Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Handout 2: UUA Resolutions on the Draft

Resolutions adopted at the 1967 and 1968 UUA General Assemblies.

Draft Reform and Conscientious Objection

Resolution passed at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, May 5, 1967. Adopted by greater than a two-thirds majority vote.

Noting that present administration of the Selective Service System has resulted in many iniquities and uncertainties for the young men facing service, and

Noting, also, that the right of conscientious objection to military service has long been recognized as lawful if based upon religious belief and that the Supreme Court has affirmed that an ethical and moral philosophy is parallel to belief in a Supreme Being and thus qualifies under the definition of religious belief,

The Unitarian Universalist Association:

Recommends that Congress, in considering renewal of the Selective Service Act, affirm, as nearly as possible, the principle of equality of sacrifice and should:

1. Reduce the discretionary powers of local draft boards by establishing uniform regulations regarding deferments;

2. Provide that those granted educational deferments, upon termination of those deferments, be subject to the same chance of induction as all others eligible, without regard to age, marriage, or offspring;

3. Provide for educational deferment for part-time students upon their demonstrating that they must work to finance their education;

4. Prohibit use of the draft to punish for unlawful acts punishable by civil authority;

5. Require the selection of draftees by lot from among those presently eligible for military service;

6. Broaden the concept of conscientious objection in the law to include all those opposed to military service on ethical and moral grounds.

7. Require that local draft boards be representative of the ethnic~ social and economic composition of the community.

8. Recognize that objection to participation in a particular war can be central to the belief of an individual, and therefore constitute valid grounds for conscientious objection, as does opposition to all war.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the 1967 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

1. Calls upon the Department of Social Responsibility to cooperate with the LRY and SRL in providing all possible information, encouragement, and assistance to our ministers, churches, and fellowships, to ?insure effective counseling of draft eligible youth and youth approaching draft age;

2. Recognizes the responsibility of Unitarian Universalists to youth who have secured conscientious objector classification and who prefer to fulfill their alternative service requirements under the sponsorship of the Unitarian Universalist Association or its affiliated organizations;

3. Calls upon the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to increase immediately its alternative service programs in order to help a significant number of applicants;

4. Encourages youth who are conscientious objectors to war to apply for conscientious objector status under the provisions of the Selective Service Act.

5. Extends our support to those persons who in the exercise of their moral choice and through the demands of their individual consciences refuse to register for Selective Service or refuse classifications which are contrary to their consciences.

Right of Dissent

Resolution passed at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, May 29, 1968. Adopted by greater than a two-thirds majority vote.

Be it resolved: That the 1968 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

1. Reaffirms its call for the abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and all similar inquisitorial committees.

2. Calls upon Congress to resist legislation which could repress the moral and constitutional rights of citizens to petition.

3. Calls upon the Congress and Administration to refrain from equating dissent to war with the lack of patriotism.

4. Encourages its members to act according to their consciences with respect to the draft. We recognize and respect the religious conviction that impels all forms of non-violent resistance whether by destruction or return of draft cards or refusal of induction, or other acts of non-violent resistance to the machinery of war. Inasmuch as some of our churches have recently acted in support of young men of conviction and the UUA Board of Trustees has offered help to Michael Ferber, Unitarian Universalist and member of the Resistance, we, therefore, urge all our congregations to assist in the following ways:

by offering symbolic sanctuary at time of arrest;

by offering church facilities for services of resistance in the tradition of the one held at Arlington Street Church on October 16, 1967;

by establishing a ministry to resisters by men trained in draft and prison counseling;

by assisting in the provision of legal aid to men who in conscience resist the draft;

by encouraging and conducting local efforts in schools, churches, and other community organizations to inform young men who have attained, or who will be attaining draft age, of their rights under the provisions of the Selective Service Act, consequences for disobedience and procedures for foreign residence.

Canadian congregations to offer all possible assistance to programs for members of the Resistance seeking draft evasion in Canada.

5. Recognizes that conscience is the essential ground of dissent and therefore acknowledges that the draft itself is a violation of the conscience of many who find that for them it constitutes involuntary servitude in violation of the Bill of Rights, discriminates against the poor and the Black, or otherwise conflicts with the claim of conscience and consequently calls upon Congress to reform the Selective Service System in accordance with the resolution of the 1967 General Assembly.