Conscientious Objection


The Brethren commitment to peace has manifested in many ways over the years and remains an important aspect of Brethren doctrine for many members today. Historically, the Church of the Brethren has taken the stance that military service is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. At the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, we believe it is important for Brethren to be aware of their options when it comes to engaging with the government on issues of war and peace.

One thing Brethren can do to be a witness for peace is to become a conscientious objector to war. A conscientious objector, or CO, is someone who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles. In the “CO Toolkit” tab above, you can learn more about how to become a conscientious objector!

The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is also pleased to share access to a more extensive curriculum that aims to help Church of the Brethren youth develop their beliefs about conscientious objection to war. The curriculum, known as Call of Conscience, focuses specifically on developing a personal peace position based on biblical teaching and the traditions of the church. These sessions are designed to be led by an adult and include full session plans and downloadable resources. Each session also contains a “Call of Conscience” take-home page for youth, with suggestions for further reflection, reading, journal topics, and activities. We hope that this curriculum, located in the “Curriculum” tab will be a resource to help youth in your congregation “make a defense for the hope that is within them” (1 Peter 3:15) and prepare their heart, mind, and soul for the possibility of war and a military draft.

Finally, since we know you may still have questions after referencing the toolkit and curriculum, we want to connect you with other resources for future exploration. One of our longtime partners, 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. Their website is full of information about conscientious objection and faith, so feel free to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge as you explore this topic further!