The Law: All or Nothing for C.O.s

According to the draft law enacted by Congress in 1967, no person shall be "subject to combatant training and service in the armed forces of the U.S. who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form."

Behind this language lies a steady expansion of the scope of conscientious objection. In World War 1, the draft law exempted from combat only members of "peace churches" like the Quakers. By 1940, conscientious objectors no longer had to belong to a church or other religious organization. In 1965,...

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