conscientious objector

(redirected from conscientious objection)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Wikipedia.

conscientious objector,

person who, on the grounds of conscience, resists the authority of the state to compel military service. Such resistance, emerging in time of war, may be based on membership in a pacifistic religious sect, such as the Society of FriendsFriends, Religious Society of,
religious body originating in England in the middle of the 17th cent. under George Fox. The members are commonly called Quakers, originally a term of derision.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Quakers), the DukhoborsDukhobors
or Doukhobors
[Russ.,=spirit wrestlers], religious group, prominent in Russia from the 18th to the 19th cent. The name was coined by the Orthodox opponents of the Dukhobors, who had originally called themselves Christians of the Universal Brotherhood.
..... Click the link for more information.
, or Jehovah's WitnessesJehovah's Witnesses,
Christian group originating in the United States at the end of the 19th cent., organized by Charles Taze Russell, whose doctrine centers on the Second Coming of Christ.
..... Click the link for more information.
, or on personal religious or humanitarian convictions. Political opposition to the particular aim of conscription, such as that maintained by the CopperheadsCopperheads,
in the American Civil War, a reproachful term for those Northerners sympathetic to the South, mostly Democrats outspoken in their opposition to the Lincoln administration. They were especially strong in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, where Clement L.
..... Click the link for more information.
 during the Civil War, by radical groups during World War I and, to a more limited extent, during World War II, and by large numbers during the Vietnam War, is usually considered in a separate category. The problem of conscientious objectors, although present in different forms since the beginning of the Christian era, became acute in World Wars I and II because of the urgent demands for manpower of the warring governments. The United States and Great Britain allowed members of recognized pacifistic religious groups to substitute for combat service: (1) noncombatant military service, (2) nonmilitary activity related to the war effort, or (3) activity considered socially valuable. Pacifists without recognized claim to exemption were liable to harsher treatment, and about 5,000 conscientious objectors were imprisoned in the United States between 1940 and 1945. The postwar Selective Service Act, passed in 1948 and amended in 1951, required that conscientious objection be based on religious belief and training that included belief in a Supreme Being. In 1970 the Supreme Court removed the religious requirement and allowed objection based on a deeply held and coherent ethical system with no reference to a Supreme Being. In 1971 the Supreme Court refused to allow objection to a particular war, a decision affecting thousands of objectors to the Vietnam War. Some 50,000–100,000 men are estimated to have left the United States to avoid being drafted to serve in that war.


See G. C. Field, Pacifism and Conscientious Objection (1945); M. Q. Sibley and P. E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience (1952, repr. 1965); L. Schlissel, ed., Conscience in America (1968); G. C. Zahn, War, Conscience, and Dissent (1967); M. Ferber and S. Lynd, The Resistance (1971).

References in periodicals archive ?
The shut-up-or-leave approach to conscientious objection in healthcare issues is widely accepted in Sweden.
Conscientious objection allows a doctor to refuse to provide a service based on deeply held religious, moral or ethical beliefs, even if the service is legal and pertains to the technical skills of the doctor's profession.
Instead, it has used more subtle tactics, such as inducing doctors and other medical staff to claim conscientious objection, harassing women in hospitals--especially during therapeutic abortions--and lobbying for a heavy fine for women who have a clandestine abortion.
Even though the ECHR ruling referred, among others, to the opinion of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, according to which a state vesting the right to invoke conscientious objection in healthcare professionals must provide patients with a possibility to obtain a given healthcare service, including abortion, from another healthcare service provider, in no way did it question the validity of the conscience clause.
Speaking at First Minister's Questions, the First Minister said: "The ruling yesterday confirms that midwives' right to conscientious objection from taking part in abortions is protected.
Without disputing earnest objections, conscientious objection in this situation becomes highly questionable and demands closer examination of this constitutional right.
Abuse of conscientious objection in Poland: short summary of Doctor Chazan case.
Typically, the term conscientious objection is used to describe an individual's objection to being conscripted into the military (Cohen, 1968; Harries-Jenkins, 1993; Schinkel, 2007), but the term has also been used in different ways.
Some concerns about conscientious objection will be presented followed by criteria for the ethical acceptance of conscientious objection.
GREAT WAR Dr Craigmile (chairman) asked him to state the grounds for his so-called conscientious objection.
Druze youth likely headed to prison for conscientious objection Omar Sa'ad reported to Israeli army induction base and announced his refusal to enlist.