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 ?
Doe (1977) ruled that "a city hospital does not have a constitutional obligation to provide abortions or even permit therapeutic abortions." Based on these developments, conscientious objection became formalized in all three aspects of academic hospitals' roles: patient care, teaching and research.
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.
The definition of conscientious objection in health care involves the rejection of some action by a provider, primarily because the action would violate some deeply held moral or ethical value about right and wrong (Odell, Abhyankar, Malcom, & Rua, 2014).
"We have taken note of your having a conscientious objection. You will be handed over to the military authorities."
She gives conscientious objection in medicine (hereafter, "conscientious objection") the book-length treatment that it deserves.
In-service members' right to declare a conscientious objection to participation in war is not derived from an act of Congress or the Constitution, but rather a DOD executive order.
The conscientious objection exemption to involuntary military service is an important tradition in the United States, but the governing military regulations have resulted in judicial interpretation that has expanded it far beyond its original scope.
In December 2002, Shani Werner, a member of a group of young Israeli women who refused to serve in the military because of their conscientious objection to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, wrote an open letter to the other members of her group:
Eddington's conscientious objections were firmly rooted in his lifelong Quaker beliefs and he was prepared to accept the consequences, but Sir Frank Dyson, then the Astronomer Royal, among others, was anxious to spare one of the country's leading scientists.
level in the early 1960s, but developed conscientious objections to the discipline's construction of the "participant/observer" relationship as it stood at the time.