Statements from Religious Organizations

On Conscientious Objection

“Words of Conscience” collected by the Center on Conscience & War

Adventist

Adventist

Advent Christian Church Article XI We believe that war is contrary to the spirit and teachings of our Lord and Master,...

American Ethical Union

American Ethical Union

Resolution, for Protection of Rights of Moral-Ethical Conscientious Objectors Whereas, The American Ethical Union has,...

Baha’i

Baha’i

1351. Baha'is Cannot Voluntarily Enlist Where Subject to Taking Human Life "Baha'is cannot voluntarily...

Baptist

Baptist

AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES—USA Resolution on Christian Conscience and Military Service All persons are created in the...

Bible Students

Bible Students

The Association of Bible Students - Bible Students General Convention Whereas, The Congress of the United States has...

Brethren

Brethren

Brethren in Christ Church 10th EDITION SEGMENT The Brethren In Christ Church stated in its position on peace in detail...

Bruderhof Communities

Bruderhof Communities

Position on War and Military Service The Bruderhof is a historical peace church rooted in the Anabaptist tradition of...

Buddhism

Buddhism

Fifteen years ago, a notorious Thai Buddhist monk told the Bangkok press that "it is not sinful to kill a...

Christadelphians

Christadelphians

Christadelphians are a religious people who are looking for the personal advent of the Lord Jesus Christ to set up His...

Church of Christ, Scientist

Church of Christ, Scientist

Conscience and National Service Many countries conscript citizens for a period of national service. The draft laws of...

Church of the Nazarene

Church of the Nazarene

War and Military Service The Church of the Nazarene believes that the ideal world condition is that of peace and that...

Church Women United

Church Women United

Universal Military Training Whereas, We view with alarm the growing militarism in our country and its implications for...

Churches of God

Churches of God

Church of God (Anderson) Like all true Americans, we as members of the General Assembly of the Church of God meeting...

Episcopal

Episcopal

Selective Conscientious Objection Resolved, That we, as Bishops, recognize the right of a man to object, on grounds of...

Evangelical Covenant Church

Evangelical Covenant Church

Whereas, The Evangelical Covenant Church, assembled in the Annual Meeting, has by resolution previously taken action...

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Statement of Support of the Right of Conscientious Objection The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest and largest...

Greek Orthodox

Greek Orthodox

The abhorrence of war and its accompanying tragedies is wholly supported by the spiritual and moral tenets of the...

Islam

Islam

The Muslim seeks to be guided along the straight path, the path of those whom God has blessed. One is drawn into the...

Jainism

Jainism

Ahimsa (nonviolence) The Jain ecological philosophy is virtually synonymous with the principle of ahimsa, which runs...

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses are an international association of Christians who have been confronted with the issue of...

Judaism

Judaism

CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS (Reform) The Central Conference of American Rabbis reaffirms its conviction that...

Latter Day Saints

Latter Day Saints

Latter Day Saints (Mormons) Church of Christ War/Combat Whereas, We, the Church of Christ, with headquarters on the...

Lutheran

Lutheran

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Statements of the ELCA's three predecessor bodies, taken together, make...

Mary’s City of David

Mary’s City of David

Article VIII We do not believe in war; it violates the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill;" we believe that...

Megiddo Church

Megiddo Church

We of the Megiddo Church believe that taking life in war is condemned by Jesus, and therefore we are conscientious...

Mennonite

Mennonite

BEACHY AMISH MENNONITE CHURCHES Duty to the State We believe in submission to every law of the land that does not...

Methodist

Methodist

Free Methodist Church of North America War and Peace 1. We recognize the sovereign authority of government and the...

Missionary Church

Missionary Church

We believe that civil government is ordained of God for the welfare of society to promote and protect the good and to...

National Council of Churches

National Council of Churches

Today many young people find that compulsory military service conflicts with their consciences. Christians should be...

Pentecostal

Pentecostal

Assemblies of God Article XVII. Military Service As a Movement we affirm our loyalty to the government of the United...

