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Written by Don Byrd

Via Religion Clause, a federal judge rejected the religious freedom argument of an Oregon man charged with evading taxes for 10 years, sentencing him to 8 years in prison after a jury found him guilty earlier this year.

The Oregonian has more:

Standing before a federal judge Monday, a software entrepreneur defended his decade-long refusal to pay federal income taxes, saying that complying with demands made by the Internal Revenue Service would break his “blood covenant” with God.

“My hands, my feet, my words, my ideas, my labor, my actions are all and have been given to the Lord for his glory,” said Chester Evans Davis, 56, of Oregon City,convicted last March of tax evasion, evasion of assessment and other charges.

Submitting a tax return would “put the God of this state above my God,” Davis said, his voice breaking. “I won’t do it.”

Religious freedom arguments against tax liability do not succeed because of the government’s strong interest in fairly and neutrally collecting mandatory taxes from all. As the judge here noted, Davis’ refusal was especially troubling since most of his income was derived from significant government contracts.