A Texas man in the 40th day of a hunger strike will be surrounded by supporters today as he hosts a rally meant to draw attention to his willingness to die for his cause.
That cause? A quest to obtain from the federal government what he considers an adequate answer to the following question: “Where is my tax liability in the law?”
Thirty-six-year-old Gene Chapman hasn’t eaten since tax day, April 15. He now considers himself to be living in the “death zone,” saying he could die at any time.
Although Chapman has received responses from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, and Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, he says their responses are “just more doublespeak … from the government.” The responses from the lawmakers are available at Chapman’s website. He has asked several leaders of the so-called “tax honesty” movement to review and respond to the lawmakers’ letters. Chapman’s response to an earlier IRS letter also is posted on his site.
Chapman’s hunger strike follows that of Rose Lear, a Michigan woman who fasted for 29 days this spring. She was demanding answers to 537 questions included in a petition for redress of grievances sponsored by the organization We the People. The questions concern the “tax honesty” movement’s contention that the federal government lacks any legal jurisdiction to enforce the income tax, that there is no law that requires Americans to pay the tax, and that the tax is enforced in a manner that violates the U.S. Constitution.
Bob Schulz, head of We the People, staged a similar hunger strike two years ago. On the WTP website, Schulz encourages his members to join Chapman for today’s rally.
“I will be with Gene on Saturday,” said Schulz. “I urge everyone to make the sacrifice. Be there. Bring your ‘Live Free or Die’ and ‘Liberty’ flags. Wear your ‘Tyranny Response Team’ windbreakers. Let’s all hold hands and pray for Gene. Let us pray with Gene that our servant government will finally honor its obligation to respond to the People’s Petition for Redress of Grievances regarding the income tax. Let us all pray for the courage of our convictions as we collectively commit to retain our money until these grievances are redressed.”
The rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. Central time at the intersection of Woodward St. and Parker Lane in Austin, Texas. This is the same location across from the local IRS office Chapman occupied for several hours each day at the beginning of his fast. At this point, he spends most of his time resting indoors, according to his blog.
On Thursday, Chapman posted: “I’ve been sitting here in the dark all day trying to rest. I’m having a little trouble holding down water. Not too much trouble but a little trouble this morning holding down water. I’m exploring ways to drink water now. I have moments where I’m fresh and bright and I have other moments where I’m just as dizzy as you can imagine.”
Chapman says he is hoping for demonstrators from as far away as Virginia.
“Perhaps if enough people show up,” he said, “the news media will notice that there is something more to this than just a guy losing some weight. And to put things into perspective – Gene may not make it to Saturday, May 31.”
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