Talk:Conscientious objector

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Remove Bosworth Material[edit]

I question if this is relevant at all, but have left the general comment about the feudal obligation. This emphasizes that the ability to avoid fighting was dependent on money or influence. (I have resisted the temptation to compare and contrast this with the US Draft.) I have removed the suggestion that conscientious objection was not an issue in feudal times becasue few peple fought in battles:- (a) The suggestion that because the numbers in battles like Bosworth were small it wasn't an issue is silly. If you were a tenant of one of the Stanley family you were liable to service. (b) The suggestion is based on ignorance of the historical position. I doubt if the concept of "conscientious objection" existed, but that was because it was not a state of mind that would exist in 1485, not because there were not many people required to fight. GBH 21:39, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Restated the definition and organized a short intro[edit]

"A conscientious objector is a person whose beliefs are incompatible with military service - perhaps with any role in the armed forces (in which case he or she is either pacifist or antimilitarist) - or who objects to a particular war. This may constitute a conflict with conscription or military service."
"Conscientious objectors may distinguish between wars of offensive aggression and defensive wars. The opposition to war need not be absolute and total, but may depend on circumstance. The only real criterion that defines a conscientious objector is that the individual is sincerely following the dictates of their conscience."
"The legal status of conscientious objectors has varied over the years and from nation to nation. Many conscientious objectors have been imprisoned or executed for refusing to participate in wars. In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in 1970 that it is not necessary for a conscientious objector to have a religious basis for their beliefs."

I shortened this beginning into a current CO distinction compatible with most law that recognizes CO status. I tried to faithfully retain the core of CO as being the following the religious, moral or ethical dictates of one's conscience. And to avoid eliminating and existing expression.

"A conscientious objector is an individual following the religious, moral or ethical dictates of their conscience that are incompatible: (1) with being a combatant in military service, or (2) being part of the armed forces as a combatant organization. In the first case, conscientious objectors may be willing to accept non-combatant roles during conscription or military service. In the second case, the objection is to any role within armed forces and results in complete rejection of conscription or military service and, in some countries, assignment to an alternative civilian service as a substitute for conscription or military service. Some conscientious objectors may consider themselves either pacifist or antimilitarist."

The statement, "or who objects to a particular war" may be a desired addition to both the distinction and legal definition of CO by some. There has been a long series of plaintiffs that claim particular types of war, or political convictions about a war or personal or societal circumstance with respect to a specific war should be included as valid reasons for CO status. However great their desire, this addition to the grounds for CO status has been repeatedly rejected in courts of both the European and Anglo-American legal traditions.

Some countries have evolved a separate approach avoiding conflict on the issue. At least one European country has legally defined participation in military service as only occurring on a voluntary basis. When this is so there is no legal or societal issue of conscience based objection or of legally granting of CO status. You just say, "no."

The original text also stated, “perhaps with any role in the armed forces (in which case he or she is either pacifist or antimilitarist)” that is untrue for many who object on religious grounds but are not part of the Historic Peace Churches and inconsistent with the later description of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I made the comment a sentence and added that “some” who believe…are…”

Lastly the comment about the US Supreme court broadening the grounds for CO status is true but it was decided in 1971 and the wiki text further excluded to mention its specific denial of any CO status based upon an objection to a specific war.

Hope this is acceptable. --kmh 23:57, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Recognition of conscientious objector status[edit]

Currently, conscientious objector status is recognized in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

I think this sentence is misleading:

Article 4 – Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
  2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
  3. For the purpose of this article the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include:
    1. any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during conditional release from such detention;
    2. any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;
    3. any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;
    4. any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

I'll remove the sentence altogether, if there are no objections. (There is no use of saying "In the countries where this status is recognized, the ECHR...") --Glimz 13:42, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)

---If this isn't the right place to put this, I apologize. I'm a first time poster. I just wanted to let yall know that the C.O. site refers to C.O.s as "cowards." It's in the definition in the first couple of lines. I would change it, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes. Thought yall might want to get on top of that. MarjorieMazia 01:53, 1 December 2007 (UTC)


When I did the merge for this page I was uncertain as to what category to place it in. There are none at the moment and I believe that a category or categories should be added.

--pgeoff 00:26, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

I have seen several requests on articles in Category:Military to clean up because there are 50 sub-categories and 50 articles in there ... I created Category "Politics about Military" to group topics like Military use of children, how people get drafted into the military, gender roles in the military, and related topics. This will still be in category military, through the new sub-category. AlMac|(talk) 16:59, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Peace Symbols are not appropriate for this page[edit]

The Peace Symbol is actually the ancient Norse or rune (symbol) for death. it is used commonly by persons who are practicing neo-pagans. Today the peace sign serves to represent a movement of people who have varied interests but gather under the umbrella of the peace sign, e.g. animal rights, environmentalists, etc. I cannot find any reference on the Internet to anyone that is a Conscientious Objector who accepts this sign to signify an individual. Please keep politics off this page, real Conscientious Objectors such as me find this offensive.

It most certainly is not! Pustelnik (talk) 03:04, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

it's best known as the CND sign: nuclear disarmament is not the same as pacifism or conscientious objection. --GwydionM 22:31, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I take it you are refering to the use of the anti-war template, which is illistrated with the peace sign (which by the way orriginated with CND rather then with neo-pagans)? Are you against the template being on this page altogether (i.e are you saying that this article is not about an anti-war topic) or are you just against it because it has that sysbol on it?--JK the unwise 09:47, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
This template has nothing to do with Conscientious Objection and is a clear political statement against current war politics in Iraq. I challenge especially the legitimacy of especially these topics listed. What do they have to do with Conscientious Objection? STOP POSTING CLEARLY POLITICAL SYMBOLS SUCH AS THE PEACE SYMBOL ON THIS PAGE.

Peace symbol
Protest song
Chants and slogans

?--tomtrinity7 14:10, 8 February 2006 (Switzerland)

Please try to read peoples comments and answer the questions they ask. Please see my comment bellow on why I beleive that an article on Conscientious Objection should be thought of as part of a the articles on the anti-war movment. Please see my comments on your talk page an on Template talk:Anti-war topics as to why I think use of the peace symbol is not POV pushing. --JK the unwise 15:43, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

No matter what I say you continue to post the peace sign. Is this a dictatorship of the left? Since I am the only real certifiable C.O. posting here, this continuing struggle only shows how the biased dominate Wikipedia. There is no reasoning with this form of web disease!!! Get the Peace symbol off this page!!!

The peace symbol comes from the anti-war series box, which is being discussed below. Ideally, that discussion should focus on the relevance of the contents of the series box; whether the current peace symbol is included should perhaps be discussed on the anti-war template talk page. --LQ 17:31, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

To the person who originally started this mini conversation: you're blatantly using the "no true Scotsman fallacy". Wiki is meant to be NPOV, not based on who is a "true conscientious objector". LeobenConoy (talk) 14:14, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Conscientious Objectors are not the Peace Movement[edit]

This page should not become the yellow pages for the current Peace Movement. A Conscientious Objector is an individual choice of conscience and is far different than being a member of a movement or simply anti-war. While there are groups that claim to be Pacifist, this does not mean they are Conscientious Objectors. For example, several Conscientious Objectors do and have served in the military. I am formally against this page becoming a listing for persons promoting the peace movement against current or future wars. There are other pages for this. Please list organizations that are not strictly Conscientious Objector organizations (e.g. C.C.C.O.) on an anti-war page.

