Appeal to the European JPIC Conference, Basel

Vierhouten, The Netherlands 30 October 1988

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are writing to you as fellow Christians from many parts of the world and we are gathered here for the second International Conference on conscientious objection to paying taxes for military purposes.

Our conscientious beliefs are rooted in the message of Jesus Christ that we are called to be peacemakers, and that we should not return evil for evil. We ask you to give recognition to these deeply held convictions as you engage in the process of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation; and, in particular, as you consider the draft document for the European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel.

Our requests are as follows:

  1. That those governments which do not recognize conscientious objection to military service should be urged by the churches to make provision for this basic human right as soon as possible.
  2. In fulfilling this basic human right not to kill other people, that all governments should be asked to recognize the right of conscientious objection to paying taxes for military purposes. The taxes not then used for military purposes should be used to help create security through non-violent peace building.
  3. That the churches themselves should counsel and support those in their pastoral care whose conscience requires them not to pay taxes for military purposes.
  4. That the churches should especially heed the consciences of any employees who request that the military element in their taxes be withheld until the government gives an assurance that their taxes will not be used for military purposes.

As we seek with you to realize God's purpose for all people, we pray that you will consider these requests.

Australia Belgium Denmark France

Germany Italy Japan Luxembourg

Netherlands Norway Spain Sweden

Switzerland United Kingdom United States of America