By Victoria Bateman
The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy attended a press conference of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23. This commission is tasked with exploring national attitudes toward military and volunteer service, and potentially recommending changes to the Selective Service system.
Several faith-based organizations submitted public comments to the commission, and the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy continues to monitor how the commission engages with the issue of religious freedom and conscientious objection in their work.
The commission was created in response to the question of whether or not women should be required to register with Selective Service. In addition to expanding the number of Americans who are required to register in the event of a military draft, the commission is considering changes that are of concern to the Church of the Brethren and other peace churches, including increasing the number of high school students who take a version of the military entrance exam and making some type of military or civilian service mandatory for all Americans.
If you would like to share your perspective on the Selective Service with the commission, public comments may be submitted at www.inspire2serve.gov .
A video of the panels is at www.facebook.com/Inspire2ServeUS/videos/755683714800714 . Conscientious objection is discussed starting at minute 58:50.
There are public meetings and hearings taking place regularly, and interested Brethren can find an updated listing at www.inspire2serve.gov/content/events .
— Victoria Bateman is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C. For more about this ministry go to www.brethren.org/peacebuilding .