DoD Updates Policy on Conscientious Objectors

06.18.07 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

To qualify for conscientious objector status and to be granted military discharge on that basis, an individual must oppose all wars, not just a particular war. However, a conscientious objector may still embrace “spiritual warfare” between good and evil, the Department of Defense explained in a new policy instruction (pdf).

“An individual who desires to choose the war in which he or she will participate is not a Conscientious Objector under the law. The individual’s objection must be to all wars rather than a specific war.”

But “a belief in a theocratic or spiritual war between the powers of good and evil does not constitute a willingness to participate in ‘war’ within the meaning of this Instruction.” In other words, it is possible both to be a “spiritual warrior” and a conscientious objector. It is uncertain whether enlisting in spiritual warfare on the side of evil would void this distinction.

See “Conscientious Objectors,” Department of Defense Instruction 1300.06, May 5, 2007.