Dicates of conscience

Nov 6, 2017 by

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Historians and the media are remembering the First World War, which members of my family dealt with 100 years ago. One of my uncles was drafted into the Army; an attempt to obtain a farm deferment was not successful. After a year of mess-hall duties at Fort Riley in Kan­sas, he consoled himself with the awareness that he was serving the needs of his fellow recruits by feeding them. He might have been influenced by the thinking of Wisconsin Sen. Rob­ert M. LeFollette, who maintained that “the thoughtful objector was opposed to the war, not to the soldiers in the war.”

It is hard for me to believe that those who follow Jesus would credit veterans for protecting the freedom of anyone’s conscience. Veterans and objectors both have histories written with blood and tears. Both yearn for respect.

No one conscientiously opposed to war should be forced to choose between breaking the law and violating his or her conscience. Maryland Sen. Charles Mathias held that “a democratic society ought to be able to provide a way for people to obey the law, pay 100 percent of their taxes and still remain faithful to the dictates of conscience.” Would you agree?

Donald D. Kaufman
North Newton, Kan.

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