Before filling out the Conscientious Objector Registration Form, please read the following:
Supplement to the Christian Conscientious Objector Registration*
- The Christian Conscientious Objector Registration form is not an official claim for conscientious objector status. However, the form contains questions which are similar to questions that the Selective Service requires of all applicants for conscientious objector status.
- Take time to study scriptures which discuss peacemaking such as Matthew 5:38-48, John 18:36, Romans 5:5, Romans 12:18-21, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, James 2:8, and 1 Peter 2:23 and 1 Peter 4:1
- Study the section entitled “The Ethics of the Kingdom” from Conservative Mennonite Statement of Practice (2007). Discuss your beliefs with your pastor, youth adviser, and your family before completing the form.
- Keep your statements personal. This is about your beliefs. You may use scripture verses or references to church statements, but always be sure to connect them to your life.
- Keep your statements focused on your objection to participate in war and military service. You don’t need to explain the nature of God or resolve the problems of suffering.
- It is important to show that your beliefs are deeply held, not just handed down to you from your parents or your church.
- Under current law, all males living in the US must register for a potential draft for military service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Registration forms are available at any US post office. It is not possible to officially request conscientious objector status at the time of registration. However, you may write on the Selective Service registration “I am a conscientious objector. I believe war in any form is wrong.” Completing the Christian Conscientious Objector Registration form is one way to document your convictions and give evidence of your sincerity and long term commitment to peace. Another way to document your CO beliefs is to send yourself a post card through the US Postal Service stating your beliefs. This will give you a government entity-stamped date on your status.
- According to Selective Service guidelines, you do not need to belong to a church or religious group that supports conscientious objection in order to be classified as a conscientious objector. Neither is conscientious objector status guaranteed if you belong to such a group. Conscientious objection is a deeply-held personal conviction that must be clearly articulated by an individual whose life gives evidence of a sincere commitment to peace.
- Alternative service is work that conscientious objectors perform instead of military service. This work is often done in the context of a church or other non-profit agency. Alternative service would only be required if there was a draft and individuals would be required to perform alternative service if they were drafted, and then classified as conscientious objectors.
*Parts of this supplement were adapted from material found on the website of Mennonite Central Committee.
Click here to get a copy of the form.