Gene Chapman, the Texas man who for 40 days staged what he called a “death fast,” called off his hunger strike on Sunday, the day after 75 people rallied in support of his efforts.
Chapman stopped eating on tax day, April 15, saying he would not eat again until he had what he considered an honest, adequate response from the federal government to one question: “Where is my tax liability in the law?”
Sporting an Indian garment and modeling his fast after Gandhi, Chapman spent much of his time sitting across the street from the IRS office in Austin, Texas. He did receive responses from his federal representatives, but he said the letters contained “just more doublespeak … from the government.”
“I want to pay any tax I owe,” he noted during the fast, saying the Bible exhorts him to do so. But, Chapman said, “I can’t find a law that says I owe a tax.”
A post on Chapman’s blog dated Sunday said he had called off the fast, but gave no reason. It said the activist was drinking orange juice and eating soft beef tacos, on his way to recovery.
Attempts to contact Chapman were unsuccessful by press time.
Chapman’s hunger strike followed 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.
According to Chapman’s blog, 75 people, many from out of state, attended a rally of support for Chapman Saturday morning in Austin.
“It was a really nice crowd,” Chapman said later on Saturday. “I got pretty nauseous, so I had to leave about 30 minutes early. There’s probably a good chance that I will end the fast. I think that’s going to have to be the moral choice.”
Chapman had gone to the extent of having a do-not-resuscitate order put into effect so he would not be kept alive by artificial means.
Bob Schulz, leader of We the People went on a 20-day hunger strike two years ago, demanding government representatives meet with him to answer his questions. After the meetings were agreed to, however, government officials later reneged, and We the People held its own congressional-hearing style forum in Washington, D.C. At the event, several expert tax attorneys and former IRS officials testified that the income tax system is fraudulent and that most Americans are not legally required to pay.
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