Military recruitment has reached a level of intensity never seen before in US history and any male or female between the ages of 16 and 25 can now be reached by recruiters facilitated by the No Child Left Behind Act and the Pentagon Data base. There is an urgent need to educate our young people about the realities of military life, war, and recruitment so they can make informed responses when contacted by recruiters and also be prepared should a draft be reinstated.
As a community of faith we invite you to become involved in providing young people with an alternative understanding of the military and war. It is important that young people understand what is happening in the effort to recruit them to serve with the military.
As people of Anabaptist faith we believe that the life of Jesus is an example of living in a nonviolent way. Jesus taught that his followers should love God completely and their neighbor as themselves. He also instructed that we should love our enemies. Today while there is no legal draft, the military is searching for young men and women to serve with them. The most vulnerable youth are those in communities with low economies. When life options are limited youth become more vulnerable to military recruiters.
As a church we are concerned about the choices young men and women in our congregations are making. While these youth are very important and we should work with them, let us also understand that we have a responsibility to provide information and alternative options to the youth in our communities beyond our church walls. The information on this web page is available on a CD (each CDC congregation has received a copy of the CD). This information will help you and your congregation to understand the situation and choose ways to become involved with all youth facing pressure from military recruiters. To receive a CD, please contact Central District Conference, 1015 Division St, Goshen, IN 46528. –Central District Conference Missional Church Committee Task Force
To Promote Congregational involvement with Counter-Recruitment Actions you are invited to take:
- Commit to Christ’s way of peace and to affirm that peace and nonviolence are core Anabaptist Christian commitments.
- Learn what your local school administrations current policy is regarding œopting out of the list of student contact information that they release to military recruiters. Ask that this be a process that is clear and easily accessible to all families.
- Encourage youth in your congregation and beyond to begin a file about their beliefs regarding conscientious objection to war. Christian Peacemaker Registration forms are available in this packet.
- Educate others in your community. If possible participate in the organizing of a broad community coalition that includes youth to work at counter-recruitment strategies.
- Spend time with the youth of your congregation and community to develop strong relationships and educate them about conscientious objection to war and nonviolence.
- Challenge the appropriateness of the ASVAB test (the admissions and placement test for the US military) for use with students not interested in military service if is given in the local high school.
- Provide counsel to youth in high school and middle school and offer alternatives to those being actively recruited by military personnel.
Behind the Camouflage: A Primer on Military Enlistment for Youth Pastors, Mentors, and Counselors by Titus Peachey