The Phaserl


Socialism Contradicts Freedom of Religion – Why Amish do not Pay Social Security Taxes

by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

In 1935, Roosevelt introduced “The Social Security Act” which passed Congress. However, the act was described “Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.” At first, the Act covered only industry and commerce. It was later extended to include farm operators in 1955. The SS tax was to be at the rate of 3% of income up to an established limit.

The Amish pay taxes because the Bible said: “paying unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” It was in 1956 that the IRS went to tell the Amish they were now under Social Security and they would have to pay. One Amishman was quoted in a November 1962 Reader’s Digest article: “Allowing our members to shift their interdependence on each other to dependence upon any outside source would inevitably lead to the breakup of our order.” The constitutional question that has never been decided, what happens when the taxing power of government violates the First Amendment and Freedom of Religion? It clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Then Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, that there should be “a wall of separation between church and state.” They feared that a minority religion could be subjugated by the Federal Government acknowledging a national religion. The Johnson Amendment, named for Lyndon Johnson, is a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. If churches involve themselves in politics, then indeed that creates a reverse problem where the state can be taken over by one religion and oppress all others; so it can go both ways. Historically, religions have often seized governments and outlawed all other religions.

In this instance concerning taxation in direct conflict with religion, a group of Amish presented a petition to Congress, with 14,000 signatures. Naturally, Congress ignored them. The Amish reasonably questioned what possible harm they could do by not paying into Social Security. “We do not want to be burdensome, but we do not want to lose our birthright to everlasting glory, therefore we must do all we can to live our faith!

The IRS moved to go after the Amish and seize their bank accounts. The problem was – they had none! The IRS then sought to go after anyone buying milk from the Amish and attach their payments to divert them to the IRS. Most simply refused for such a scheme would happen just once and end the business. The IRS, refusing to consider any religious principle, moved in to seize property. In this case of the Amish, that meant cows and horses. They would rather have the Amish die than respect anyone’s rights to religion.

Valentine Byler of the Amish community in Pennsylvania, owed four years of IRS taxes. The IRS, of course, tacked on interest and penalties to raise it up to $308.96. Byler argued his religion forbid paying insurance. The IRS said that was a “technicality” and that it was really just a tax. Vyler has no bank account to seize so they issued a summons to appear in court for a charge of contempt. The judge in Federal District Court in Pittsburgh, Pa, according to a Reader’s Digest article, “angrily demanded of the IRS agents, ‘Don’t you have anything better to do than to take a peaceful man off his farm and drag him into court?’” The Judge then dismissed the case.

The IRS never gives up. The IRS had to issue a statement on April 18, 1961 in which they said:

Since Mr. Byler had no bank account against which to levy for the tax due, it was decided as a last desperate measure to resort to seizure and sale of personal property.

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