Anti-War/Conscientious Objectors

Group Convenors:

Bruce Freeman:
Dana Grubb:

What We Do:

This Action Group focuses developing an awareness on the history of war, the reasons behind war, whether a “just” war can be fought, anti-war initiatives, waging peace, war technology changes, and conscientious objection, and taking action where possible. News briefs will be posted here and on EPF ‘s Facebook page on related subjects.

The Resource Guide that follows will be occasionally updated. We invite your suggestions for additions!

Episcopal General Convention Resoutions:

*(partial list from GC only. Use this link for complete access)

What the Episcopal Church Says About: War

2018-B013-Directs public policy advocacy for an arms embargo, humanitarian relief, and a political solution affecting the crisis in Yemen and encourages ERD to address water access and other relief and development work in the region.

2018-B024-Urges continued support for the churches of Sudan and of South Sudan to strengthen peace between their nations; to make a priority of outreach to emigres from these nations, and to authorize the Government Relations Office to advocate for a cessation of the civil war.

2018-D027-Call on US Government to Cooperate with Investigations into Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights Violations

2018-D051-Urge the US to Recommit to the Iran Nuclear Deal
2015-A048-Study the Application of the Just War Principles to the Current Practice of Warfare
2015-B018-Commend Efforts for Peace in Sudan and South Sudan

What the Episcopal Church Says About: Drone Weapons

2015-A047- Address Moral and Spiritual Healing from Traumatic Stress Injuries
2015-A048- Study the Application of Just War Principles to the Current Practice of Warfare
2012-A017- Request a Report on the Military Use and Ethics of Drone Aircraft

What the Episcopal Church Says About: Conscientious Objection

2015-A047-Address Moral and Spiritual Healing from Traumatic Stress Injuries
1991-D053- On the Topic of Military Tax Resistance (Rejected)
1991-D054-On the Topic of Conscientious Objection and Registration of Objectors (Rejected)

1988-D017- Support Conscientious Decisions Regarding Individual Participation in War

1982 GC- “…Resolved [That] this Conference . . . declares its belief that nonviolent refusal to participate in or prepare for war can be a faithful response of a member of this Church and a decision to support or participate in war should be made only after careful and prayerful consideration.” (Resolutions, 1982)

General Resources

EPF National - In addition to resources below, occasional news, statements, sermons, writings, etc. (e.g., )

UN Should Create New Yemen War-Crimes Investigation 

Peace Action - “At Peace Action, we believe that war is not a suitable response to conflict, that every person has the right to live without the threat from nuclear weapons and that the United States has the resources and responsibility to both protect and provide for the people who live here.”

Cleveland Peace Action - Cleveland Peace Action uses citizen petitions, educational forums, demonstrations, vigils and press conferences to promote its goals of nuclear disarmament, redirection of military spending to
social programs, global cooperation, and human rights.

Win Without War - “We believe that by democratizing U.S. foreign policy and providing progressive alternatives, we can achieve more peaceful, just, and common sense policies that ensure that all people — regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, or economic status —  can find and take advantage of opportunity equally and feel secure.”

Cross Before Flag - Episcopal Statements on War and Peace - “CROSS BEFORE FLAG includes resolutions and other official statements which bear directly on war, peace and violence, and the development of conscience in relation to war and violence. It is not meant to be an exhaustive collection of resolutions on public issues. Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Chicago, 2005. EPF Cross Before Flag Brochure

Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare - “The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare grew out of two developments: the formation of the DC-based Interfaith Working Group on Drone Warfare with many faith groups participating in spring 2014; and the first Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare in January 2015 at Princeton Theological Seminary, facilitated by the Princeton-based Peace Action Education Fund. The Network is continuing the work in the faith community, seeking to deepen understanding and bring significant spiritual insight to that emerging major issue.” (INDW). Includes faith-based study guides and videos.

Episcopal Church Resources for Conscientious Objector Registry - The Church stands with its members as they make decisions in this area of their lives, providing pastoral support to Conscientious Participants, Selective Conscientious Objectors, Conscientious Objectors, and Conscientious Resisters. The decision to participate or not to participate in the armed forces and in any particular war situation that may occur while they are in the armed forces has consequences for the rest of a person’s life.

