Clergy: Should Ministers Be Draft-Exempt?

Ever since conscription was adopted by the U.S. during the Civil War, ministers, priests and seminarians have been automatically exempt from military draft. Today, 101,500 men are classified as 4D— exempt as ordained clerics or seminarians. President Johnson's proposed new selective service law, while tightening up on other categories of exemptions, maintains the clerical exception. Nonetheless, the ministry's draft immunity has recently come under attack—chiefly by churchmen themselves.

At a recent conference in Washington of "Clergymen and Laymen Concerned About Viet Nam," 500 seminarians signed a petition urging the abolition of...

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