Amer­ica

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Just af­ter the birth of Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist church in 1960, the Amer­i­can civil war broke out. At the high of the civil war, “by the fall of 1862 gov­ern­ment con­scrip­tion was con­sid­ered the so­lu­tion for the army’s man­power needs.”82 The fol­low­ing year, “on March 3, 1863, Congress passed the na­tion’s first con­scrip­tion law.”83 The con­scrip­tion is­sue be­came com­pul­sory in Amer­ica.

“All able-bod­ied males from age twenty to forty-five were made li­able for mil­i­tary ser­vice. Es­cape ser­vice by pur­chas­ing an ex­emp­tion, which cost $300.”84 For ex­am­ple, “ap­prox­i­mately $25,000 might be needed to pay com­mu­ta­tion fees for mem­bers of the Bat­tle Creek Ad­ven­tist con­gre­ga­tion alone.”85 In re­al­ity, it was not pos­si­ble to pay com­mu­ta­tion fees by all Ad­ven­tists in the US.

The con­scrip­tion is­sue got a lit­tle re­lief when “Congress fi­nally amended the con­scrip­tion law in Fe­bru­ary 1864. Hence­forth, con­sci­en­tious ob­jec­tors who were drafted might be as­signed duty in hos­pi­tals or in car­ing for lib­er­ated for­mer slaves.”86 How­ever, the civil war in Amer­i­can vi­o­lated the sixth com­mand­ment “thou shall not mur­der.” And join­ing the mil­i­tary of­ten called for break­ing the Sab­bath.

Again the same con­scrip­tion is­sue poped-up in dur­ing the World Wars in Amer­ica. This time “the na­tion’s law­mak­ers passed the na­tional Se­lec­tive Ser­vice Act on May 18, 1917. Al­most im­me­di­ately Pres­i­dent Wil­son set June 5 as the day when all Amer­i­can males aged 21-30 were to register for pos­si­ble mil­i­tary ser­vice. It was more re­stricted with no op­tions for Ad­ven­tist mem­bers. Un­like the war act, the 1917 draft law did not al­low ex­emp­tion from ser­vice through pro­vid­ing a sub­sti­tute or mak­ing a cash pay­ment. It did ex­empt cler­gy­men and stu­dents pre­par­ing for the min­istry in rec­og­nized the­o­log­i­cal schools.”87

At this time the con­scrip­tion law was more re­stric­tive than pre­vi­ously. In the course of the World War II “nearly 200 Ad­ven­tist sol­diers faced court-mar­tial for fail­ing to obey or­ders.”88

How­ever, com­pared to the civil war, the world wars con­scrip­tion law was more jus­ti­fied. Its in­ten­tion was to fight against tyrants. This World War II tried to bring the world peace and hu­man dig­nity. Join­ing Amer­i­can Ad­ven­tists to mil­i­tary ser­vice dur­ing world war II is not a re­ally bad, although, it had a prob­lem with the fourth and the sixth com­mand­ments.

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