Tax protester in area on way to Washington

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

A Christian minister from Texas is making a stopover inBrookhaven this weekend while marching from Austin to Washington,D.C., to protest taxes.

Gene Chapman of Denton, Texas, said the march is only the latestin a string of activities he and others are doing to bringattention to their cause of stopping personal income taxes.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of what we believe is an abuseof the tax system,” he said.

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Head shaven and wearing wire-rimmed glasses, leather sandals andwhite loincloth wraps called dhotis, Chapman resembles the lateIndian peace activist Mahatma Gandhi.

It is no coincidence, he said. He has shaped his life after theNobel prize-winning activist and holds fasts and marches in supportof his cause. The former truck driver and seminary studentcompleted a 40-day “death fast” in Austin on the steps of theregional Internal Revenue Service in April and began his marcheight days later.

His supporters are able to keep up with his location on thegroup’s website,, and at another address,

Chapman said his march is sponsored by the We The PeopleCongress and other organizations.

“We’re just trying to get the word out that the government islying to us about our tax system,” he said. “We’re not opposed topaying taxes at all, but we believe there are certain ways to taxappropriately.”

According to Chapman, the Bible excuses and supports excisetaxes, such as the sales tax, but does not condone taxes on assets,such as labor. Therefore, personal income taxes should beremoved.

The difference could be made up by raising excise taxes to coverthe loss in income. The entire income would not have to be made up,however, because without income taxes there would be no real needfor the IRS and the money used to fund it could be used elsewhere,Chapman said.

The founding fathers, he believes, never intended the governmentto intrude into its citizens’ personal lives, such as the IRS doesevery year at tax time.

“There is no tax liability in the law,” he said. “The governmentjust coerces it out of us.”

Chapman said the march is his way of taking the argument toWashington and to the people. He did not have a set date for whenhe plans to arrive in Washington.