FoR Pledges Support for those whose faith leads them to object to National Service

In the last 24hrs proposals have come from the Conservative Party about the potential to reintroduce conscription or National Service for all 18 year olds within the UK. Through a combination of either military service or compulsary voluntary activity all 18 year olds would be challenged to do something. This proposal was first floated earlier this year.

John Cooper, Director of the Fellowship, responded to this mornings announcement saying:

“The proposal to reintroduce national service has been rightly ridiculed this morning. The armed forces and large employers traditionally oppose it. Young people, polled earlier this year, oppose it and our faith leads us to oppose it. The only people in favour appear to be politicians who would not be the ones doing it.

The abuse of humanity found in warfare is not something to train future generations in. It is already absurd that it’s suggested people will either be paid to be in the military or simply choose to volunteer one weekend a month.  Partner branches of the Fellowship have been creating full time alternative options where people are given the chance to use their skills to build peace instead of being opted into military service. Should the proposed policy be enacted we will be taking ideas of paid alternative service to the Royal Commission. We will continue to support those who faith leads them to object to conscription into the armed forces.”

The Fellowship of Reconciliation was formed in 1914 and provided theological and moral support to those who objected to military service in the First World War, before it was even legally recognised as a right. Since then it has supported Conscientious Objectors in World War 2, during the era of National Service and then in other nations through campaigns and advocacy, including supporting a UN Office in Geneva.

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