Every year, 15th May marks International Conscientious Objection day – a day to celebrate those who have and those who continue to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.
100 years ago The Great War was raging in Europe – we now know it as the First World War – and those who objected to the war and refused to be conscripted could be imprisoned, many ended up doing hard labour in Dartmoor prison, civilian ‘work of national importance’ or conscripted into the Non-Combatant Corps. Some volunteered to serve in the Friends Ambulance Unit or other medical organisations but if they were drafted into the army (some by force) they could face a court martial and even be shot. Many famous people were conscientious objectors but for a long time their stories were suppressed as the government thought that conscientious objection would weaken the war effort. There are some links at the bottom of this blog to some resources about conscientious objectors.
Whatever your views are about the armed forces, Conscientious Objectors have played a major role in the protest against war and the campaign for peace. On our website we have the International Prayer for Peace, a prayer that we long to see answered:
Lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love,
from war to peace,
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world, our universe.
Let us dream together, pray together, work together
to build one world of peace and justice for all.
Subversive Peacemakers: War Resistance 1914–1918: An Anglican Perspective by Clive Barrett (I have a copy of this if anyone wants to borrow it – Paul)