I agree there is a difference. I haven't removed anything, but I added a link to the Peace movement. --GwydionM 17:59, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Its fine for there to be a discussion here around the appropreatenes of counting a page about Conscientious objectors as part of the articles on opposition to war. However, If you have a problem with the anti-war template being on this page please only delete it from this page do not delete the template itself. If you have a problem with the template being used at all or what appears on the template (for example the peace symbol) please raise this at Template talk:Anti-war topics.
On the topic of whether this page should have the template on it. I beleive that an article about Conscientious objectors is definatly an anti-war topic being as how the basis of Conscientious objection is opposition to the war one is being asked to fight in. It might be replyed that while this is true Conscientious objectors often only object to a particular war rather then all war. This is true but this is also true of all strands of anti-war thought. Note that many of the people who marched against the Iraq war did not nessisarly beleive there should be no wars at all (see the definition of anti-war which makes this clear).
As a gesture of good faith I will not relace the template if it is removed untill we have had some discustion.--JK the unwise 15:40, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Removal of text?[edit]

Whose idea was it to remove over half of the text in the article? I've salvaged the most important bits about conscientious objection in different countries and moved it to another article. Is this some kind of censorship, or just an attempt to keep the article at a manageable size? 08:59, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, that's me, User:JIP. Wikipedia accidentally signed me out, again. JIP | Talk 09:00, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It seems like vandalism or censorship to me.


How is it that there is so much from the US on this, and so little on elsewhere? Looks like a perfect school project to me, if someone wanted to do it. I don't know enough specifics, but I do know it was made very hard to be a CO in WW1 in Britain, with hard labour in appalling conditions that killed many. During WW2, they tended to be paramedics (the law was changed after people realised how awful WW1 was), as it put them in at least equal danger. There must be a lot on this. The US stuff was interesting, and I'm sure there must be someone looking for a project....16:59, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Ask me, I could help about the Swiss situation :) --Keimzelle 22:28, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Only military?[edit]

Have a look at William Tebb - the assertion in the BMJ that the term was introduced into English law as a result of arguments over vaccination seems likely to be true.

Did the rest of the world follow on, or evolve the concept and laws about it independently?Midgley 18:45, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Added a subsection for Britain[edit]

The article was mostly about US experience. What happened in Britain was rather different. --GwydionM 18:48, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. I'd missed it, so I added a cross-link. Someone else immediately removed it. There is a standard for cross-links, isn't there?

What's really needed is a complete re-edit. The topic in general, and then specifics for each juristiction. Not just states; Britain and Ireland had different rules in World War One.

I'm also not going to do anything so big. An opportunity for someone, though.

--GwydionM 18:29, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I've now added extra material to conscientious objection throughout the world. --GwydionM 10:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Religious motives[edit]

I added some historic background. Christian pacifism may be a minority option nowadays, but it was the original creed.

Exactly how it applied to legionaries is unclear. The martyrdom of the Theban Legion may have been because they refused to take part in pagan sacrefices. The whole event may also be fictitious, a 'pious legend'.

--GwydionM 10:49, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Early Christian pacifism is actually quite debatable. While it is true that the early Church did not condone war in any context (and the Orthodox Church maintained this stance as the Catholic Church adopted Just Wars), there is scarcely little evidence to show that Christians resisted conscription or that pagan legionaries, after converting to Christianity, objected to their profession. See Lee, A.D. War in Late Antiquity, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, ch. 7.1: "The Changing Religious Complexion of the Army".

Paul Mumm (talk) 00:18, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


The questions do seem as though they don't take into account atheist objectors, and also I remember hearing a sad account of one atheist who was abused when he tried to be an objector. Is there a history of atheist abuse? Do atheists tend to be allowed to be conscientious objectors, or do they end up being drafted anyways?

On another note, wouldn't it be neat to mention attempts to seem insane in order to not be drafted? Citizen Premier 00:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Take a look at Conscientious objection in Britain. In the second world war, you could usually avoid war service as an atheist with a philosophical objection to war (not necessarily pacifist).--GwydionM 18:18, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
In United States v. Seeger 380 U. S. 163 (1965), the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the expression "religious training and belief" includes any belief which occupies the same place or role in your life as the belief of a Supreme Being does in the life of a believer. In Welsh v United States 398 U. S. 333 (1970), the Court ruled that the religious requirement could not be limited to religious based beliefs only, as this was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. So in the United States, objection to military service that are based on moral or ethical beliefs (atheist, humanist, whatever) must be given equal weight as religious beliefs. TechBear 05:49, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
While Arndt Pekurinen had strong religious conviction, he based his objection on purely secular grounds. In this respected he could be parallelled by an atheist. He was executed in 1941 without trial because he refused from taking arms. It is widely assumed should Finland ever enter in a military crisis, a law stating death penalty from refusing to take arms will be stated immediately, and any conscientious objectors ordered to dangerous tasks, such as minesweeping.
Please give some reference for this. Finland has renounced death penalty and is party to several treaties forbidding the use of death penalty at all times. The Finnish constitution absolutely forbids the death penalty. There is no support for death penalty in any public documents on the crisis planning. The case of Arndt Pekurinen is widely condemned. At present, there are active legislative efforts by the government to clarify the war-time duties of person who have done the civil service. In the present legislation, the Finnish constitution states: "Everyone is liable to partake in the defence of the Fatherland, according to the law." The law in question is the law on readiness, which would come into force in a military or non-military crisis. According to this law, every man and woman between the ages of 16 and 65 is liable for labour duty as ordered by the labour authority. Such duty is non-military by nature and cannot be declined. However, the refusal for labour duty carries only a fine or up to six months in prison.
That for the legal standpoint. From the practical point of view, what would be the point? Finnish Defence Force has more than enough reservists as it stands. The repression of conscientous objectors would only serve to disrupt the internal cohesion and damage the Finnish image abroad. In any actual war, Finland would try to portray itself as a small democratic nation fighting against an invader. Considering the international impact of the measures you suggest, the introduction of death penalty would be counter-productive. --MPorciusCato 09:23, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
It is part of the "right of the superior" in Finland to execute an inferior in wartime for "War cowardice". The actual practice of death penalty has been illegal for long, but has still been used during wartime since abolishment for several hundred. Also, the death trials run since the abolishment of the death penalty have been outside of peace-time law, which makes it entirely irrelevant to claim that it would be illegal, as it would per definition.--[User:Dragu|Dragu]] 22:32, 11 January 2007 (EET) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:32, 11 January 2007 (UTC).

Only military service?[edit]

A conscientious objector is a person whose beliefs are incompatible with military service - perhaps with any role in the armed forces (in which case he or she is either pacifist or antimilitarist) - or who objects to a particular war. This may constitute a conflict with conscription or service.