War Resisters' International -  “A global network of Grassroots Antimilitarist and Pacifist Groups Working Together for a World Without War- WRI is primarily a network of organizations, groups and individuals. We facilitate mutual support, by
     • Linking people together through publications, events and actions
     • Initiating nonviolent campaigns that actively involve local groups and individuals
     • Supporting those who oppose war and who challenge its causes
     • Promoting and educating people about pacifism and nonviolence”

Conscientious Objection in America - Primary Sources for Research – “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” (Schopenhauer) “The New York Peace Society, founded in 1815 by David Low Dodge, was the first official peace society in America, but the true story of pacifism should begin with certain Native Americans who wished to live in peace. Since then, hundreds of peace groups and thousands of individuals have worked to promote peace and work against war, violence and injustice, following the voice of their consciences -- sometimes to the point of persecution and imprisonment.” (web page).2

Fellowship for Reconciliation:United States Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA) was founded in 1915 by sixty-eight pacifists, including A. J. Muste, Jane Addams and Bishop Paul Jones, and claims to be the "largest, oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the United States."[1] Norman Thomas, at first skeptical of its program, joined in 1916 and would become the group's president. Its programs and projects involve domestic as well as international issues, and generally emphasize nonviolent alternatives to conflict and the rights of conscience.”

Center on Conscience and War (CCW)
- Founded in 1940 and based in Washington, D.C., “…the Center on Conscience & War is a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of conscience, opposes military conscription, and serves all conscientious objectors to war.”

Just Cause for War-Jeff McMahan - In his essay he advances “…a conception of the requirement of Just Cause that is revisionist in the context of contemporary just war theory, but that has roots in an older tradition of thought about the just war with which contemporary theorists have lost touch to a considerable extent.”

Should I Register for the Draft? | Center on Conscience & War

Statements from Religious Organizations on Conscientious Objection

Who is a Military Conscientious Objector? | Center on Conscience & War


Take a look at “The Seventh Day Adventist Church and Conscientious Objection”, to see what forms their views on noncombatancy. “This partnership with God through Jesus Christ who came into this world not to destroy men’s lives but to save them causes Seventh-day Adventists to advocate a noncombatant position, following their divine Master in not taking human life, but rendering all possible service to save it.”
Have a Zoom meeting, or other platform, to have a discussion with your faith community and see where common beliefs exist.

The Morality of War - Dr. Jeff McMahan, the White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford speaks about the responsibilities of participants in war. His view is that soldiers must be able to morally justify the killing of others, even if they do so as uniformed members of an armed service.

Take a look at this YouTube TEDx video (2015) of Maria Santelli, CCW Executive Director, “Witnessing the Power of Conscience”, speak of the basic elements of war, violence and peace. “Embedded in the roots of injustice is a misguided belief that humanity is predisposed to violence and war. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that humanity is naturally predisposed to peace; conscience tells us that cooperation with others is right and that violence against others is wrong.”

Watch Frontline FilmInside Yemen with Correspondent Martin Smith and convene as a group on Zoom or another platform (or in-person when we are able) and discuss what all have learned and why this civil war is so horribly intractable, and why and how is the United States involved.

Watch the film “The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge: Desmond Doss”, a Seventh Day Adventist from Lynchburg, Virginia, who saved the lives of 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa, received the Medal of honor by President Harry S. Truman, and was the first conscientious objector to achieve this highest award.

Counterintelligence V: Drone Nation-2013- Part 5: Drone Nation, “After President Obama signed the 2011 NDAA, the US government is allowed to kidnap and detain its own citizens without any warning or notification. A simple accusation of "terrorism" is all that is needed to murder innocents with drones from command centers thousands of miles away. Whatever your opinion of Anwar al Awlaki, his 2011 murder by drone strike, and subsequent lack of outrage, sets a dangerous precedent for Americans' liberty and security from
its own government.”


Pacifism-An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church -  “The renunciation of the use of violent force that would take the life of another person. The early Christian community was of two minds whether a Christian could be a soldier. On the one hand, Jesus' positive appraisal of the faith of the centurion (Lk 7:9) and the acceptance of civil authority, specifically the military, in Romans (13:4) and in 1 Peter (2:14), served as warrant for the just use of force. This came to be developed as the just war theory. On the other hand, Jesus was believed to have rejected the use of force in his teaching…”

“Conscientious Objection” - The Legal Basis:

“Conscientious Objectors of the First World War: A Determined Resistance”
- Ann Krame-2015. “The story of conscientious objection in Britain begins in 1916, when conscription was introduced for the first time. Some 16,000 men — the first conscientious objectors — refused conscription because they believed on grounds of conscience that it was wrong to kill and wrong of any government to force them to do so.”

