For now at least, a pro-life Christian from Oregon will not be punished for failing to pay his taxes because he opposes the killing of unborn babies.
KGW News 8 reports the case against Michael Bowman, of Columbia City, ended in a mistrial Friday in federal court. The jury deliberated for 11 hours but could not come to a verdict in the case, according to the report.
Bowman has refused to pay income taxes or file tax returns for more than two decades, National Review reported earlier this year. He repeatedly has made it very clear why: He believes unborn babies are valuable human beings, and killing them is wrong.
His attorney, Matthew Schindler, said the IRS did not take action against his client for almost 20 years. He said this led his client to believe that the IRS made an exception for his deeply-held religious views.
“The problem is, is when you don’t enforce the law then someone who takes that kind of principle position starts to believe, I’m right, I’m right, I’m doing this the right way, and what I’ve said is correct, and otherwise the IRS would do something,” Schindler said.
Bowman is a self-employed computer software developer who owes at least $800,000 in back taxes, according to the Herald. If convicted, he could have faced an additional $25,000 in fines and jail time.
However, because of the mistrial, the government will have to refile charges against him. His lawyer told the local news that they are scheduled to meet with the judge later this week.
“They want to make sure that everyone knows you can’t object to abortion and not pay your taxes, and it concerns me as a taxpayer because at the end of the day who cares if Mr. Bowman doesn’t file a form if the government’s out doing its job, which is to clean out his bank account, take his car, and collect taxes,” Schindler said.
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The Oregon man has very personal as well as religious reasons for not wanting his tax dollars to pay for abortions. When he was young, he said his girlfriend was forced by her parents to abort their unborn baby, and he was unable to stop it.
“It’s unfair to Christians that actually care about their fellow human beings,” Bowman said. “We don’t force people to do what we think and the very definition of freedom is, we all should be free to do what we want to do, as long as it’s not attacking other people, and they’re definitely attacking us.
“So, I’m not saying taxes are illegal, I believe they are and I think that if the government would just sit down and accommodate me under the law, like I’ve asked for, this problem would’ve been solved a long time ago, a long time ago. They just are very stubborn, they don’t want to do it,” he continued.
Here’s more from the report:
Schindler, Bowman’s attorney, said the Internal Revenue Service has not collected a dime of the money Bowman owes, but said the government spent half a million dollars taking him to court.
“The greatest collection agency ever created in the history of human civilization, managed to not collect a single penny from Michael Bowman during 19 years and that entire time, he banked in the same account, he worked under the same business name, he never used an LLC, he never did a single thing to hide from the government or hide his money,” Schindler explained.
Bowman said he is responsible for his conscience and does not want to fund abortions.
Bowman lives in Oregon, one of 16 states that forces its taxpayers to pay for elective abortions through its medical assistance program. Nationwide, taxpayers also give about half a billion dollars to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in the U.S.
Many Americans oppose their tax dollars being used to pay for abortions. A recent national poll by Marist University found that a majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions, while just 39 percent support them. Similarly, a 2016 Politico/Harvard University poll found that 36 percent of likely voters supported taxpayer funding for abortions, while 58 percent opposed it.