US Christian who refuses to pay taxes until abortion is defunded has first big win in court
COLUMBIA CITY, Oregon, April 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Like 60% of Americans, Michael Bowman opposes taxpayer funding of abortion. Unlike most Americans, he is currently squaring off against the Internal Revenue Service to avoid doing so.
Bowman is a 53-year-old Christian and contract engineer in Columbia City, Oregon. He has refused to file a tax return or pay taxes since 1999, The Oregonian reports, citing the federal government’s funding of the abortion industry.
"I'm not a tax protester. I love my country,” he told the paper. “I have a duty to my country. I have a duty to my conscience.”
The IRS has sent him numerous warnings over unpaid taxes from 2002 to 2014, and in 2012 the Oregon Department of Revenue began garnishing money from Bowman’s bank account. In response, he started cashing out his paychecks and leaving only a minimum balance in his account.
This, federal prosecutors say, constituted “remov[ing] his income from the reach of taxing authorities.” They indicted him for felony tax evasion in the amount of $356,857, as well as four misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns.
Bowman’s attorney, Matthew Schindler, argued that his client was fully transparent every step of the way, from disclosing all of his paychecks to cashing them at his own bank, under his own name.
"Like a player collapsing as they lose Twister, the government has reached too far forward and stretched way too far back,'' his motion to dismiss read.
Last week, US District Judge Michael Mosman sided with Bowman on the felony charge, ruling that the feds failed to show he attempted to conceal income or deceive the government. Prosecutors remain free to re-introduce the charge in the future, and are currently weighing whether to do so.
On Tuesday, Bowman elaborated on his stand in an interview with CBN News.
"First, I would love to pay taxes so as to have a normal life, however, our government is using the tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood; which commits abortions - the death of the innocent," Bowman said. “Apparently, a woman has the right to choose, but evidently, I do not.”
He also took aim at the common rejoinder that every American citizen has to pay taxes for things with which they might personally disagree, such as war. “You see, the Constitution grants certain abilities to the government, e.g. funding the military, but killing children is not a Constitutional backed, compelling interest of the government by any stretch of the imagination,” Bowman explained.
Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million per year from the federal government, and performs more than 300,000 abortions. Federal law forbids taxpayer dollars from being directly spent on abortions, though pro-life groups argue that the money still enables abortion facilities to grow their reach and influence, and spend more revenue from other sources on abortions.
“All the government has to do is put a check box on the tax forms that says check here to support Planned Parenthood, and write in your donation amount," Bowman proposed. "Then, just like any church or charity, Planned Parenthood will be funded by those that have no problem with it, and the 150 million people like me that are pro-life, can pay their taxes and live knowing we kept our conscience clean.”
He vowed that he will continue his resistance as long as the government continues funding the abortion industry.
“My effort [is] about standing up, standing firm for my Constitutional rights, and getting the government to honor title 42 Chapter 21.b The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so that I may live a peaceful life, and in the end face God, and hopefully have Him say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!" he said.