VIDEO: Jury refuses to convict man who won’t pay taxes

An Oregon jury deadlocked on whether to convict a Christian man who hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years, resulting in a stunning mistrial.

Federal prosecutors charged Michael Bowman for willful failure to file a return. Bowman argued that paying taxes violates his Christian beliefs because the federal government subsidizes abortion. He hasn’t filed a tax return since 1999.

“I have a conscience and I’m not going to fund the death of kids, that’s it. If a woman’s got to do it, just don’t make me pay for it,” Bowman said. “Where is equal justice? Where’s equal justice in this?”

“Bowman believes the First Amendment, the Oregon Constitution, and the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect his right to make that choice,” local NBC affiliate KGW8 reports.

“I think that a certain percentage of the people on this jury felt about this the way I did, which was it doesn’t matter what his religious beliefs are, you have a system that’s intended to be implemented against individuals who don’t pay their taxes and that’s what they should’ve been doing, instead of having IRS employees come sit and watch my closing argument, they should’ve been out taking Mr. Bowman’s car,” Bowman’s public defender, Matt Schindler said.

Prosecutors will likely charge Bowman and try him again.