Central to the democratic tradition of the United States is the inalienable right and unalterable duty of each citizen to obey the voice of conscience.

Unitarian Universalists traditionally have recognized the right of its members to liberty of individual thought and conscience in all matters.

There have been in our Unitarian Universalist denomination, and its predecessors, individuals compelled by conscience to abstain from participation in war and its preparation.

The American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America have repeatedly affirmed their support to those members who have taken the position of conscientious objection to military service.

The government of the United States for several decades has officially recognized the right of conscientious objectors not to participate in war and has provided several forms of alternative service.

Therefore the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association has reaffirmed its tradition and the position of its predecessor associations and has recognized the right of its members to refuse to bear arms.

The Association supports the right of conscientious objectors to choose among several alternatives and believes that individuals should be supported in the exercise of their moral choice publicly to refuse to register for Selective Service or publicly to refuse classifications which are contrary to their consciences.

The Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon its ministers and other denominational leaders to give counsel and to aid persons considering conscientious objection.

The Association rejoices at the widening legal interpretations in the United States of "religious training and belief" and urges all young men committed to conscientious objection to apply for exemption.


The Association calls upon all its members, especially those in local churches and fellowships, to maintain the bonds of love and fellowship with those who, because of conscience, refuse to participate in war.

The Association continues the Registry of Conscientious Objectors whereby any member, however young, may record with the Association nationally membership in a local Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship and, at the same time, a statement of the reasons for his conscientious objection, such information to be made available on request to the proper government authorities.

The Association continues its responsibility for providing alternative service in lieu of induction for registrants by assigning them to voluntary service programs of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and by maintaining administrative responsibility and supervision of all registrants so assigned under criteria established by the Association.

(Adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association on October 11-12, 1965 and amended June 17-18, 1966)

Upon the occasion of reinstatements of military conscription and noting expansion of ROTC programs, the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon its members and societies to:

1. Oppose renewal of draft registration and induction.

2. Provide educational and counseling opportunities for draft-eligible youth in our communities.

3. Encourage peace registration of our conscientious objectors.

4. Encourage peace career programs to counterbalance recruitment into military- sponsored "career" preparation programs.

5. Urge the elimination of ROTC programs in high schools and colleges.
(From Statement by the Annual General Assembly, Unitarian Universalist Association, 1979)

Be it Resolved, That the 1980 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association call upon its societies to establish, support and encourage educational and counseling programs so that all men and women may make informed decisions regarding registration for the draft and the option of conscientious objection or nonviolent civil disobedience, with particular concern for those forced to consider military service by pressures of economic or racial discrimination.

(From Statement by the Annual General Assembly, Unitarian Universalist Association, 1980)

The Unitarian Universalist Association continues to maintain a Registry of Conscientious Objectors. To be qualified for registration the applicant must provide the Association with certification of church membership and a written statement of his religious objection to participation in war or the preparation for war. Such recorded statements will be made available to the proper governmental authorities upon request.

For further information, contact: Office of the Executive Vice-President, Registry for Conscientious Objectors, Unitarian Universalist Association, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108; <info@uua.org>; uua.org