What Is Conscientious Objection
There have been conscientious objectors throughout history and in every case the objector’s motives must be questioned.
An armed force cannot tolerate the possibility for someone to simply claim his or her commitment to peace, out of a fear of war, in a time of war. It must be apparent that the objector has a real and valid cause of peace not war that has been long standing. When a claim is made of conscientious objection, the party will generally be questioned about their beliefs to determine if they are valid. The determination of whether there is a claim of peace out of fear, or the desire for peace not war is a strongly held belief.
Religion is one of the most common claims of conscientious objection. The cause of peace, not war for religious grounds is certainly understandable. Some people hold so closely to their religious beliefs that they are not able to participate in a war that is not of God’s choosing. This would eliminate these people from any particular war, not just one that they object to on political grounds. This effort for peace out of war is an admirable and noble belief.
Conscientious objection can also occur for moral or ethical reasons as well. There will be times when a person has an objection to a particular war that their country is waging. These ethical objections are a bit more difficult to prove. Peace, not war when the objection is the particular war might be on political grounds. Many people feel that their country is embarking on a wrong course and will object to the war and seek peace out of the borders of their country.
The people who cross the border during times of war are running the risk of being labeled as deserters and can be prosecuted according to their country’s laws. Trying to claim a desire for peace out of these circumstances might prove to be too difficult for those who simply claimed conscientious objection when it was convenient for them to do so. It is difficult to see that these people were demonstrating for peace not war, before they made the decision to flee their country. That is why there must be an honest questioning of the peace not war motives of these citizens. A desire for peace out of fear is not conscientious objection.
A true conscientious objector will face the wrath of their country and their beliefs will hold up under scrutiny. The people, who have held firm to their moral and ethical position for peace out of war, will generally not have a difficult time stating their ideals proudly. These are the objectors that are witnessed protesting for peace not war during war times and facing the consequences of their beliefs. Peace out of a sense of morality and peace not war are the hallmarks of the conscientious objector.