I have added "military" in front of "service" in this paragraph because it needed to link to the right article (it linked to service in the economic sense, not even to the disambiguation page!). However, don't some conscientious objectors object to any sort of service that furthers the war effort, such as working in an ammunitions factory or serving as a medic in the armed forces? I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but shouldn't it be mentioned that conscientious objection isn't limited to "armed" service? Tamino 18:17, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

What about conscientious objection not related to war at all? For instance, the right of medical professionals to refuse to take part in an abortion, which (in the UK at least) is enshrined in law? 13:43, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Mohammed Ali[edit]

How about a note on him? He's a very famous conscientious objector. Citizen Premier 20:25, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

I applaud Ali's refusal to be inducted into the army, but I'm not sure I would classify him as a "conscientious objector." I don't believe he ever filed for conscientious objector status or claimed to be a pacifist. He certainly was willing to go to jail rather than serve in the military, but I was never clear about what aspect of his religion he used as the basis of his claim.

I would also suggest that perhaps someone else's photo might be more appropriate for this page, perhaps a more conventional conscientious objector, like the poet Robert Lowell. Bwotte (talk) 21:58, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

'army chaplains' to 'military chaplains'[edit]

(Sorry, pooched the Edit Summary.) I changed it from 'army chaplains' to 'military chaplains' for the fact that the branches of the US Military have their own Chaplains. I would assume an Air Force member would possibly go infront of Air Force Chaplains, though it may be more of a matter of what Chaplains are available. If for some reason only Army chaplains are used, it may be best to make that more clear and capitalize 'Army'.--Moriar 23:31, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Please add this info about Iran[edit]

The true Commander of all military forces in Iran is his leader(currently Khameni). The leader of Iran is Waley Faqih(Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists). There some people who refuse to serve in military due to their objections to this newly added feature to shiism(They belive Welayat Faqih is made up like Bahism and Wahhabism by Jews). In 2002 one of those guys send a letter to leader asking permiting him to marry arguing he has reached puberty and no longer could resist abstinence( It is a great sin in Islam to do sex without marrying). An Objector loses all his social rights in Iran. Surprisingly the leader accepted to let them marry. But officially if such persons are caught they will be prisoned for around 3-4 years.You can serve your draft in prison but the military judge can punish you more months. For some years the draft in Iran was sold officially from 2 to 4 thousond dallars,but this trade is stopped after recent oil boom. But Iranian who are aboard for more than two years can still buy it 5000 dollars. You can also lend 16000 dollars to government and get your passport. if you dont return you will lose your money.

Anti-war template[edit]

The editor who prefers to leave the {{Anti-war}} template off of the article page suggested on my talk page that there had been agreement here to remove it. It's not that clear to me from reading this page that there was such a consensus and I would like to open the discussion for broader input. I don't feel a big stake in either keeping it or removing it; I am more concerned about the continual removal without edit summary or other comment. Some questions that come to my mind are:

  • In what ways is the anti-war template incompatible with this page?
  • In what ways is the anti-war template appropriate for this page?
  • If the consensus is to remove it, should Conscientious objectors be removed from the template also? The editors of the template must feel it is a significant anti-war topic.

What do editors of this article feel about the appropriateness of the anti-war template? JonHarder 22:41, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The anti-war template has nothing to do with C.O.'s, it is a devisive and political symbol that does not serve to represent C.O.'s in theory nor practice. For example, I was awarded C.O. status in the military for religious reasons; by serving and by my support of the current war in Iraq shows that being a C.O. is not an anti-war topic. Being a C.O. is a position of conscience or in my case, one of faith. I share nothing in common with today's anti-war activist and resent being given this devisive mark and label to represent all C.O.'s. The peace symbol has become a signifer as an umbrella for radical political groups. The peace symbol should be removed altogether, as well as the anti-war reference, neither has any place here. Leave Conscientious Objection to those who know what it means. My problem with you Mr. Harder is you have no position and therefore should have no say; your only position here is the same as many others, that you consider yourself a wiki-policeman rather than a scholar on the subject. Do we now rule by consensus rather than the truth? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I find the fact that this is a point of contention in the first place to be somewhat amusing, since by and large, the term "conscientious objector" is used to describe those opposed to wars. So I support having the anti-war template on the page. SchuminWeb (Talk) 05:30, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Your amusement come from your misunderstanding and subsequent misinterpretation of the term. A C.O. is not anti-war, the position is more complex then that. Many C.O.'s have served this country during times of war. My discharge papers from the US Military state "Honorable Discharge." This was after being shackled, beaten and photographed for the amusement of those who could not accept my position. I had bruises on my body and I live with this knowledge now that I have to deal now with your "amusement." A position is backed up by sources, your support appears to be backed by something else? Being an activist is an a posteriori consideration to being a C.O. A C.O. is not an activist and is not anti-war. As a C.O. I support the current war in Iraq, could your non-support of the war be your motive for your support of the template? If you want to be an activist, do it somewhere else and leave the conscientious objection to the conscientious objectors. This is why wikipedia gets so much criticism because the scholars or actors who know the subject first-hand are consistently edited by persons with agendas or little to no knowledge of the subject matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

If I am interpreting this discussion correctly, objects to the anti-war template because it includes topics about the activities of anti-war activists, some of whom are seen in a bad light as radicals. In addition, the peace symbol is negatively associated with anti-war activism. sees conscientious objection as separate and distinct from activism and the two should not be confused. To Schuminweb, objecting to military service implies objecting to war which is equivalent to anti-war. The latter position, as Schuminweb notes, is logical. The former position is based on personal experience; that view is not developed in the article itself. I have some empathy for that position: I believe a good segment of WWII conscientious objectors in North America do not identify with today's anti-war movement (I have no supporting source though) while the following generation is more activist.
I personally don't have a problem with the peace symbol and at this point am leaning toward inclusion of the template.
With respect to the consensus question, it is the prefered Wikipedia route to decision making. The process works best when we assume good faith of other editors and invite their contributions, even if we might disagree. It's disappointing be told that my thoughts aren't wanted here. Of the 35 references and notes listed at the end of the article, I added 21 by my count, so my contributions to the sourced parts of this article have been non-trivial. JonHarder 03:09, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I am calling you out Mr. Harder and the others, what are your credentials and interest in editing here? Are you a conscientious objector? Are you interested in the subject matter? Are you an activist? There is no good faith here since the template dicatates the process; the page with the photo of the C.O. at the top of the page better demonstrates that being a C.O. is an INDIVIDUAL choice of conscience and has no affiliations other than an internal philosophy of mind, religion or self. If there was good faith here, the decision to remove the template would be honored and we would not be having this conversation. Should the C.O.s maintain their own reputation or allow revisional web users and wiki-police dictate their public perception with peace symbols and the like? Simply put, I am a C.O.; are you? According to you I am nothing more than a "vandal", see the irony? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:47, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Trying to stay on-topic here, I think what you are saying is that since conscientious objection is an individual, personal choice it shouldn't be associated with the anti-war template because that template is for organized anti-war movements. Is that what you are trying to say? As for honoring a past decision on this page, I believe it is: JK the unwise promised not remove the template until there has been more discussion, and I believe he has honored that. Whether and editor of this article is a CO or not, an activist or not, all are welcome to contribute to making this a better article and to join in the discussion. Excellent, dedicated editors will be found among all of those persuasions. JonHarder 01:09, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

You are wrong. By your own claims you cannot distinguish between fact and fiction. None of you know what it means to be a C.O., so you are providing web-myths to validate your revisionist claims. There is no agreement or middle ground between the truth and a lie. The template is the serpent in this garden of wiki-lies. So what is the truth Mr. Harder, are you an activist or a C.O.? Why not let a C.O. speak for the C.O.'s? The truth of conscientious objection has nothing to do with the template or the peace symbol. The template and peace symbol are web-lies when associated with conscientious objection and I call them what they are. Why would you support a lie Mr. Harder? Not in my house! C.O.'s are people, not symbols! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:52, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

It looks like we have exhausted the avenue of discussion and no frutiful progress can be made toward consensus. You are firm in your stand that the template cannot appear on the article page. I decline to label myself as either a CO or an activist; I believe my history of edits are sufficient to determine my merits as an editor.

