.g. You're in an area with no one else around save you, a little girl and psychopathic killer. The killer has told you that he is going to kill you and then torture and kill the little girl OR visa verse. You are in possession of a gun. What do you do?

    I say that if you do not shoot the killer when he/she goes for you or the little girl, you're just as much a monster as the psychopath doing the killing.

    As far as Mr. Prockter's situation, I can see the logic of his argument however I don't think he's gone deep enough into it. Being a pacifist, as the Quakers and a few other religious sects are, usually ends up simply meaning that someone else does your fighting for you. This happens in the form of police, military or even the stranger on the street that may come to you aid when/if you're attacked. Being unwilling to aid in the support of the police or military and yet benefiting from the service these organizations provide places you in a position of ultimate hypocrisy from a social contract standpoint. You'd basically be saying, "I don't want to pay for someone to commit an act of violence in my name because of "X" but I'm still going to reap the benefits of the people doing these things by basking in the protection those people provide."

    This may be interpreted as my "right wing" side coming out but I say, if Mr. Prockter does not wish to pay his dues to be protected and is intellectually honest enough to do the socially acceptable thing: He should promptly pay his back taxes and move to a country with no taxes for the maintenance of a standing army or any other tax funded agency that uses violence.

    I also'd like to say, good luck with that.

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