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Presbyterian Church (USA)

On Supporting Legal Reforms and Redress for Conscientious Objectors Whereas, The 181st General Assembly (1969), in its...

Reformed

Reformed

Christian Reformed Church in North America I. Committee to Study War and Peace A. Materials: Committee to Study War...

Roman Catholic

Roman Catholic

POPE JOHN PAUL II ON VIOLENCE AND LAW . . .How is the very noble “principle of non-violence” to be...

Russian Molokan

Russian Molokan

SEMEON MATVEICH UKLEIN The primary preceptor of the Russian Molokans was Semeon Uklein, who preached from 1760 to 1805...

Salvation Army

Salvation Army

Position on Military Service Christians are called to be peacemakers. No sane person wants war. Yet history and...

Sojourners

Sojourners

But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for...

Sovereign Grace Believers

Sovereign Grace Believers

Note: the positions expressed below represent the views of only some Sovereign Grace Believers, as they are not a...

Swedenborgian Church

Swedenborgian Church

Resolved, That the Secretary of Convention maintain a register of young men and women within the fellowship of the...

What do I believe about war?

. . . questions for the conscientious objector

The world still faces difficult questions about war and peace. Each of us probably asks at some time in his or her life, “What do I believe about war?” The purpose of this questionnaire is to encourage people who have strong concerns about participating in war and who might be conscientious objectors (COs) to answer that question and make a record of it. The answers could prove useful especially for those who might deal with the Selective Service System or the military in the future. The answers could also help those who are struggling with questions concerning paying taxes for war and working in war-related jobs.

What is conscientious objection?

Generally, conscientious objection is a sincere conviction, motivated by conscience, that forbids someone from taking part in organized killing. This objection may apply to all forms or to particular aspects of war.

What types of conscientious objectors are recognized by federal law?

The Military Selective Service Act and government regulations recognize two types of conscientious objectors:

  1. Conscientious Objectors: These are persons who, by reason of religious, ethical, or moral belief, are “conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.” These people may be discharged from military service. They are exempt from military service, in the event of a draft. If called up, they may perform alternative service as civilians.

  2. Non-combatant Conscientious Objectors: These are persons who, by reason of religious, ethical or moral belief, are conscientiously opposed to killing in war in any form but who do not object to performing non-combatant duties (such as being a medic). These people are reassigned to non-combatant duties in the Armed Forces or, in the event of a draft, are trained without weapons and assigned to non-combatant service.

Am I a conscientious objector?

Draft registration

This question is not as simple to answer as it may seem, so it is important to give it serious thought. You may want to consult relatives, friends, teachers, or religious advisors. It may take some time to come to a conclusion. The important thing is to start thinking about this now. What do you believe about war? Why is it so important to think about this now?

If a war were declared today, the draft could begin immediately. Or a peacetime draft or compulsory national service might be enacted. A plan to register and conscript health care professionals has been prepared and probably would be implemented in a war emergency before other conscription measures are implemented. Under current regulations, conscientious objectors have a very limited time following an induction order to document their claim for an exemption from military service. Since time would be short, as little as nine days, conscientious objectors should think through the basis of their claim now. In peacetime or war, early documentation of one’s beliefs is evidence of sincerity.

Military Servicemembers

Few reservists or active duty personnel ever consider conscientious objection prior to enlistment or commissioning. (They cannot enter the military as conscientious objectors.) When military personnel begin to question their tasks, responsibilities, and mission, they should take a careful look at their beliefs about war. Military servicemembers should review CCW’s “Who is a Military Conscientious Objector” and Guide for COs in the Military (PDF).

War Taxes

About half of Federal income taxes go for military purposes. Many taxpayers object to paying others to go to war or for preparations for war. If provision is made in law for conscientious objectors to military taxes (which could potentially happen with passage of the U.S. Peace Tax Fund bill), they will have to establish that they are conscientious objectors in order to have the military portion of their Federal income tax redirected for peaceful purposes. They, too, should begin to document their beliefs.