Countering Military Recruitment

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." - Col. 2:8

"No one simply joins the Marines, because the title must be earned. Marine Corps Recruit training is where the separation begins: the weak from the strong, the child from the adult, the civilian from the Marine. These 13 weeks will break away all the things that bind you to the excesses of the past. And in the end, you will become a confident member of the finest warrior-force in the world. You'll be a United States Marine." - U.S. Marines recruiting brochure

"Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my pay, allowances, benefits and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces regardless of the provisions of this enlistment/reenlistment document." - Enlistment/Reenlistment Document Armed Forces of the United States; Sec. 9(b.) DD Form 4/1 (Back) Oct. 2007

The United States military is captivating our youth through its hollow and deceptive philosophy. In response, we commit ourselves to a ministry of truth and justice for those who are being aggressively recruited for military service. As Christ's church on earth we embrace His compassionate and redemptive message. We are called to love our enemies rather than kill them.

The apostle Peter exhorts us to obey God rather than men. We offer a prophetic response to the immoral wars being fought in our name and to the widespread militarization of American society. It is not only the firing of shots and the piercing of flesh that we scorn. We stand opposed to the specter of an insidious $4 Billion pentagon recruiting program that targets youth of color and those with fewer options. Countering military recruitment confronts an ugly mix of a distinctively American brand of institutionalized violence, racism, militarism, nationalism, and sexism.

We are guided by the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his sermon, "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence" that was delivered on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City. Dr. King said, "Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism." Dr. King's words are truly prophetic.

As CPW Partners we are already committed to supporting our troops through a ministry of healing and justice for those who have served in our armed forces. Countering the work of military recruiters calls us to stand in the way of the recruiting process to inject the truth of our Savior and offer youth alternatives to military service in the form of faith, hope and employment opportunities.

We don't condemn the soldier. We know Jesus was astounded by the faith of the Roman Centurion. Instead, we sound a warning over the evils inherent in military recruiting, training and service. When the solemn military chaplain hands a crisply folded flag to a grieving widow of a slain soldier at the grave's edge he cites from the Gospel according to John, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater lover has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." We embrace the sermon while questioning the morality of the mission.

We peacefully challenge the military recruiter to protect the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds in our communities. We will work to change high school policies that encourage military recruiters and we commit ourselves to providing youth with access to training, employment and educational alternatives to military service.

Wars start in our communities through military recruiting. It is our duty to stop them.

For a discussion of a variety of ways to effectively challenge military recruitment in your community, see the following links:

The American Friends Service Committee's Youth & Militarism Program:

No Child Left Behind Opt Out Forms from AFSC
Act to protect your family from military recruiters

On Earth Peace - Church of the Brethren Counter-Recruitment Program

"Positive alternatives to military recruitment for youth"

Mennonite Central Committee:

Center on Conscience & War - Formerly the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors:

You Don't Have to Go!
All about the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) from the Center on Conscience and War

Catholic Peace Fellowship:

The National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth

The GI Rights Hotline:

Quaker House’s Truth in Recruiting Project, featuring “Sgt. Abe the Honest Recruiter”

Peace Church Challenge on the gospel of non-violence and religious objection to conscription and military service:

The Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities (YANO)

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