As a historic peace church, Mennonites have a long tradition of conscientious objection to military service. Before World War II, leaders of peace churches secured legal exemption from military service for anyone who “by reason of religious training and belief is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.”
Here are resources for churches to help their youth think through their beliefs on military service and help them prepare for the possibility of a draft.
Think in terms of leading a study on conscientious objection every year, alternating between Ben’s Story and Decide for Peace. Don’t worry about repeating this material with the same students; two years is a long time in a teen’s life.
FOR THE LEADERS
Lead the 6-session study, Ben’s Story. Six videos with a lesson plan provided for each one.
The video, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, tells stories of conscientious objectors and includes a CO Handbook and Guide to the Draft. It would go well with the Bible study above.
Behind the camouflage: A primer on military enlistment for youth pastors, mentors and counselors is a free online resource that equips pastors, sponsors and mentors to give good counsel, both practical and spiritual, to youth who are considering military enlistment.
FOR THE YOUTH
Make a copy of each of the following for each youth.
How to create a CO File2021
Christian Peacemaker Registration Form
a short version for youth; they can type directly into this Word document
Formulario de Inscripcion como Pacificador
the form above in Spanish. Youth fill out the last two pages.
- Joshua Casteel: How I became a CO
- Profiles: Logan Mehl-Laituri, Joe Gibson
- Peace and Justice Support Network resources
- Registration and Conscientious Objection
- Christian Peacemaker Registration Form – MCC’s longer version with commentary
- Mennonite Central Committee – resources on conscientious objection
- Center on Conscience and War
- Civilian Public Service