Who are you to decide that the discussion has been exhausted? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:46, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I am not convinced by your arguments that the template should remain out of the article. I will stand with Schuminweb in this discussion and support its continued inclusion. Since no other editor appears to be supporting your view, it would be helpful for you to explain the situation to an advocate who can help you present your views in a more neutral manner. I urge you to do so. I will also be asking for an outside opinion of my role in this discussion and suggestions for the next steps, which I presume will involve replacing the template and putting this matter to rest for some months before it is revisited. JonHarder 01:14, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Imagine that, the only certifiable C.O. needs an advocate for the C.O. page! I get it...the tyranny of the peace majority! Your agenda is so apparent it stinks, go post on the anti-war page and keep your crap off this page! I am conscientiously objecting to the non-conscientious objectors dictating their collective activist peace agenda to a real C.O.! I have an idea, let's go to the native american wiki-page and insist they are all communists...think they would stand for it? The only thing that will be put to rest is your inability to objectively look at the truth! You want neutrality move to Switzerland!

I have a question, I don't understand this: "For example, I was awarded C.O. status in the military for religious reasons; by serving and by my support of the current war in Iraq shows that being a C.O. is not an anti-war topic." If you served in the military, you are not a conscientious objector. A conscientious objector (CO) is an individual following the religious, moral or ethical dictates of his or her conscience that are incompatible with being a combatant in military service, or being part of the armed forces as a combatant organization. (from the article). Hence, you are trying to cmail that you are a C.O. that is serving in the military. That should be impossible. You are also saying that a C.O can refuse to serve in the military, but still support a war. This is of course completely true. I would however want to say that somebody that supports war but still claims to have moral reasons not to serve in the army would then take up a possibly rather self-contradictory and hypocritical standpoint. --Regebro 07:37, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

That is because you have not done your research, there are several C.O.s serving in the military, there is one in the Navy that is a helicopter mechanic but refuses to load bombs or ammunition on the helicopters. Each CO draws the line in certain areas which again proves there is no complete definition of a CO; again it is an INDIVIDUAL choice! That's the problem with you wiki-people, you attempt to classify what cannot be classified, which is the same difficulty the military has. Only the military understands the complexity, respect, law, and persons involved, while wiki-posters do not. As for your last statement Regebro, tell that to the soldiers who served for Hitler, Pol Pot and the like, the difference between serving your country and serving the dictates of your conscience are a well defined area of law since Nuremberg. You cannot understand the complexities until you go through the process and discernment of being a C.O. As far as being self-contradictory or hypocritical, being the only US soldier during the period of 1988-Present to be awarded an Honorable Discharge means that the US military didnt think so. Why not turn your interest in this topic into something constructive rather than condemning people you dont understand with rhetoric we COs have heard a million times, you forgot "Communist, Coward, etc." Your logic follows....If Native Americans all live in tribes, then that makes them all communists, right? Just because a web entry is in writing doesnt make the lie true! COs are not anti-war, the one thing I always hear from fellow COs is that not one CO is like another, they all have their own reasons for their decisions. God Bless America for allowing me to live in a country that honors my decisions rather than hanging me in the public square! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

"there are several C.O.s serving in the military". You still don't explain how somebody who refuses to serve in the military can serve in the military. --Regebro 16:05, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
By my understanding, being a C.O. doesn't necessarily preclude someone from military service - merely from the part of military service to which they hold the concientous objection - i.e., combat, etc. - Geayzus 03:02, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
So you mean that if you say "Since it is wrong to kill people, I refuse to kill people. Instead I will help you kill people." and still be viewed as an objector? --Regebro 11:49, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Dear Regebro, You are stretching your moral arguement with a giant leap by saying, "If A then B, if not B then C." You have begun the process of C.O. discernment, but try not to make any hasty judgments until you have followed the logic or reasoning of your own conscience. Not everyman reaches the same conclusions, some can do this in months, for others it takes years. Remember that it was Moses who killed a man in retaliation for an attack on his brethern, despite this murder God chose Moses to deliver the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." In the Old Testament it states, "The Lord is a Man of War"; then the Lord appears in person in the New Testament declaring, "Anyone that hates their brother is a murderer." Then in Revelation He delclares that, "It is for the Lord to decide to make war." God reaches each of us for his own purpose, while you may have trouble understanding that not all parts do the same job, the parts will in the end work for the greater of the whole by Providence (the first cause). You have not reasoned past or approached the topic of freewill or fate(or what Aquinas called the second cause). Now you are beginning to understand the nuanaces of moral law. Jacob wrestled with an Angel, while philsophers posit, "The unexamined life is not worth living." YOu cannot make giant steps from A to Z, there are still 24 other letters in the alphabet. (unsigned)

Was that a yes or a no? --Regebro 17:28, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi all, I believe that the question might be considered from another direction: Does inclusion of a series box mean that the article is only and wholly a subset of that series box; or does it just indicate that the series box is one helpful facet through which to view the article. Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes notes that "Article series boxes (or navigational templates) are boxes with links to other related articles." In this instance, I think it's accurate to say that conscientious objection is related to antiwar topics, because a number of people opt for CO status as part of an antiwar movement, and/or join other antiwar movements afterwards.

However, the users above correctly point out that COs have a lot of reasons, of which anti-war is only one (and not necessarily the major one), for choosing that status. I completely understand the concerns -- also described in [[Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes]] -- that inclusion of the "anti-war topics" series box might appear to bias the article. (See "Often inadvertently push a POV and suggest that one aspect of a topic is more important than others, being used to advertise obscure topics in prominent places, or asserting project proprietorship. Many templates go to WP:TFD because they appear to push POV. Trying to remedy this by adding more series boxes might lead to the disadvantage described in the previous point.") To me, I think this article needs a military service series template as well as anti-war template; those two templates together would be balanced and not, I think, overbearing. (As for arrangement, I would put the military service template at the top, a reflection of the chronology and the fact that all COs are or were in military service, while not all COs are or were in the anti-war movement.) I'm looking for an appropriate military service template and having trouble finding one -- we may need to develop one. I'd be happy to help, if someone wants to put in a draft in a sandbox somewhere. --LQ 17:29, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

As for the peace symbol, people were objecting to it several months ago (see above). It seems to me that we ought to discuss, here, the inclusion of the series box itself -- its relevance and usefulness -- and not focus on the specifics of the series box. That could be discussed on the anti-war template talk page. --LQ 17:32, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm... I'm tempted not to get envolved in this discusion - most stuff seems to have been said and a still can't quite fathom how conscientious objection could be thought of as anything other then anti-war? say's that "COs are not anti-war, the one thing I always hear from fellow COs is that not one CO is like another, they all have their own reasons for their decisions" which sounds fair enough except if we remember what the all have their own reasons for; i.e. not fighting in (or taking part to whatever extent) millitary conflicts. At the very least this seems to involve them personaly objecting to, i.e. being against, military conflict. That is they are (at least on a personal level) anti-war.
So far so still talking past each other ... the only angle I can get on this is possibly that it stems from a differnt understanding of the term "anti-war". To me it seems like a relativly neutral term positing only opposition to war rather then suggesting any particular reasons for it. Prehaps if the template was renamed 'opposition to wars' it might be less contensious.
Resolution; I agree with LQ that having a military service template might help ease worries of POV. Also prehaps the template name could be changed to 'opposition to wars' and the symbol could be changed to a differnt one (though I doubt their is a less contentios image). LQ is right to suggest that such a conversation should take place at the anti-war template talk page--JK the unwise 18:51, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

WHY NOT LEAVE THE PAGE AS IT STANDS NOW, WITH A PHOTO OF A REAL CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR?!? Notice "Objector" is not a plural! By including the two templates you are providing the choice, but this is just the beginning of the C.O. question. I couldnt agree with Lquilter more with one adjustment: the links at the bottom of the page is where template links belong. There are two questions here: 1.) That damn peace symbol; and 2.) The two templates. I support putting the links for the templates at the bottom of the page without the templates so they do not dominate or misinterpret the page or the topic; and as for that peace symbol, drop it! It has no place here, it is a devisive and contentious symbol, it would be the same as placing a bomb icon on the military template. The military does a lot more than dropping bombs! I am not opposed to wars and I am a real C.O.! Put the choices at the bottom of the page and stop taking away the true meaning of the topic. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:12, 13 December 2006 (UTC).

Hey user: You can sign your posts with four tildes, like this: ~~~~. --LQ 02:20, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
In reply to "it would be the same as placing a bomb icon on the military template", The War template does have a picture of a tank on it! Even more relavantly the Facism template template does have a symbol used by some facists on, namely the Fasces. Symbols on templates are not promotionaly and they can rarely cover the entire spectrum of the subjects in the template. This argument should take place (and allready has to some extent) at anti-war template talk page.
A question to User: you may not oppose war in general but is it incorrect to say that you refused to fight in (or limited the amount you were prepared to take part in) the particular war that you conscientiously objected to because you objected to it? And is it not thus true that you were anti-it, i.e that with regard to that particular war you were 'anti-war'? If not in what sense did you conscientiously object? As LQ has rightly said inclusion of a series box does not imply that the article is only and wholly a subset of that series box. For example, there is an article in the series box on Opposition to the War of 1812 but having the series box in that article does not imply that the people who opposed the war of 1812 opposed all wars.
I don't agree that the template needs to go at the bottom as on many wikipedia articles topic templates are near the top.--JK the unwise 18:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Round and round you go, where you stop no one knows??? None of you are here for solutions, you are here for agendas. How about this for a proposal, that you eliminate the entire page and the conscientious objector, then your nuclear reasoning will come to the end you require. None of you are here to know the true essence of a conscientious objector, you are here to cast dispersion and play Hamm and Clov, see Beckett's "Endgame". Who is the king and who is the pawn, I wonder? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:46, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Hi User: -- Would including a "military service" template, in addition to the "anti-war template", make it clear enough, in your opinion, that CO as a topic is not associated with any single particular movement or ideology? I think that removing the template isn't the right response, because the problem is that it is in some instances associated with "anti-war", so that template is relevant. Modifying the template so it doesn't have the peace sign might be one solution, but it's not something we can (or should) resolve over just this one article. You're right to point out that the peace-sign affiliation with a movement is not always relevant, and especially since this can be a contentious topic, we should avoid appearance of POV where there is none. So the open question is, would adding a "military service" template remedy the possible appearance of bias and connection; if not, are there other possible changes you (or anyone else) could suggest? --LQ 21:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure if there is a specific template in mind for a second one, but I would not object to the {{conscription}} template. In fact, conscientious objector probably needs to be added to that template. What do others think of the conscription template? Finally, if the image is the main sticking point, we could opt for the anti-war template with a different image just for this article. JonHarder talk 03:27, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Take your fucking C.O. fiction and stick it, I am out of here, none of you want to understand the topic, you only want the consensus of your lies, goodbye! It is no wonder no true academic takes this site seriously. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:35, December 14, 2006

Why are you getting so mad? People are trying to give you time to put your argument and currently the template has been left off the page. If we didn't care what you think then we would have kept replacing the template!--JK the unwise 14:05, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

And so, despite being the "only real certifiable" Conscientious Objectors posting here - with unique insights into the views of other Objectors - it seems that never did address Regebro's reasoned and telling comment (11:49, 12 December 2006): So you mean that if you say, "Since it is wrong to kill people, I refuse to kill people. Instead I will help you kill people." And still be viewed as an objector?

From here in 2014, could it not be said that the INDIVIDUAL views of where little more than Sophistry? Or 'reasoning' that - while seemingly correct - is subtly deceptive. (talk) 21:23, 2 June 2014 (UTC)


This discussion seems to have played itself out. Let me try to summarize the main points and propose the next steps:

  • There appears to be a general feeling, save for the anonymous contributor, that the anti-war series template is applicable to this article.
    Action: it can be reinstated by any editor wishing to replace it.
  • There was some objection to placing the series box at the top. Vertical style boxes typically are placed at or near the top; horizontal style boxes appear at the bottom.
    Action: the template should be returned at or near the top.
  • There was discussion about the peace symbol image in the template representing a particular point of view. Some options for addressing this were discussed but no consensus formed.
    Action: those interested in this issue should continue the dialogue on the anti-war template talk page.
  • It was suggested that a second series box could be added for balance. Two suggestions where offered, template:War and template:Conscription, but no consensus reached.
    Action: more discussion is needed to determine if a second series box would be helpful and which template that would be.

Did I miss any major issue here? There was some discussion about conscientious objectors in active military service, but I believe that was really a separate issue, not directly related to the series box discussion. JonHarder talk 17:28, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Tx for the summary. I think that's basically it with one minor exception. I had suggested that inclusion of a military service template, in addition to the antiwar (peace sign) template, might solve potential POV appearance from the antiwar (peace sign) template. I also think it would just be appropriate. But, I don't really feel qualified to take it on right now. If someone else gets something started I'll contribute. --lquilter 08:45, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

“The peace symbol has become a signifer as an umbrella for radical political groups. The peace symbol should be removed altogether, as well as the anti-war reference, neither has any place here”. Leaving aside the high and mighty tone from defenders of the Matrix - are not such remarks a prime example of sophistry? (talk) 20:55, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

“Since I am the only real certifiable C.O. posting here, this continuing struggle only shows how the biased dominate Wikipedia. There is no reasoning with this form of web disease!!! Get the Peace symbol off this page!!!”

Another comment from a Matrix cheer-leader. And yet, if the Matrix can be likened to a system, then that system can be considered our enemy. When you're inside, look around, what do you see? Certain Wikipedia Editors and fake Conscientious Objectors? The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. For are not many of them so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it? (talk) 21:30, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Neutrality is Death and Anti-American[edit]

Stop hand.svg
JK the Unwise this is your last warning. If you continue to print neutral wiki-lies, you will be blocked from entering the Kingdom of Heaven for promoting collective lies that are contrary to the Word of God. "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matt. 16:11) - Signed, Elijah, 09:00, 18 December 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:55 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Umm .... not sure how to respond to that one!--JK the unwise 13:20, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Prior Enlistment References[edit]

Any reference to conscientious-objectors who have tried to gain that status after enlisting should be removed. If you willingly enlist in a Military service you cannont be a C-O because you have already agreed to being in possible combat or cambat area. Izzy1985 23:38, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't agree with removal on that basis because I think people can form new convictions at any stage in life. JonHarder 04:00, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. Izzy, you are being "more Catholic than the pope" here. The U.S. military, for example, sometimes grants C.O. status to someone who has a change of conviction after they are already serving. It takes a very strong, clear case, because the prima facie evidence is clearly against them, but it does happen. - Jmabel | Talk 08:16, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
CO is a specific legal status granted by the US military to folks already serving, as well as folks drafted and not yet serving. The article actually explains this. --LQ 20:19, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
True it is granted >rarely<. But legally when you sign up for service, you discredit any future attempts to gain CO status because you have consented to possible combat. I cant find the figures at the moment but, look at the applications compared to grantings over the past 10 years. Izzy1985 09:47, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
This article is on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not an American, but an international ensyclopedia. In most Western countries, (e.g. all EU countries), the right for conscientious objection is a human right based on international law. In this sense, the conscientious objection is not a phenomenon of national law but based on international justice. Because several nations reserve the right of the military persons to object to their service on moral grounds, it should be mentioned in this article. In addition, regardless what their previous moral convictions, persons may honestly change their moral beliefs. Although a particular country might refuse this right, such persons still remain COs and belong to the scope of this article.--MPorciusCato 10:13, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Then this notion of COs who are already in the service of the United States who wish to gain CO status, should be added to the Section on the United States. Izzy1985 22:48, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what text you're talking about, or what you're talking about doing with it. If it's information about people in the military wishing to withdraw, change service, or get a different assignment based on CO, then that can be applicable to many countries, including the US; it should be handled in general discussion, not just in the US. (Although it would probably be appropriate to say in the US section that in-service CO status is only rarely granted.) --LQ 23:24, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

In Britain, the situation is that Conscientious Objection is the only ground on which - AS OF RIGHT - a contracted serviceperson can leave the military before time. Everything else is discretionary. The UK, however, is the only EU country with this provision. See Professional Soldiers and the Right to Conscientious Objection in the European Unio, October 2008, available from War Resisters' International Howard Clark (talk) 09:01, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Manifesto as External Link[edit]

I think that there should be an external link to the outstanding international "Manifesto against conscription and the military system" (with a complete updated list of all signatories, 1993 to 2007), official version with one of these website addresses: (Manifesto against conscription and the military system) (Manifesto against conscription and the military system) because it has already become part of the history of conscientious objectors. Chrbartolf 12:00, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Chrbartolf

Partial rewrite[edit]

I did a partial rewrite of the Hypothetical Situations section. Lord of Light 00:39, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Hi im here to talk about conscientious objectors[edit]

Did you know that conscientious objectors tended to be men under 20 as most of these men simply 'couldn't be bothered to fight' —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC).

This talk page is for discusion of the article rather than general discusion of the topic. Unfortunatly we can't have any oringinal research, sorry.--JK the unwise 10:11, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, I think that you shouldn't just put any one consciencious objector on the article because then it looks like it's only about that person.

Reliable sources for the term dharmic religions?[edit]

Where are the reliable sources that use the term dharmic religions in the context of this article? Dharmic religions is a now deleted obscure neologism and should not be used throughout Wikipedia. Andries 15:55, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Makes sense to me not to link to a disambiguation page such as dharmic religions. JonHarder talk 18:32, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I propose to use the alternative phrase Indian religions. The number of google scholar results for "Indian religions"+"Indian religion" is (45.600 + 84.200) while it is only (492+475) for "dharmic religions" +"dharmic religion" (492+475). Andries 19:14, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2007_September_8. Andries 19:15, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
The problem with geographic terms like "Indian religions" is that these religions are not confined to the Indian subcontinent, and are not even necessarily closely associated with India. How is Zen -- a sect that was born in China and is, in its modern form, often thought of as Japanese -- an "Indian" religion? That's like calling Mormonism a Middle Eastern religion. 14:38, 13 October 2007 (UTC)


The section 'Alternatives_for_objectors' section is so slanted I had to wear a tether just to read it! IdLoveOne 22:03, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

That is a fairly large section. Can you be more specific about which parts are a problem for you? JonHarder talk 23:55, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Probably talking about that first paragraph. Panzer V Panther 16:34, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
The first paragraph seems to imply that conscientious objectors who are denied the opportunity of alternative service resort to "draft dodging." That was not my experience as an objector to the Vietnam war. My experience was that pacifists who were denied conscientious objector status usually went to prison for refusing induction. Non-pacifists whose objections were based on principled political beliefs were also imprisoned. "Draft dodging" was resorted to by individuals who objected to fighting a particular war but were uncertain as to their religious or political beliefs — for example, many opponents of the Vietnam War would have been willing to serve in World War II. I may rewrite the paragraph if no one has an opposing view. Bwotte (talk) 22:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Introduction contradicts itself[edit]

In the Introduction section: "A 1971 United States Supreme Court decision broadened U.S. rules beyond religious belief"

Two paragraphs down: "In the United States, there are three criteria for classification as a conscientious objector. [...] Second, he must show that this opposition is based upon religious training and belief"

This is impossible - if the opposition must be based on religious belief, it can't have been broadened beyond religious belief, and vice versa! Perhaps someone who knows which of the claims is true could be kind enough to remove the false one. 14:29, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

what about today? and with those who are already in the army when they object? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Trouble viewing "United States of America" section[edit]

The part where there's a numbered list which displays questions for conscientious objectors to answer does not display correctly, because the orange/yellow box to the immediate left is overlapping the numbers. I'm not sure how to correct, or I would do it myself right now 11:12, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done -- User:MHM-en

Should this be Iraq War?[edit]

Immigration to Canada
Some objectors to the Iraq War chose Canada as a place of refuge in part because of the closeness of the Canada–United States border, entry to Canada is easy and because of the precedence set by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in allowing draft dodgers into Canada without prosecution during the Vietnam War.

