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Ed Hughes

Tom of Sheep and Goats,

Had this post been written, when it was, or could be effective at the time, it would have been important information. In the current status of anyone who is a conscientious objector (CO) all they can do is rant and rave about how bad those folks were treated. Such treatment has not been administered for many years in the military justice system. That is not totally true; there are and there will always be individuals whose intent is to try the system. They come into the military for some reason or another and then when they find they do not like the military they scream that they are CO’s. The military asks individuals directly before they are sworn in as service members if the are CO’s, and if they answer in the negative it is assumed they are not. Circumstances change and individuals change so there will be cases that occur. There is no draft or conscription today as many refer to it, but some enter into conditions without having the knowledge of what they are doing.

In the way that CO’s are treated in other countries, we in the United States have no control of that, and it would appear from the last few lines of your post that the country is coming to grips with the present problem. And I hope that they do solve the problem.

Since the time there were only 4 people on this earth, one chose to kill the other. Was that war? People only war because they are not prohibited from doing so. It would be a very good thing if the world had no war, but we could also do without disease, mosquitoes, rats, fireants and a number of other very undesirable things which we may be able to eliminate before we could rid ourselves of war.


John Lassiter

"If you’re not going to apply those words in time of war, just when do you apply them?"

Indeed !

Very nice column.

tom sheepandgoats


I will follow up soon with a post regarding Mr. Blackwell's experiences before military courts. It will be very favorable toward the military justice system, you will see. He thought the quality of judges in the military much superior to those in secular life.

tom sheepandgoats

I received a comment....all in Spanish....for my "Spanish readers." Much as I appreciate the contribution, do I really have Spanish readers? If so, they're a very long-suffering bunch. I've never published a speck of Spanish here.

At any rate, I can't understand it. Perhaps the author can resubmit in English?

tom sheepandgoats

Thank you, John.

John occasionally sends me spelling corrections, which I very much appreciate. You no, John, I don't no what I would do without them.

:-) Thanks again.


To WMM -

I wouldn't be so quick to assume that things have changed in the US. On September 11th many people all of a sudden became "patriots" and I remember some looking at me sideways because I didn't wear an American flag pin on my clothes to work or have a little flag on my desk like everyone else. The propensity for persecuting non-patriotic people and those who refuse military service is still there. People have a tendency to become complacent when they have not seen or experienced direct persecution and they assume things have changed when they really haven't.

From reports I've read the new president elect may very well force everyone between the ages of 25 and 35 into civil service - civil service that may very well conflict with the neutral stand of JW's. I could be wrong but we will see if things have really changed if this actually happens.

Personally, I don't things have changed much at all.

tom sheepandgoats

Vargas: I hadn't heard a thing about civil service, neutral-conflicting or otherwise. Time will tell.

If it turns out that way....you said it first. Thanks for the input.

Ed Hughes

I was not quick to assume what I wrote and you are correct about things remaining unchanged in the US., you are also correct when you mention temporary “patriots” who are wrong with their attitude in general, they usually soon lose that zeal. How many of those who were willing to chastise others for not having a flag on their desk, or flying one from their car, or wearing one on their clothing, still display that same attitude today? Few if any has been my observation. I spent most of my working life in the military and the military has changed considerably since 1954 when I first raised my hand and swore to defend my country against all enemy’s both foreign and domestic. And also to obey all orders from my superiors and to abide by all the rules and regulations prescribed for me. This is not word for word what the Oath states but it encompasses the meaning of the Oath. At that time a service member was not administered the Oath if; they were a member or had been a member of the Communist Party, were a CO, were female and pregnant, were homosexual, or made false statements on their application for service. If one changed their mind they faced charges concerning the prelisted conditions, they were charged punished and then usually dishonorably discharged from the service. A pregnant female was generally just released from the service without punishment. The oath that one swore to uphold included all these various items in Military Regulations and orders.

Many of those things have changed over the years and I will not go into the politics or ramifications of those changes.

Since you mentioned the President Elect and his program of civil service I find that it might well end up being called “Universal Military Training” and if it even comes close to that it will certainly conflict with the JW’s. The change that was advertised appears to be in staffing his Cabinet with a number of Clinton retreads. Some of the other programs that he wants are taken right from the FDR playbook, the NRA to hold all businesses by a leash (we the taxpayers will own or partially own and control the major businesses and lending institutions in the US). CCC camps fall into fall into the first part of this paragraph, the WPA will be building and renovating roads and bridges, welfare and subsidies will probably overwhelm the system.

The President Elect has never served in the Armed Forces and I do not expect him to be very knowledgeable of the Military, but he will be the Commander in Chief of all the Armed Forces members. He will be our ultimate leader, and I do not know what he will choose to do in the future, but one of the jobs of leaders is to display leadership to his subordinates. He has made it known that he does not respect the National Anthem, and the Flag Raising Ceremony. And just in case you did not realize it the military mans/womans creed is to honor “God , Flag and Country”.



I would like to add that after 9/11 I remember flags being passed around at work. And when it came to my desk I calmly asked the manager to refrain from putting one on it. He did anyway. I took it and tried to inconspicously throw it away, but someone saw me doing it and started making jabs at me for it. A day later I was in the manager's office explaining why I wasn't a good "patriot," although he had known for a long time I was a Jehovah's Witness, and my stance on political issues. A few weeks passed and my supervisor started giving me a lot of trouble over my neutral stance and told me she was going to get me fired. Then a few months afer daily harrasment and bullying, I was invited into the office where my sup and manager had gotten together some flimsy charges to fire me.

Good article tom, really enjoyed it. Wish I could borrow it to show a couple of "friends" if you don't mind.


BTW I have a talk by Blackwell Victor in MP3 format entitled:
Testifying to Kings and Governors.

I didn't know he had a book out, thanks for the reference.

Tom Sheepandgoats


Sorry to hear of your experience. Sometimes you can defuse a tense situation with tact and respectful reasoning, but other times the deck is just too much stacked against you.

I heard Blackwell speak once in Niagara Falls in the late 1970's, back in the days when most any circuit could invite any Bethelite or theocratic speaker to speak about most anything. They haven't done that for a long time now. The book itself is fascinating for it's legal discussions and it's WWII settings. I refered to it once before regarding flag salute issues:


Bill in Detroit

As Victrix has noted, laws and reality don't always mesh.

The United States Supreme Court deems patriotism to be a religion ... and, with the possible exception of ones own children, it is illegal to cram a religion down anyone's throat.

I was facing a similar situation (the issue was our stance on homosexuality and involved a lesbian supervisor ... I was willing to work in her department, but she made it plain that she was not willing to have me there) and took the matters into my own hands by quitting.

The end was the same, but I liked having some control over the timing.

Bill in Detroit

BTW -- You've been Stumbled. Did you ever think you'd like to be Stumbled? ;-)

Delete this / moderate it out of existence ... just a head's up in case you see a tiny traffic spike.

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