Render unto Caesar 

News Hits recently received an announcement from a group called the National War Tax Resistance Committee, which is urging opponents of the war in Iraq to hit Uncle Sam where it hurts — right in the pocketbook.

The group declares that “refusal to pay taxes to finance unjust wars, along with refusal by soldiers to fight them, is a direct and potentially effective form of non-cooperation” and that “war tax refusal has a long and honorable tradition among religious and secular opponents of war.”

Most notable among those who protested in such a way was writer Henry David Thoreau, who refused to cough up some taxes during the Mexican-American War.

In his essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau wrote, “If a thousand were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”

The group also quotes Gen. Alexander Haig, who, following a massive New York rally for nuclear disarmament in 1982, allegedly said, “Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”

What really piqued our interest was a name on the list of people who pledged their support to those protesters deciding to march to Thoreau’s different drummer. There, along with Joan Baez, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, was Detroit’s own Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

We phoned the bishop to ask if that meant he’d be among those refusing to render unto Caesar.

“No,” he explained. “It really ends up just being a hassle, because in the end the government will end up getting your money anyway. They’ll just garnish your wages.”

Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation