Monday, February 17, 2014


The hope is still, in need of much saving grace, to become a mighty league
a Catholic Peace Fellowship

4.  Have you ever given expression publicly or privately, written or oral, to the views herein expressed as the basis for your claim?  Give examples.
The response to this last requested item of my 1968 C.O. application [see previous entry for format] was as follows.

4.            I am a member of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and have signed their petition to the President stating my position on participating in the military.  I have explained my position to many acquaintances I have had, such as follow students and a businessman of the Jackson Council of Human Relations.

                I avail myself of every opportunity to discuss my position with others.  In a sermon at St. John Student Parish in East Lansing, I mentioned conscientious objection as one of the questions about which Catholics should specifically concerned themselves, and I have shared my ideas with a driver who picked me up once on my way hitchhiking home to Jackson.

                I have tried to make the influence of my religious convictions felt in every area of my life.  Responsible participation in politics is one instance.  I will vote for the first time this year and want to share my ideas with other so that my vote doesn't just reflect a simple concern.  My employment has always been a job in which I've had a chance to be of service to people.  The three summers working with the Mexican-American migrants in the rural parish of St. Nicholas Church in Capac, Mich., gave me the chance to share my knowledge as to how educational and vocational programs can be made available to specific segments of its communities.  The dignity of disadvantaged peoples can be strengthened by showing them how they can act on behalf of themselves.  I am now employed by the Institute of Community Development at M.S.U. to help distribute information which will help the people of different races and subcultures to understand one another better. 

I have also volunteered for many church projects.  I taught the summer bible school at St. John’s high school the summer after graduating from there.  While at St. John’s I was active in a young people’s discussion group (Young Christian Students) and in my first year of college at Sacred Heart I continued to be involved in this organization as a moderator for high school groups at an inner-city parish.  In these sessions our attention was directed at relating the beliefs of our faith to the events of our lives.

One of the most powerful experiences in my recent months was the political campaign and its climax at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  I went to Chicago having worked hard for Gene McCarthy and with the desire to peaceably express my faith in his stand on the issues.  While I was there I felt a spirit of community with most all of the young people there, but putting aside the question of whose fault, I realized that violence could be the result of the situation.  For this reason I marched only with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because I knew their policy to be one of passive demonstration and non-provocation.  Sharing the brotherhood offered by these black people and other members of the Poor People’s Campaign has helped me experience the way this belief in non-violence can bring people closer together and aid them in a true expression to others.

This cartoon, published in the New Zealand Observer in July 1916, satirizes the 'newborn conscientious objector'
The challenge is to eliminate this perception, and replace it with one's personal commitment
to follow Jesus the eternally courageous peacemaker.
“…it is in prayer that we encounter Jesus, who is our peace, and learn from him the way to peace.” #290 from the U.S. Bishops' 1983, "the Challenge of Peace"

There is now no draft--except the 'economic draft' that looms over the poor, and increasingly the middle class.  There is no direct threat of incarceration, except for those who experience the hell of war, after signing up, and then want no part of it.
For those who don't sign up, there still should be a conscious choice.  It should not be just an opt-out, of convenience.  All, rich and poor, believer and nonbeliever, should have a period of service for the common good.
Those who choose the way of Jesus over the military's mission, must enter a lifelong service to work for justice and peace by practicing the works of mercy in their families and communities.  As Martin Luther King said, "Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people."

"We cannot fail to praise those who renounce the use of violence in the vindication of their rights and who resort to methods of defense which are otherwise available to weaker parties." Vatican II, Church in the Modern World (1965) 78

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."  --JFK  

Let’s take the first steps into that distance, with commitments to fund peacemaking that rival the billions spent on the military industrial complex.  

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