Conscientious objection

Stories of faith from veterans

Few testimonies about nonviolence are stronger than those from war veterans. Our friends at the Mennonite Central Committee's Peace Education Office have compiled the following online resources. (For those who work with young people: These would be excellent resources for discussion, particularly for those approaching the age of mandatory Selective Service registration.)

•Reflections from Iraq War veteran Ben Peters. Six video clips (each 4-7 minutes long) with study guide for high school students/adults.  Ben discusses the identity-shaping experiences of boot camp, his struggles with post traumatic stress syndrom, the question of whether violence can be redemptive, biblical frameworks and more.  Ben is thoughtful, articulate and a compelling presenter.  

•Reflections from Iraq War veteran Logan Mehl-Laituri and Marine Joe Gibson. 
Five video clips that feature reflections on conscientious objection, moral injury and contrasts between the call of the armed forces and the call of God.

•Reflections from Iraq War veteran and Abu Ghraib interrogator, Joshua Casteel. One video clip featuring a remarkable story of Joshua's encounter with a Saudi jihadist in an interrogation room about the Sermon on the Mount, the cycle of vengeance and more.  It was a life-changing encounter for Joshua that led him out of the military.

•Reflections from conscientious objectors who did their alternative service in Vietnam during the war.

World War II veteran databases and stories. 
This website is dedicated to the experiences of conscientious objectors in WWII.  It includes a searchable database of records for the nearly 12,000 people who served in civilian public service camps, as well as a database of the more than 150 camps in which they served.  It also includes scores of stories.