conscientious objector

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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.
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 (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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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 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.

Bibliography

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 ?
In Canada, there is currently great confusion and controversy about what the limits are, and should he, on physician conscientious objection.
See Jacquelyn Shaw and Jocelyn Downie, "Welcome to the Wild, Wild North: Conscientious Objection Policies Governing Canada's Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dental Professions" (2014) 28(1) Bioethics 33.
At the time of writing, she was a Research Associate investigating conscientious objection policies in Canada under the same grant, through Dalhousie 's Faculty of Law and Novel Tech Ethics, Faculty of Medicine.
Some may also feel that she overstates the importance of allowing conscientious objection by defining the term too broadly.
Even those of us who feel she exaggerates, however, could agree with Lynch that a strict prohibition on conscientious objection is inappropriate.
In 1673, Rhode Island included a conscientious objection exemption in its militia law.
The current statutory conscientious objection exemption is short, consisting of only one paragraph in the Military Selective Service Act.
James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, said that lawsuits involving conscientious objections could emerge in the wake of "a sea change in the past six months.
Amy Haddad, who teaches ethics to pharmacy students at Creighton University, a Jesuit school in Omaha, Nebraska, noted that a conscientious objection "can't be that the pharmacist just thinks a therapy is bad for someone.
The Family Research Council urges the administration to offer a full exemption from the mandate to charities and non-profits that have sincere conscientious objections and to respect the Supreme Court's ruling regarding family businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties," concluded Grossu.
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.
Although some definitions of conscientious objection specify or imply that conscientious objection must entail a refusal to comply with legal obligations (thus setting the action in the legal/public sphere), other definitions do not (e.