Young Adult Conscientious Objectors

 Young Adult Conscientious Objectors

Most of us don’t realize that young men, when

they turn 18 years of age, are still required by law

to register for the draft. This law only applies to

young men, women are exempt from this

requirement. But the fact that young men in our 

country must still register for the draft feels like an

anachronism from the Vietnam Era. In reality, the requirement to register for the draft was reinstated by

 President Carter when Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1980. It also would seem to be an anachronism

 because we have been operating with an all-volunteer military for the last several decades.

 Nevertheless, this is the law which also presents us with an opportunity. 


One of the challenges of our modern media culture is that the use of violence and war are everywhere

 around us in the form of television & movies, video games, news images from the streets of our cities

 and of course the all-too-real images of war from the front lines in Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen and


Very few of us have asked ourselves what we believe about the use of violence and war. If we don’t take

 time to ask those questions, we will most likely adopt the values of our very pro-violence culture. That is

 why I wanted to talk with three very unique young adults about their decision to declare themselves to be

 conscientious objectors to war through the Presbyterian Church’s program for recognizing conscientious

 objectors. Without a doubt, I have found this conversation with these young adults to be one of the most

 inspiring conversations I have had in a long time. I hope you also find it inspiring.




Chris Iyer

Chris is an investigator in death penalty defense with the

 Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco; Chris is

 also a cognitive neuroscience researcher and a trumpet

 player. He is motivated to both deepen our appreciation of the

 human mind and enact those human-centered values in our

 social systems. Chris is 22 years old.


Joshua Ching


Joshua’s life is centered around learning

 foreign languages and traveling. He has a

 lot of connections with friends abroad,

 especially in Asia. Last year he taught English in Taiwan and traveled throughout South

 Korea. He has also studied abroad in Japan in middle school and high school.

While he was teaching in Taiwan, Chinese war planes were constantly flying over their

 schools/city and the planes were so loud that it interrupted his teaching. He does some

 drone building and he is interested in drone racing. The drone racing community has

 some affiliations with the military. They often sponsor drone racing events...  Joshua is

 21 years old.

Abigail Pugh


Abby is a recent grad from Scripps College, where she studied Asian American studies

 and politics. In the past they've been involved in non-profit work, student organizing, and

 local city council candidate campaigns. In the Fall, they’re looking forward to teaching

 Filipino American studies in San Francisco schools with the organization Pinay

 Educational Partnerships. In their free time, Abby enjoys drinking coffee, playing soccer, 

and knitting sweaters for her family and friends. Abby is 22 years old.


If you are interested in learning more about how to become a conscientious objector

through the Presbyterian Church USA, you can download the document

 Presbyterians and Military Service: Conscientious Objection.  If you are serving in the

 military, you can contact the Center on Conscience and War for assistance. You may

 also find the Inventory of Conscience survey to be a good way to begin your journey

 toward considering these important questions. Thank you again for listening. Please

 leave a comment and pass this along to friends and family.




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