Conscientious Objection

Booth Conversations at GA

We have invited several outstanding peace leaders to join us at the PPF Booth in the exhibit hall during the week. Please come meet them and join the discussion!

Visit Us at Booth #631 in the Exhibit Hall

 


Monday, July 5 2:00 PM
"Heeding God’s Call: Preventing Gun Violence in the US"
Rick Ufford-Chase , Executive Director of Peace Fellowship

 

Truth Commission on Conscience in War

By Bill Galvin

On March 21 and 22, approximately 500 people gathered in the sanctuary of the historic Riverside Church for the public hearing portion of the Truth Commission on Conscience & War. Celeste Zappala, one of the founders of Gold Star Families Speak Out, spoke of her son’s death in Iraq and the impact it had on her family and community. Tyler Boudreau, a former Marine Captain and Iraq war veteran, observed that many combatants have to believe, “the action they were part of must have been justified, or else there’s something wrong with what I did, and that’s too hard to bear.” And the ever engaging Josh Casteel, Army CO and former Abu Ghraib interrogator, observed, “There is no such thing as a private conscience. Conscience is inherently public and political.” Some of the testimony was in the form of excerpts from the movie Soldiers of Conscience.

Collatoral Murder? A soldier speaks out

The sensational video "Collatoral Murder" has been circulating widely online, showing U.S. troops in Iraq firing on civilians. Josh Stieber was a member of Bravo Company 2-16 and remembers the incident portrayed in the video.

If you call this a heartless murder, I think that you’re being overly self-righteous. If you question the very nature of the machines that we trap ourselves in and our goals for doing so, then we can learn something from this video.

Pacifist youth gain right to opt out of military in Colombia

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed the Colombian Supreme Court’s decision to allow Colombians to opt out of obligatory military service because of religious, moral, or philosophical objections.

Iraq Vet turned Conscientious Objector travels the country seeking alternatives to war

Josh, an Iraq War Veteran turned conscientious objector, is walking across the country to raise awareness for organizations that work for peace.

The following is an excerpt from his blog, Contagious Love Experiment

The basic idea is this…

When I got out of high school, I saw some real problems in the world and figured I’d do what I could to solve them. So I joined the US Army as an infantryman, wanting to be on the front lines of destroying my nation’s and my religion’s enemies. Back then, I thought military action was one of the only legit ways to solve problems; back then, I thought military might was synonymous to God’s will.

"Soldiers of Conscience" now viewable online

The superb film, "Soldiers of Conscience," is now available in its entirety for free as a streaming online video until November 18th: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/soldiersofconscience/fullfilm.html

"Soldiers of Conscience is a dramatic window on the dilemma of individual U.S. soldiers in the current Iraq war — when their finger is on the trigger and another human being is in their gunsight. Made with cooperation of the U.S. Army and narrated by Peter Coyote, the film profiles eight American soldiers, including four who decide not to kill, and become conscientious objectors and four who believe in their duty to kill if necessary. The film reveals all of them wrestling with the morality of killing in war, not as a philosophical problem, but as soldiers experience it — a split-second decision in combat that can never be forgotten or undone."

PPF's GA Summary

PC(USA) takes strong action for peace.

As divisions around issues of sexuality continue to dominate conversations in the wake of the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA), our church has demonstrated remarkable unity in its collective call to peacemaking. In fact, on many issues there was such consensus among commissioners that little or no discussion was offered in plenary sessions. We want to highlight the many ways our denomination adopted policies that will strengthen its larger witness for peacemaking in our broken world.

GA passes several strong actions for peace

The 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) has taken action on several recommendations from the committee on Peacemaking and International Issues, concerning the Philippines, Colombia, Conscientious Objectors, and Israel/Palestine:

Committee has soul-searching discussion of war in Iraq

by Shane Whisler
Presbyterian News Service

SAN JOSE, June 23, 2008 — The General Assembly Peacemaking and International Issues Committee quickly and unanimously voted on its first two overtures, then approved two others before settling into thorough and soul-searching hearings and discussion for hours on overtures related to the war in Iraq.

Items approved are listed at the end of this article.

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