Editor's Preface
A Persistent Voice
Marian Franz and Conscientious
Objection to Military Taxation

I came to know Marian Franz during the last three years of her twenty-three-year tenure as executive director at the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF). Soon after I began my job as NCPTF’s outreach and development director, Marian shared with me her list of projects she wished to complete before, or shortly after, she retired. One of the items on this long list was to compile for publication her twenty-three years’ worth of newsletter columns. 

Marian’s column was a regular feature in the Peace Tax Fund Newsletter, which came out three or four times a year. How do you write about the same issue for over two decades without running out of fresh insights? Marian had that ability. With stories gleaned from lobbying visits, extensive reading, travels, and life experience, Marian consistently crafted essays full of hope and inspiration that, while centered on the legislative effort to enact the Peace Tax Fund Bill, touched on a broad array of themes. For good reason, many readers found Marian’s column to be the highlight of the Peace Tax Fund Newsletter. 

As is often the case in a small non-profit, urgent day-to-day matters crowd out the longer-term projects. This compilation of essays was no exception to that trend. I recall Marian’s last NCPTF board meeting before she retired, in preparation for which she photocopied a political cartoon on the final page of the agenda. The cartoon, by Jeff Danziger, was from early July, 2005, just after Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement. It portrays a white-haired woman in a black robe, leaping from a swing with arms outstretched, into mid-air. This, Marian explained to us, is how she was viewing her own retirement. Looking at that cartoon, it was not hard to imagine Marian in that position, leaping into the air, embracing the unknown. As it turned out, the unknown awaiting her would be the recurrence of cancer that would take her life only a year later. 

Needless to say, many of Marian’s hopes for her retirement—part-time lobbying, easing the transition to a new NCPTF director, and working on the book of columns—took a back seat to the immediate task of dealing with her illness. Even as she suffered, Marian seemed to approach the indignities of her disease with the same curiosity and compassion that marked her life in the political world. 

About a year after her November 17, 2006, death, NCPTF board members Steve Ratzlaff and David Bassett joined me in deciding to bring this project to completion. This book is the result of those efforts. We have selected, out of over seventy columns, forty-seven which represent the scope of Marian’s writings. These are printed in chronological order in Part II of the book. 

We also have contacted a number of Marian’s colleagues to write chapters on their respective areas of expertise. This additional content appears in Part I of the book, as a way to familiarize readers with the context in which Marian’s work took place. These chapters also outline the issues facing those who continue the work of promoting Peace Tax Fund legislation. We are grateful to these authors—Andy Jacobs, Barbara Green, L. William Yolton, Ruth Benn, Edward F. Snyder, Derek Brett and Willard M. Swartley—for their profound contributions to this book. 

We would like to thank the staff of NCPTF for their support along the way, particularly intern Emily Stutzman for her long hours typing hard copies of old newsletter columns into the computer. We are grateful for the willingness of Cascadia Publishing House LLC to copublish this book with the Peace Tax Foundation, and for the invaluable help from Cascadia’s Michael A. King in the publication process. And of course, we are most grateful for Marian Franz and the persistent, prophetic voice with which she speaks so clearly in the pages to come. We believe that you will be challenged and inspired by her message, as so many have been. 

—Tim Godshall


Buy from MennoLink


Barnes and Noble link for A Persistent Voice

Buy from Amazon.com

Copyright 2009 by Cascadia Publishing House LLC