Conscientious Objector Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Conscientious Objector, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Conscientious Objector?

A person who refuses to serve in the armed forces due to his strong religious and moral beliefs against war and killing.Under draft laws such people can be excused from militay service but will have to participate in civilian work for human and natioanl welfare.

History and Meaning of Conscientious Objector

Conscientious Objectors (COs) are persons who refuse to serve in the military due to their strong religious, moral, or ethical convictions against war and killing. The idea of being a CO gained popularity during the 20th century, especially during World War I and II when millions of people were drafted into the military. While some COs were seen as unpatriotic or cowardly, many others saw it as a way to stand up for their beliefs and refuse to participate in something they saw as fundamentally wrong.

Examples of Conscientious Objector

  1. John, a Quaker, refused to participate in the Vietnam War because of his religious beliefs against violence.

  2. Mary, a pacifist, refused to serve in the military during World War II and instead volunteered for non-combatant service.

  3. David, a Jehovah's Witness, refused to salute the flag or serve in the military, leading to his imprisonment during World War II.

  4. Sarah, a Buddhist, applied for CO status during the Gulf War, citing her beliefs in non-violence and compassion for all beings.

Legal Terms Similar to Conscientious Objector

  1. Selective Service: the government agency responsible for maintaining information on those who could be drafted into military service.

  2. Draft: the process of requiring citizens to serve in the military during times of war or conflict.

  3. Non-Combatant: a person who serves in the military but is not directly involved in fighting.

  4. Objecion de Conciencia: Spanish for "conscientious objection".

  5. Alternative Service: civilian work that COs are often required to perform in lieu of serving in the military.