Conscientious Objector

Definition - What does Conscientious Objector mean?

A conscientious objector is a person who will not work for or in any of the armed forces due to religious or moral beliefs that are deeply held and in contradiction to the aims of the armed forces.

The term has been around for over 100 years and gained popularity during the 1960s in relation to the Vietnam War, when U.S. soldiers who were drafted into the military refused to go due to their overriding belief that killing others was wrong.

A person that chooses to be a conscientious objector can be charged criminally if they refuse to oblige an order by the government to enroll in the military.

Justipedia explains Conscientious Objector

Among U.S. conscientious objectors, one well-known person was Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali), who was sentenced to five years in prison due to his unwillingness to show up at the military base after he was drafted during the Vietnam War.

Many people chose to leave the country to follow their conscientious objections, and many also went to live in Canada for the duration of the war. Some also chose to follow a seminary and become a minister or priest.

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