The context of this paragraph, from section 3.1.1 (Immigration to Canada), is drafties, and I know that neither of Iraq Wars were draft wars. Looking at the article history it has been that way for at least a month (if not longer). I am thinking that should be Vietnam War, but since I know nothing about the subject, just wanted to make sure. BeckyAnne(talk) 06:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

United States, Immigration/Emigration to Canada.[edit]

I altered the heading line about a week ago to read "Emigration", and had the edit reverted by JonHarder. I've restored it to Emigration. The prepositional choice (to/from) has no bearing here, the difference is made by whether the focus is on the origin or the destination. Since it's a subsection on American Objectors, I believe the fact that they're leaving the US is more significant than the fact that they're entering Canada. If we were talking about Objectors from multiple places taking refuge in Canada, immigration would be the correct term, and the heading should go under Canada's section. Lorpius Prime (talk) 02:43, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Conscription in Northern Ireland[edit]

From the article: "British conscription in WWII did apply to Northern Ireland"

Is this statement accurate? Sites like 1 2 3 4 seem to dispute it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Story about southern quakers and firing squad?[edit]

I am extremely interested by this story and would love it if someone could provide more detailed information or sources about the topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:31, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

In the section, the following was originally there:

Nevertheless, three Quakers were sentenced to death for refusing to bear arms in the Confederate Army, but a firing squad refused to fire on them after one called out "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" as Jesus had on the cross. They were pardoned and marched into the Battle of Gettysburg with rifles strapped onto their bodies, emerging unscathed.

A quick Google search ( ) shows a variation of this story, complete with a Quaker person, conscientious objection, a botched execution, a firearm put on to someone, and Gettysburg. This to me indicates very strongly the entire story is hearsay (regardless of the fact the website's story was blatant hearsay also), and at the very least, unverifiable considering there's no additional information I can get. So, I removed the passage, unless someone wants to prove it's true. LeobenConoy (talk) 14:18, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Current legal situation - misleading information[edit]

The "Current legal situation" section talks about filing CO claims upon initial Selective Service System registration. This is misleading, as the U.S. SSS does not in fact currently provide a mechanism for registering as a CO (this is mentioned at Conscription in the United States). The "Claim documentation Form - Conscientious Objector" (SSS Form 22) is only officially accepted once the individual has actually been instructed to report; if one attempts to send it in preemptively with the SSS registration, it is returned with a letter informing the individual that the SSS does not register CO status at this time. (Some digging around at my parents' house could probably find my copy of said letter.) John Darrow (talk) 06:18, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

"They never called me . . ." (Muhammad Ali quote)[edit]

I intentionally changed the quote under Muhammad Ali's photo to avoid writing out the n-word (the offensive ethnic slur). Someone went in just now and changed the link from [[The n-word|n****r]] to use the actual word — giving "fixing double redirect" as their reason. I stand by my original edit, and my belief that there is no need to write out the ethnic slur here, even in a quotation (or a wikilink). Some may call me a prude (and I probably am), but I think it's perfectly proper to avoid writing words like this — even in markup text — if a less blatantly offensive alternative is available (as is the case here). Although I'm strongly tempted to just go in and boldly revert the text in question back to what I originally wrote, I decided it would be better to ask others for their opinions. What do you think? Richwales (talk) 02:03, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, did he say "...they never called me a n****r"? Or did he actually use the word? C. Adam Kuhn (talk) 12:23, 31 Oct 2009 (UTC)

There seems to be this idea around that the word itself is sort of impure. Of course this, begging your pardon, (prude, indeed) nonsense. Being a Catholic I may not say "Crucifix!", but nothing is wrong here too to write that I may not say it. If Mr Ali said, "they never called me with the word that is so offensive that I do not want to utter it, and which begins in N", we should write that. If he said, "they never called me nigger", we should write that.-- (talk) 15:49, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Obama and the concept of Selective Conscientious Objection[edit]

Greetings NotFromUtrecht:

I noticed that you deleted an entire paragraph from the section “Selective conscientious objection” giving the reason “Obama's speech about going to war in Iraq not relevant to conscientious objection”

I should point out that the paragraph was not about the entire speech, but rather one statement/concept within that speech. That concept can be described as “selectively objecting” to some wars but not all wars. That concept was clearly stated in that speech, when Obama stated "I don't oppose all wars....What I am opposed to is a dumb war…"

Without having been give specifics, I am unable to discern your specific reason for deletion. But below are four guesses:

1. Semantics:

I’m wondering if you troubled by the semantics and terminology of the word “conscientious objector. Is this a question of being true to the traditional common usage of the term “conscientious objector” as has been established through its long history? If so, then I would like to remind you that all language is in a continual state of evolution.

Perhaps you would like to see a distinction made between the common usage of the term as used in Basic English, and the Legal English usage of the term.

Obama used the word, “oppose,” which is similar to the word “object” The word “object” is found in the title of the entire article “conscientious objector.”

Also, the concept of “selectivity” is clearly there in the quote. The title of this section has the word “selective” in it.

2. Practice versus theory of Obama

I am wondering whether you were troubled by the practice versus the theory of Obama.

To clarify my paragraph, (in response to what I am guessing your objection to be) I will now add content about Clifford Cornell.

3. Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia

Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia

There are a substantial number of Wikipedia editors who follow the philosophy of inclusionism. Part of that philosophy is that is better to add to an article and clarify it, rather than delete it. See WP:NOTPAPER

4. Other

The quote was stated by a notable person.

Non-criteria for deletion: WP:NOTCSD

Boyd Reimer (talk) 12:16, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for setting out your reasons so clearly, I appreciate it! I think the point is that the paragraph confuses being selectively anti-war with being a selective conscientious objector. Conscientious objection is defined by the article's lead paragraph as a refusal to participate by individuals in combat. This is not the same as simply 'objecting' to a war, and is a much more narrowly-defined type of opposition. Obama's speech does not discuss the issue of individuals' refusal to participate in combat: it simply considers the much broader question of whether Iraq should be invaded, and was made in the context of a protest against Congress's resolution authorizing the invasion. The quotation ("I don't oppose all wars....What I am opposed to is a dumb war") and indeed the entire speech say nothing about conscientious objection itself, but are simply a general expression of Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq. Whether this opposition is selective or not does not change its irrelevance to the article.

The new material on Clifford Cornell is relevant but, for the reasons given above, I don't think the first part of the paragraph (ie the bit that I deleted) can be taken as a statement of Obama's policy or ideological stance towards conscientious objection. The 2002 speech is not, therefore, relevant to Cornell's case. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 13:43, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Greetings NotFromUtrecht

I appreciate your contribution to this discussion. I appreciate that you have attempted to clarify yourself.

I, too, am interested in clarity as you will see below:

About two kinds of objection:

First, in your reply to me you italicized the word “individual.”

My response: Obama used the word “I,” thus grammatically referring to himself as an “individual.”

Second, you said, “Obama’s speech …simply considers the much broader question of whether Iraq should be invaded”

My response: As soon as Obama used the word “I,” then he did more than that.

Third, you stated, “Obama's speech does not discuss the issue of individuals' refusal to participate in combat:”

My response: Again, Obama used the word “I.”

Therefore I have assumed that, at a minimum, he spoke of his own objection to his own participation. (At least, at a minimum)

It is logical to assume that one’s own objection to a war entails one’s own objection to one’s own participation in that war. (At least, at a minimum)

After all, it would seem strange (and perhaps even contradictory) for Obama to object to the participation of others and yet not object to his own participation.

About Broad categories and Sub-categories

This particular section heading is about “Selective Conscientious Objection.”

The fact that this is a separate section, and a sub-category, means that within this category we are allowed a definition of “conscientious objection” which is slightly different from the rest of the broader article. (“Different” as long as it is a subcategory of the main category.)

