It’s 4th of July, and I have my peace flag flying as usual. My most recent peace activities have focused on the Relgious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill and the 12th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Funds. Here also are some comments about my lovely and fascinating wife.
1. In late May I carried a Minute from Chester Quarterly Meeting to Interim Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting requesting that Philadelphia Yearly Meeting send a letter to all members of Congress asking for their support of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (currently H.R. 1921). For those not familiar with Quaker lingo, the preceding sentence describes a process by which a large group of Quakers (more than 10,000 in PYM) reach unity on a decision (we don’t vote and don’t have representatives). After some discussion at the Interim Meeting, PYM approved sending out such a letter in their name. The Relgious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill would enable those conscientiously opposed to participation in war to pay their full taxes into a government fund that did not go to war-related purposes. For many pacifists, paying for a gun for someone else is just as wrong as doing the killing yourself. This puts such pacifists (myself included) in the quandry of either paying taxes for war or being civil disobedient by refusing to pay. The refused tax money is not retained but given away to charitable institutions. More information and links are available at my website www.peacefulways.com/ To read an informative draft of this letter, click Comment #1.
2. During May and June I have been working with regional Quakers (including PYM) to get their support for my attendance at the 12th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Funds, to be held in Manchester UK in early September. I have attended these biennial conferences twice before and found them informative and practical. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting agreed to Minute their support of my attendance at this conference and to pay my expenses. For more information and to see my Minute, click on Comment #2.
3. This 4th of July weekend Fran and I went foraging in a nearby park along Darby Creek (there is also a prior post on this topic). We had our milkweed peas last night (excellent) and spice bush tea and various other wild edibles. We are getting more skilled at this (particularly Fran), and pictures are on line at sheldontimes. com. Now when we go backpacking she is prepared to make fresh bread on the spot and cook it (something like pancakes) on a flat rock over a small flre, along with our foraged foods. She never ceases to amaze me with her ideas and innovations.
4. About a month ago we attended a Memorial Service for the last relative of Fran’s mother’s generation. The extended family was gathered, and I saw a chance (re my last comment in #3) to discover if Fran has always been as interesting and lively as she is now. She always describes herself as being very shy and quiet most all of her life, and only starting to come out of her shell quite recently. This struck me as unlikedly, so I asked a number of her cousins about what she was like when younger. They said “least shy of all…bubbly…striking… redhead…glamorous…just like she is now” and everything OPPOSITE of how she describes herself then. I was not in the least surprised to hear this, but Fran was absolutely astonished. Isn’t it interesting how others can know us and think about us in a way so different from how we know and think about ourselves?