On June 23, the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee released proposals for the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill will be sent to the full House Armed Service Committee on July 1, and an effort to amend the Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA to require women to register for the military draft is likely during the full committee markup.
The Church of the Brethren is a historic peace church with a moral aversion to war, codified with the 1934 Annual Conference resolution that “all war is sin.” As such, we are reminded in the 1982 Annual Conference resolution “Reaffirmation of Opposition to War and Conscription for Military Training” that “We, therefore, cannot encourage, engage in, or willingly profit from armed conflict at home or abroad. We cannot, in the event of war, accept military service or support the military machine in any capacity.”
The likely move by Congress to impose mandatory draft registration requirements on women is in conflict with our understanding of the sinfulness of war, and mandates action. We should heed the call in the 1970 Annual Conference statement on war, which affirms that the church “will seek to use its influence to abolish or radically restructure the system which conscripts persons for military purposes.”
Keeping in line with the Brethren position against war and conscription, take action now and contact your congressperson, urging them to push back against any imposition of mandatory draft registration on women, and voice support for the provisions of H.R. 5492, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio and supported by our long-time partners at the Center for Conscience and War, which calls for the Military Selective Service Act to be repealed.
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