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Monday, January 27, 2014

Fighting Quakers

One of the advantages of having a little-trafficked blog is that I can find interesting things in the stats.  Yesterday there was a referral from the following search termsquaker fuck new conscience exemption.  Naturally, a post of mine came up second, right after the Wikipedia entry for 'conscientious objector' (which presumably didn't have a lot of references to 'fuck' in it).

Third was an op-ed in the NYTimes on August 27, 1862:

The Evening Post raises a question as to the propriety of exempting Quakers from military duty. This is done in this State by law, and the law of Congress exempts all who are exempted by State laws. We concur with the Post in doubting the justice or wisdom of such exemption. The ground on which it is granted is that the Quakers have conscientious scruples against fighting. But a legal concession to such scruples is, in fact, an acknowledgment that the laws requiring military service are fairly open to objection on moral grounds, -- in other words, that it is or may be immoral to require a citizen to fight for his country; and such a concession as this, it is not right for any Government to make.

Quakers receive all the benefits of the Government in common with all other classes of citizens, and they should be held to the performance of the same duties. There is no reason why a Quaker should not be required to defend the Government which protects him in the enjoyment of life, liberty and prosperity, any more than any other citizen. If for any reason of conscience or constitution, he is unwilling to fight in person, let him hire a substitute.

Gee, wouldn't hiring a substitute merely be transferring the sin to another agent, thus violating our First Amendment rights?  But I digress.

Quakers certainly have fought throughout American history, right back to the Revolution itself.  In debating the Bill of Rights there was some discussion about exempting people with religious scruples from service in the Militia, but that was shot down in committee.  And, of course, Friends did heed the Union's call, and have served in other dark times.

Takes all kinds...

ntodd

January 27, 2014 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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Quakers receive all the benefits of the Government in common with all other classes of citizens, and they should be held to the performance of the same duties. There is no reason why a Quaker should not be required to defend the Government which protects him in the enjoyment of life, liberty and prosperity, any more than any other citizen. If for any reason of conscience or constitution, he is unwilling to fight in person, let him hire a substitute.

Sounds like rampant socialism to me. And a violation of our religious freedumbs. I especially like this bit:

But a legal concession to such scruples is, in fact, an acknowledgment that the laws requiring military service are fairly open to objection on moral grounds, -- in other words, that it is or may be immoral to require a citizen to fight for his country; and such a concession as this, it is not right for any Government to make.

My country, right or wrong! Believe it!

Oops. Wait a minute....

Posted by: Rmj | Jan 27, 2014 9:15:40 AM

On the other hand, we pay taxes to support all sorts of things that this Quaker does not approve of, such as the biggest defense budget on the planet and Louis Gohmert's salary. But there is no line-item veto on the 1040 form. Some Quakers refuse to pay the portion of their taxes that they calculate goes to support those things, and they have suffered the consequences of their conscience. Like you said, it takes all kinds.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby | Jan 27, 2014 9:17:32 AM

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