Stated Clerk writes churchwide letter on conscientious objectors

By request of the 218th General Assembly (2008), Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons has written a letter to “every congregation and presbytery in the denomination” in response to referral 11-22, “On Supporting Those Who Feel Called to Seek Status as Conscientious Objectors.”

The action of the assembly reaffirmed the church’s position on the freedom of conscience, especially as it relates to a person’s status as a conscientious objector against participating in the armed services.

As a result of the action, the Office of the Stated Clerk is prepared to register active members, baptized members, and active nonmembers of congregations as conscientious objectors.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and its predecessor denominations, has long recognized that
followers of Jesus Christ make different choices in regard to military service. One way Christians can be faithful is through service in the armed forces. The General Assembly’s first statement in support of conscientious objection as an option for people of faith was made in 1930. In 1969, the General Assembly made a statement in support of selective conscientious objection, which means that objection to a particular war judged by the individual conscience to be wrong is a moral obligation that may stem from Christian just-war teaching.

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