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.