This encyclopaedia article is analogous to an entry in a dictionary: Dictionaries list several definitions under one word.

"Selective Conscientious Objection" is about objecting to a specific war. The word “specific” (“selective”) is all-important in this discussion.

To avoid confusion, there is the option of creating an entirely new and distinct article with that title. I would support the creation of such a new article. However, if such a new article were created I would insist that, like dictionaries, this broader article should still at least refer to its subcategories.

Was the quote taken out of context?

Was the quote taken out of context from his whole speech? No. The act of “taking something out of context” means that the essential meaning of a statement is categorically distorted if it is not taken together with its context. For clarity's sake, I would like to point out four such "categories":

1. The objection of an individual to all wars

2. The objection of an individual to a specific war

3. The objection of a group to all wars

4. The objection of a groups to a specific war

Obama is an individual who made an “I” statement which selectively objected to a specific war. Therefore he fits into # 2, --not #4 as you seemed to imply in your response.

Boyd Reimer (talk) 15:32, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I think you're doing a lot of original research there. As I said in my first answer, there is nothing explicitly about conscientious objection in Obama's speech. To assume (your word, not mine) that he would probably become a conscientious objector in the extremely hypothetical event of him being asked to participate in the war in Iraq is to add a lot of subjective interpretation to the speech -- this is an interpretation that I would obviously disagree with, not that it matters what my opinion is. Just because Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq was presented in first-person terms does not entail (as you state) that he would be a conscientious objector. These are two complete different stances, and the speech only engages explicitly with the first of them. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 09:41, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Reply from Boyd Reimer

Greetings NotFromUtrecht:

I am trying to understand the perspective you are coming from. Could it be that you are speaking of the etymology of the word “conscientious objector?” If so, forgive me for not explaining myself more clearly in my first comment about semantics and terminology, in which I discussed the traditional use of the term "conscientious objector."

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough: My position is that, in this case, for the purpose of conveying meaning, the concept of the word "object" is more important than the etymology of the word "conscientious objector." (A concept is a cognitive unit of meaning.)

You said, “there is nothing explicitly about …objection in Obama’s speech,” and yet Obama’s speech explicitly contains the word “oppose.”

You then refer to “two complete different stances,” as if the word “oppose” and “object” are “two complete different stances.”

Frankly, I don't understand how you arrived at that conclusion --given that the word “oppose” is defined by Wiktionary (in definition #2 of the two definitions), as "to object to."

According to Wiktionary (not my own original research), in common parlance, the concept of “objection” is virtually the same as the concept of “opposing.”

Conceptually, they are virtually the same. In this discussion of semantics, it is my position that concepts matter more than etymology in our efforts towards an expression of meaning.

Boyd Reimer (talk) 20:00, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

The person who made this edit obviously has not read the above discussion.
Boyd Reimer (talk) 19:43, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Separate sections used for "non-combatant roles" and "selective conscientious objection"[edit]

Greetings User:SummerWithMorons:

Thank you for your contributions. Two heads are always better than one.

I noticed that you created a new section with the heading "Compromising forms." Within that section you discuss “Accepting non-combatant roles during conscription." But you also put, within that category, a sub-heading "selective conscientious objection."

“Accepting non-combatant roles during conscription” is very different than “conscientious objection to particular wars” (See footnote)

"Conscientious objection to particular wars" is not a "compromising form" of conscientious objection because it still fully meets the following definition of "conscientious objection" for that particular war:

A conscientious objector (CO) is an “individual [who has] claimed the right to refuse to perform military service."[1]

(Notice that that definition is referenced. See below.)

An individual who "refuses to perform military service" in a particular war (as opposed to all wars) is still "refusing to perform military service."

Nonetheless the phrase "non-combatant role" is ambiguous enough so that the reader might inadvertently think that that "role" is still "military service. But there is no ambiguity in an individual who "refuses to perform military service" in a particular war.

The above means that “accepting non-combatant roles during conscription” is very different than “conscientious objection to particular wars”

That is my rationale for separating them under separate section headings of the same level. This re-organizes the section you created which is titled "Compromising forms."

Previously one section heading was treated as a category for the other. (ie with one at a higher level than the other) This Wikipedia guideline says, that section headings should, "allow readers to navigate through the text more easily." It follows from this, that section headings should be logical. In the above discussion, I have provided that logic and that rationale.


On June 4, 1967, an address was given at Western Maryland College, USA by John Courtney Murray, S. J. concerning a more specific type of conscientious objection: “the issue of selective conscientious objection, conscientious objection to particular wars, or as it is sometimes called, discretionary armed service.”[2]

Again, thank you for your contributions.

Boyd Reimer (talk) 19:24, 9 January 2010 (UTC)


The sentence "a fine roughly equal to the time they would have spent in military drill" doesn't seem to make much sence. How does an amount of money equal a period of time? Maybe someone who has access to the source (Gingerich) could improve this. -- (talk) 08:03, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Tag for "Additional Citations" should be more specific[edit]

There is a tag for "Additional Citations" at the top of the entire article. It should be more specific: For example it should instead be placed in a specific section, and that will suffice. (It doesn't have to be placed both in the section, and at the top of the entire article.) Also, I couldn't find any discussion to specify where the tag is needed. The entire article already has 92 citations. Therefore I am removing the non-specific tag at the top of the article. - Boyd Reimer (talk) 16:00, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Tag for "Worldwide view" appears unnecessary[edit]

The tag at the top of the entire article for "Worldwide view" appears unnecessary. Whoever put it there, please try to be more specific, such as place it in a specific section if necessary. Thanks. (Also there is no discussion to specify where it is needed.) The article as a whole already documents conscientious objectors in 16 countries/regions. Therefore I am removing the tag from the article as a whole. - Boyd Reimer (talk) 16:08, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Hey, wake up! Czechoslovakia more than 20 (!) years ago breaked off. From 1/1/1993. there is a Czech Republic and a Slovak Republic in Centre-Europe. Regards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gyalogbreki (talkcontribs) 01:06, 17 November 2013 (UTC)


Why is Obama mentioned in the article? He never refused service and is therefore not a conscientious objector. I'm sure there are plenty of articles to discuss his viewpoints and actions regarding Iraq, however this article is definitely not one of them. ccwaters (talk) 18:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Kennedy quote[edit]

  Does anyone have an actual source for the John F Kennedy quote?  I strongly suspect it's a piece of folklore; the existing citations for the quote are oddly weak.  While it is clearly supported that people want to believe that Kennedy said this, it is not clearly supported that he actually said or wrote this.  
  The only source offered here or anywhere seems to be "letter to a friend", with no name, no date, no location, and no circumstances. (talk) 16:07, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
The Muhammad Ali quote also seems to be misattributed. (talk) 11:47, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Hollobone private member's bill[edit]

"In 2013 a private member's bill was introduced to the UK parliament to bring back National Service. The bill was sponsored by the Conservative MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone." In order for this new bit of info to be relevant here, there needs to be some discussion of how (if at all) this bill will address conscientious objection. And, if possible, this should be done by citing a secondary source (such as a newspaper or magazine article), rather than simply citing the bill itself on Parliament's web site. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 18:33, 9 September 2013 (UTC)