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Amatter of conscience (the moral vampire series, book 2) - Conscience - Wikipedia




The personal convictions of some healthy men kept them from bearing arms. Some men objected on religious and moral grounds to participating in violence. Some belonged to churches that have historically objected to war. In World War I, these conscientious objectors (COs) were jailed.

But as World War II developed, Congress, for the first time in history, recognized "CO Status" as a legitimate moral stand. Under the law, objectors had two choices — they could go into the military but serve in the medical corps or other non-combat duties, or they were required to do "alternative service" here at home that was "work of national importance."

Nationwide during World War II, there were 34.5 million men who registered for the draft. Of those, 72,354 applied for conscientious objector status. Of those COs, 25,000 served in non-combatant roles and 27,000 failed to pass the physical exam and were exempted. There were over 6,000 men who rejected the draft outright and chose to go to jail instead of serving the war effort. And then there were 12,000 men who chose to perform alternative service. Their work was supervised by the Civilian Public Service (CPS) program.

This, of course, doesn’t take any particular courage on my part. For me personally the stakes are low, but for others the consequences are high. Selfishly, when the history of the consequences of our time is written, I want to be recorded by my friends and family as having been on the right side, on the side of those who seek equal rights for all. In my view, the outcome of this debate is inevitable, but for now the question is how long it will take to get there and at what cost to the American fabric.

There were times before when I wanted to step into this fray, but the point seemed moot. The matter went to the Court; polls began to shift in favor of same sex-marriage; and 131 Republicans activists stepped forward to lend their support in an amicus brief to the court. No less a conservative voice than Ted Olsen has defended the rights of same-sex couples to marry, as have Meg Whitman, David Frum, Ken Mehlman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Richard Hanna, Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Mark Kirk. Unfortunately, last Friday the Republican National Committee unanimously passed a resolution reiterating its opposition to same-sex marriage. Therefore, I can no longer be silent on the issue.

It is easy to be taken in by some for the arguments against same-sex marriage. Since switching my own thinking on the subject and discussing it with friends — notably both Democrats and Republicans — I hear them all the time: “You can’t redefine a word”; “This will undermine ‘traditional’ marriage”; “I am in favor of civil unions, but not marriage”; and on and on. This is all nonsense; it sounds logical, but is not.

What is the price-currant of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they will give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them...

It is not a man's duty, as a matter of conscience, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support...

Action from principle--the perception and the performance of right--changes things and relations...it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done for ever. Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience


The personal convictions of some healthy men kept them from bearing arms. Some men objected on religious and moral grounds to participating in violence. Some belonged to churches that have historically objected to war. In World War I, these conscientious objectors (COs) were jailed.

But as World War II developed, Congress, for the first time in history, recognized "CO Status" as a legitimate moral stand. Under the law, objectors had two choices — they could go into the military but serve in the medical corps or other non-combat duties, or they were required to do "alternative service" here at home that was "work of national importance."

Nationwide during World War II, there were 34.5 million men who registered for the draft. Of those, 72,354 applied for conscientious objector status. Of those COs, 25,000 served in non-combatant roles and 27,000 failed to pass the physical exam and were exempted. There were over 6,000 men who rejected the draft outright and chose to go to jail instead of serving the war effort. And then there were 12,000 men who chose to perform alternative service. Their work was supervised by the Civilian Public Service (CPS) program.


The personal convictions of some healthy men kept them from bearing arms. Some men objected on religious and moral grounds to participating in violence. Some belonged to churches that have historically objected to war. In World War I, these conscientious objectors (COs) were jailed.

But as World War II developed, Congress, for the first time in history, recognized "CO Status" as a legitimate moral stand. Under the law, objectors had two choices — they could go into the military but serve in the medical corps or other non-combat duties, or they were required to do "alternative service" here at home that was "work of national importance."

Nationwide during World War II, there were 34.5 million men who registered for the draft. Of those, 72,354 applied for conscientious objector status. Of those COs, 25,000 served in non-combatant roles and 27,000 failed to pass the physical exam and were exempted. There were over 6,000 men who rejected the draft outright and chose to go to jail instead of serving the war effort. And then there were 12,000 men who chose to perform alternative service. Their work was supervised by the Civilian Public Service (CPS) program.

This, of course, doesn’t take any particular courage on my part. For me personally the stakes are low, but for others the consequences are high. Selfishly, when the history of the consequences of our time is written, I want to be recorded by my friends and family as having been on the right side, on the side of those who seek equal rights for all. In my view, the outcome of this debate is inevitable, but for now the question is how long it will take to get there and at what cost to the American fabric.

There were times before when I wanted to step into this fray, but the point seemed moot. The matter went to the Court; polls began to shift in favor of same sex-marriage; and 131 Republicans activists stepped forward to lend their support in an amicus brief to the court. No less a conservative voice than Ted Olsen has defended the rights of same-sex couples to marry, as have Meg Whitman, David Frum, Ken Mehlman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Richard Hanna, Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Mark Kirk. Unfortunately, last Friday the Republican National Committee unanimously passed a resolution reiterating its opposition to same-sex marriage. Therefore, I can no longer be silent on the issue.

It is easy to be taken in by some for the arguments against same-sex marriage. Since switching my own thinking on the subject and discussing it with friends — notably both Democrats and Republicans — I hear them all the time: “You can’t redefine a word”; “This will undermine ‘traditional’ marriage”; “I am in favor of civil unions, but not marriage”; and on and on. This is all nonsense; it sounds logical, but is not.


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