One Oregon man is refusing to pay taxes until the federal government stops funding abortion centers. And it seems he is not completely out-of-bounds for doing so, legally, at least for now:
“A federal judge has dismissed a felony tax evasion charge against a man who describes himself as a Christian who refuses to give money to the government to support abortion,” according to a news report from The Oregonian.
Michael Bowman cashes his paychecks and keeps his bank balance at the low minimum in order to avoid having his account taxed. “U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman ruled that the government’s indictment failed to provide any evidence that Michael Bowman tried to conceal or mislead government officials” by engaging this practice.
Bowman cites his conscience and personal opposition to abortion as the reason for his form of protest: “I’m not a tax protester. I love my country. I have a duty to my country. I have a duty to my conscience,” he told the Oregon news outlet.
His tax evasion charge has been dismissed on these grounds, but the government is still considering going after him on other accounts (“Bowman still faces four counts of willful failure to file tax returns, a misdemeanor”).
But this initial win for him in court—and in a state not always friendly to those who make unpopular choices based on their Christian beliefs or their consciences—makes for an interesting case study for those interested in how religious freedom and religious exemptions currently fare in the United States.