Conscientious objection and Ukraine

Not wanting to go under arms does not mean that people of a certain age could not commit themselves to helping in a country at war.
As conscientious objectors, Christadelphians or Brothers in Christ are bound by the Laws of God whereby the killing of others is not an issue. War is to be avoided, but if it does occur, there are opportunities even for conscientious objectors to serve and show the love of God to others in trouble.

Fleeing a country because one is afraid is more likely to show a different reason than “conscientious objection” to the right cause. Of course, one must also take into account everyone’s state of mind, but not wanting to stand up to help others in difficulties does not really testify to love for one’s neighbour or love for a fatherland. (Not that the latter should be essential).

But where people are in need, one must dare to come to their aid. Even if a Christian will not and should not take up arms, he can in many ways come to the aid of his neighbour in a war zone.

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Preceding

  1. Presidents and Christadelphia
  2. Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust

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Additional reading

  1. Conscientious Objection – Recommended reading
  2. Presidents and Christadelphia (Our world)
  3. Concerning some writers of our series on prophecy #2 Frank George Jannaway
  4. Reflections on the Great War #2
  5. Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused
  6. Forum 18: Old Testament is banned religious literature in Azerbaijan
  7. Soviet Witnesses
  8. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

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Related

  1. Conscience Wars in the Americas
  2. Faith, Science and the objectivity of expert evidence
  3. An Interfaith Call for the Freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal
  4. “The delicacy and fragility of life hit me”: Kyle Toon’s Journey to Conscientious Objection
  5. Conscientious Objectors
  6. Edward Lees and Frank Parton: Men who chose different paths
  7. In Rod Dreher’s new book political left, right threaten public religious practice
  8. Why there MUST be a Senate Inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill
  9. We: Draft refusal
  10. Resisting Evil: is there only one answer?
  11. What were Military Service Tribunals?
  12. ‘War to end war’: the Union of Democratic Control and the call for alternatives to conflict
  13. Against the tide, against the war: conscientious objection in South London, 1914-1918
  14. Most Swedish Pentecostals Used to be Pacifists… But Their Eschatology Was Extremely Violent
  15. Share the Wealth with Robert MacArthur– Military Service & Conscientious Objection: A Personal Perspective

Quakers and Religious Socialism

Amid the horrifying situation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I was concerned every time I heard that Ukrainian men aged 18 – 60 were banned from leaving the country.

I studied war resistance and conscientious objection extensively while a student at Scattergood Friends School. All males in the US were required to register for the draft at the time of their eighteenth birthday. I was a Senior at Scattergood then (1969). I went through the process of applying for and was granted conscientious objector status while I tried to prepare my family for my decision to turn in my draft cards. Which I did.

This is a bit ironic because Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee discussed conscientious objector counseling at our recent meeting. That was brought up in part related to the war in Ukraine. Also, as an opportunity to engage our youth in discussions…

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Published by Christadelphians

Free Christadelphians or Brothers and sisters in Christ, living in Belgium, European Union. - Vrijë Christadelphians of Broeders en zusters in Christus wonende in België in de Europese Unie.

2 thoughts on “Conscientious objection and Ukraine

  1. Your reply my post (‘Resisting Evil’ at NeverOnASunday511226497.wordpress.com) makes sense to me- there are many ways we can come to the aid of those who are being oppressed by an evil. My heart would like to say “NEVER!” to perpetrating act of violence. But like Bonhoeffer I realize there are times when the only way to stop a Big Violence is to perpetrate another violence (in his world: murdering Hitler to avoid a bigger violence). And – most importantly – to trust Grace to know the difference between them. And like Bonhoeffer, and you Conscientious Obection – I need (and we all need) to find alternative ways to support those being oppressed. (And, on another day, I would comment on how we perpetrate violence in our thoughts and our inaction….)

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    1. Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply.
      Even when there is such big evil present in our society, we should be very careful not to be tempted to commit ourselves also to evil things. No human being has the right to take the life of another human being, even if it is to punish terrible murderers or violent people.
      Especially as Christian, we must be able to place ourselves higher than those who do not love God’s creatures, in the sense that we must be able to show love for our nearest enemy, even though this may be very difficult.

      In times of war, conscientious objectors can make themselves useful in many ways. First and foremost, there is the care that ordinary citizens need, such as providing moral support but also delivering the necessary food and water supplies.
      Then there will be the very great need for medical care where those who do not want to carry weapons will be able to be very useful. For in case of war, medical assistance is extremely important and necessary to save lives.
      Nor should one underestimate the importance of listening in such a time of extreme difficulty. Those who do not go under arms will be able to lend that ear and provide psychological assistance to those who need it most.

      (I’ll be on the lookout to see and hear more about your comment on how we perpetrate violence in our thoughts and our inaction…)

      God bless.

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