Resources Exploring and Supporting
Conscientious Objection
to War and Participation in War

[December 2004]  In this time of war and increasing violence around the world, many people are challeged to decide whether to participate in the organized violence represented by the military services.  In the past (in the United States) it was possible to participate in the armed forces holding the idea that military force would only be used as a last resort, only for highly moral causes, and only in self-defense, in response to an attack.  While these conditions were often not met, as in the cases of Vietnam or Panama, these thoughts were an ideal that many people held in their minds that allowed them to feel morally justified in participating in the military.  

The current war in Iraq and the recently announced doctrine of preventive war, promoted by the US administration of George W. Bush, re-opens in a very serious way the moral questions about military service that have been explored for centuries by Quakers, Mennonites, Buddhists and many others around the world.  This page will introduce you to the best web resources I have been able to locate on the topic of conscientious objection.

A Change of Heart  ~  An Interfaith Guide to Conscientious Objection  large PDF file (2MB) of partially completed book by Dennis Rivers.  Free. Includes Book of Readings.

A Library of Conscientious Objector Statements

Army Lieutenant Eheren Watada refuses to participate in illegal war

Teen Peace: Peace and Conscientious Objector Study Group

Of Courage and Resistance  --  a speech by the late Susan Sontag honoring
conscientious objectors in the Israeli armed forces, and exploring what it means to resist the aggressive policies of one's government when the chances of actual policy change seem remote.  (from The Nation magazine)

BY YOUNG PEOPLE, FOR YOUNG PEOPLE:  The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's


The James George Peterson Library (highly recommended)

free PDF bumper sticker (print and tape to car):

Just Say NO to organized killing
Conscientious Objection
for everyone

The Golden Rule in the Religions of the World

The Conflict of Ages - a book on Christian Pacifism

Essay on Conscientious Objection from a Buddhist Perspective

History of Conscientious Objection in the United States

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's 1967 speech at the Riverside Church

Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) resources regarding the draft and conscientious objection

Recent history of Conscientious Objection with special attention to the peace witness of the Mennonite Church

The Peace Abbey's multi-faith National Registry for Conscientious Objection

Conscientious Objection in America  --  Primary sources for research
compiled by Anne Yoder at Swarthmore College

Veterans for Peace  -- Archive of anti-war articles, editorials and web sites

Leave My Child Alone  --  In the absence of a military draft, recruiters from the armed forces, backed by little-known provisions of the "No Child Left Behind" Act, are relentlessly expanding their efforts to get high-school students to enlist. Leave My Child Alone is a parent's movement to protect their children.