a slight correction...Since the piece began
with Andre thanking you for "a forum in
which I can provide factual information on the case," I
thought it might be helpful to correct some of the mis
portrayal of who qualifies as a CO.
Andre is right that the person needs to be opposed to any
war they can imagine themselves fighting in. (It is not a
requirement that the person state whether they accept or
reject the war that gave birth to the US.) Someone who says
they would fight in certain wars probably would be turned
Religious basis is not a separate way to get out. No matter
what religion the person still must be opposed to
participation in all war. Also, a person need not be
religious at all as long as the moral principles that direct
their life are comparable in strength to those held by
religious people. We deal with many atheist and agnostic
applicants who still get out for CO.
The third issue is sincerity. A person's lifestyle can help
indicate their sincerity. Giving up paintball and combat
video games can indicate sincerity of a conscientious
objector but a person does not have to give up these things.
I have worked with legitimate, sincere conscientious
objectors who still bow hunt and nevertheless were
discharged. (There is more than one way to show sincerity).
I realize that for Andre conscientious objection didn't feel
right and that is fine. I just want to be careful that
others who might well qualify don't mistakenly believe
themselves ineligible because of Andre's mis
characterization of the actual definition. Anyone who even
wonders whether they qualify can call the GI Rights Hotline
877-447-4487 to explore whether or not conscientious
objection might be the right fit for them. People who are
having issues with the military often go online to learn
about others with similar beliefs. For others reading this
interview with Andre it may be helpful to include a note of
clarification so as not to unnecessarily limit the pool of
future Conscientious Objection applicants.