“When Soldiers Say No: Selective Conscientious Objection in the Modern Military” -  by Andrea Ellner (Editor), Paul Robinson (Editor), David Whetham (Editor)-2015. “Traditionally few people challenged the distinction between absolute and selective conscientious objection by those being asked to carry out military duties. The former is an objection to fighting all wars - a position generally respected and accommodated by democratic states, while the latter is an objection to a specific war or conflict - theoretically and practically a much harder idea to accept and embrace for military institutions.”

“Women and Conscientious Objection: An Anthology:
Ellen Elster and Majken Jul Sørensen, 2010. "From Native-American Tina Garnanez who, after witnessing 'disfigured bodies, limbs blown off, soldiers who lost their sanity' in Iraq, decides to leave the military and 'not fight for anybody's oil agenda' to Idan Halili who applies to the Israeli military's Conscience Committee on the grounds of a 'feminist objection', defining it as 'an objection to any army, rather than a specific government policy', to Colombian, French, Korean, Paraguayan, and Turkish women redefining conscientious objection as refusing to partake in militarism at large, rather than conscription per se, this anthology offers a wide-array of imaginative, thought-provoking, transformative responses by women around the world to military service, war, and militarism.” (Ayse Gul Altinay, anthropologist, Sabanci University).

The Women Who Tried to Stop the Great War: “The International Congress of Women at The Hague 1915, John Paull, “The Congress of Women developed a roadmap for enduring peace. The women passed 20 resolutions including five resolutions which were “Principles of a Permanent Peace.” Theirs was a gendered response to a gendered war. The Congress was a bold and brave initiative. The war was not halted. But neither were the women in their quest for peace. This is their story.”

“Yemen Endures: Civil War, Saudi Adventurism and the Future of Arabia” - Ginny Hill-2017. “Why is Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, involved in a costly and merciless war against its mountainous southern neighbor Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East? When the Saudis attacked the hitherto obscure Houthi militia, which they believed had Iranian backing, to oust Yemen's government in 2015, they expected an easy victory.”

“Yemen in Crisis: Road to War” - Helen Lackner, 2019. “The democratic promise of the 2011 Arab Spring has unraveled in Yemen, triggering a disastrous crisis of civil war, famine, militarization, and governmental collapse with serious implications for the future of the region. Yet as expert political researcher Helen Lackner argues, the catastrophe does not have to continue, and we can hope for and help build a different future in Yemen.”

“War and Religion” - Moike Bhangzu-2019. “Mike Bhangu's novel War and Religion thoughtfully explores the ties between war and religion. Looking at the three major faiths involving God; Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, Bhangu argues that it is not God himself that is the architect of the mass violence like the crusades, the inquisition or other holy wars that have been fought in the name of religion, but rather the product of the political powers that be, which have shifted and altered the truths of the scriptures” (Morgyn Wade, Reviewer)

The Ethical Arguments of Drone Warfare - Eliza Nobles, 2019, on Medium. A brief 3-minute snapshot of some of the arguments

Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
- Book by Medea Benjamin; “Drone Warfare is the first comprehensive analysis of one of the fastest growing—and most secretive—fronts in global conflict: the rise of robot warfare. In 2000, the Pentagon had fewer than fifty aerial drones; ten years later, it had a fleet of nearly 7,500, and the US Air Force now trains more drone “pilots” than bomber and fighter pilots combined. Drones are already a $5 billion business in the US alone. The human cost? Drone strikes have killed more than 200 children alone in Pakistan and Yemen”

Take Action

Follow EPF on Facebook!

Follow EPF on Twitter!

Become a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF)

Invite a representative of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) to come to your place of worship or community and learn about our mission to “Pray, Study and Act”.

2045 West Grand Ave, Suite B #40058, Chicago, IL 60612-1577 © 2020 EPF National. All rights reserved.
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram