International Conscientious Objection Day

Today, on International Conscientious Objection Day, a group of local leaders are gathering for an ecumenical prayer event at the nation’s World War One Memorial in Kansas City, MO, to honor and remember conscientious objectors from World War One. The planning team included the Church of the Brethren, Friends, Mennonites, the Community of Christ, and others.

OEP Board member emeritus Phil Miller will represent On Earth Peace at the event, and will share the following statement from staffer Matt Guynn:

“In a time when war is endless and deadly violence is as close as the nearest school, what price are we willing to pay today to live out the costly love of Jesus? On Earth Peace founder M.R. Zigler was known to assert that many wars would never have taken place if only Christians had agreed not to kill each other. Zigler spent part of World War I as a YMCA secretary on Parris Island, NC, organizing recreational programs and activities for Marine recruits, and talking about peace with commanding officers behind the scenes. Through those close experiences with the war system, he was catalyzed to spend the rest of his life working to expand the church’s mission of peace as an avenue for peacemaking on the global scale. In 1974 he founded On Earth Peace, which in its early days, at the end of the Vietnam Era, provided conscientious objection retreats for young men and women to claim and practice their faith. To make a Christian commitment not to kill - in war or in peacetime - has remained a costly choice even now. As today we honor and remember those who made that choice and suffered for it, it agitates our hearts in the presence of the Holy Spirit to ask, what costs might need to be paid today as we live out the nonviolent love of Jesus? May we be strengthened and encouraged by their memory.”

We hope this statement resonates today, and every day, as you work to live out the nonviolent love of Jesus through conscientious objection amidst the violence plaguing our communities, nation, and world.

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