When nations start pounding the war drums, you’d better snap to. Even when they’re not pounding, but merely tuning them up, they don’t put up with much dissent. Thus there are peaceful countries (as countries go) such as South Korea in which young people are drafted into the military. Our people don’t go. So they routinely do jail time instead, since no exemption for conscience is granted.
From the preceding, a person might conclude that Jehovah’s Witnesses are pacifists. But we’re not. We are neutral.
If you were merely a pacifist, you might just do food service. Or Hummer repair. Or patch up wounded troops. Or mend uniforms. But if you’re neutral, you don’t do any of those things.
Neutral is a tougher sell to governments. Many can deal with pacifists. But not neutrality.
For too long a time my soul has tabernacled with the haters of peace. I stand for peace, but when I speak, they are for war. Ps 120:6,7
The neutrality stems from our view of God’s Kingdom. We take it seriously. We take it literally. It is the government that will, at long last, bring peace and restore earth to God’s original purpose. We endeavor to represent that kingdom.
We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us....2 Cor 5:20
If you were an ambassador from, say…. Krukordistan, you would live in Washington, or Ottawa, or London, or Paris. You would adapt to all laws and customs of your host country. You’d come to love the land in which you live, and its people. But...when it comes to the host’s politics, you wouldn't really take a position...nor would anyone expect you to. It is not your business...your business is to represent Krukordistan . Even if heavy issues develop and positions evolve for which, living in the host country, you may have some sympathy, still, it is not your job to take sides. Your lack of involvement is not because of callousness, or apathy, or lack of interest in fellowman...but it is simply not your place, representing Krukordistan, to take sides in the disputes of your host country.
That is our position regarding God’s Kingdom. It’s not entirely dissimilar to Abraham’s position:
By faith Abraham, when he was called….resided as an alien in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God. Heb 11:8-10