What is a Conscientious Objector?


Legally, a conscientious objector is a person who, by reason of “religious training and belief,” is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form. In 1965 and 1970 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the words “religious training and belief” must be interpreted to include moral and ethical beliefs that have the same force in people’s lives as traditional religious beliefs. So, you don’t have to belong to any particular religion to be a CO. In fact, you don’t have to belong to any religion at all.


Also, to be a conscientious objector, you don't have to believe in God. Nor do you have to oppose using violence in personal self-defense.


But political beliefs, or strictly personal beliefs not held by others, do NOT qualify a person for conscientious objector status.


Under current law, you must oppose participating in ALL wars. (Advocates are still fighting for legal recognition of selective conscientious objection, your right to refuse to fight in specific wars.)


Even though conscientious objectors are not drafted to kill in the military, they must still serve the country in alternative service if there is a draft.


For good information, contact: 


Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
Email address: info@objector.org


405 14th Street #205

Oakland, CA 94612


Fax 510 465-2459



1515 Cherry St

Philadelphia, PA 19102


Fax 215-567-2096



Center on Conscience & War (CCW, formerly NISBCO)

Email address: nisbco@nisbco.org

1830 Connecticut Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20009

Telephone: (202) 483-2220 or 1-800-379-2679

Fax: (202) 483-1246