The Religious Society of Friends in
Friends took up the Minute about Automatic Registration for Selective Service, sent forward by Connecticut Valley Quarter and affirmed by Rhode Island/Smithfield Quarter. Rhode Island/Smithfield Quarter has added actions to the Minute which will be taken up after the Minute from Connecticut Valley Quarter. Friends approved the following Minute.
Minute about Automatic Registration for Selective Service
Friends at New England Yearly Meeting are concerned about the effects of a new program that Selective Service is initiating nationwide that would automatically register men for Selective Service when they apply for a driver's license. The effect of such legislation would effectively deny a driver's license to any man between the ages of 18 and 26 who cannot with a clear conscience register for Selective Service. We regard this as an effort to coerce young men into registering without an opportunity to reflect on the moral implications that service in the military entails.
We view with alarm the expansion and increasing severity of state and federal measures to penalize non-registrants who are religious conscientious objectors. We emphasize the responsibility of governments to uphold the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and the human right of conscientious objection recognized as derived from freedom of religion and conscience by the United Nations. We encourage young people to follow their consciences, and we stand ready to help, to the best of our ability, with information, counseling, and spiritual and practical support.
The actions recommended by Rhode Island/Smithfield Quarter were read. The Clerk will ask Friends to take up these actions under the guidance of the Spirit this evening.
See Minute 82 for the continuation of this business item.
Four action items were attached to the Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting minute "Automatic Registration for Selective Service" by Rhode Island-Smithfield Quarterly Meeting. Friends approved the following:
Actions about Automatic Registration for Selective Service
We advocate for the repeal of, or amendment to,
RI General Law
· We advocate for the establishment of central sites in each state for the maintenance of records documenting the legitimacy of individual conscientious objectors' cases.
· We urge Quarterly Meetings and Yearly Meeting to work with other organizations to establish these sites and also to actively participate in efforts to change state and federal laws to allow for individuals to register as conscientious objectors.
Friends considered the fourth action item, but were not clear to approve. This item was to encourage individual friends to consider applying for service on local draft boards in order to ensure that boards be sensitive to conscientious objection cases.