Thirteen Anabaptist church groups in the United States have sent a joint letter to an independent U.S. federal agency making a strong statement of conscientious objection to war and military service, expressing gratitude for religious freedom guaranteed in the U.S. and urging the freedom not to participate in the military.
Like other Canadians, every year Ernie and Charlotte Wiens file their taxes.
Unlike others in Canada, the La Salle, Man. farming couple doesn't send the federal government everything it says they owe—the part that violates their conscience.
For Ernie, 72, and Charlotte, 69, that’s the estimated 10 percent of Canada’s budget spent on the military.
SangMin Lee is believed to be the only Korean Mennonite to choose jail over military service. He was released in July 2015, after serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence. In June 2018, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled against the practice of imprisoning conscientious objectors. (Mennonite World Conference photo)
The Constitutional Court of Korea brought an end to 70 years of imprisoning conscientious objectors when it ruled June 28 that it is unconstitutional for South Korea not to offer alternative service options for COs.
It is estimated that about 20,000 males have been punished for refusing military service since the first draft laws were enacted in 1950.
“In the Second World War there were over 10,000 loyal Canadians who served Canada without weapons. What were they called?” This is the question Conrad Stoesz has been asking students at the Red River Heritage Fair for more than a decade.
This is the view that greeted Amish Mennonite farm boys Dan and Willie Brenneman when they were apprehended by military police and detained at the Carling Heights Military Camp in London, Ont. Despite their conscientious objector status, they were taken while working in a field in East Zorra Township in May 1918.
Although the conscientious objectors were pacifists, they organized boxing matches at the alternative service camps. Here Alvin Bender (played by Johnny Wideman) spars with Rudy Enns (played by Ben Wert), while member of the band Jim Bender (far left) fills in as a bystander. (Photo by Barb Draper)
Glenn Martin’s voice was deep with emotion as he expressed appreciation for Yellow Bellies, a drama that describes the experiences of Mennonite conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War.
Johnny Wideman co-wrote Yellow Bellies with his fellow Theatre of the Beat member, Rebecca Steiner. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)
Rebecca Steiner was happy to have CMU students do research in the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
After exploring lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer inclusion in the Mennonite church in This Will Lead to Dancing, the Stouffville, Ont.-based theatre company Theatre of the Beat is setting its sights on the experience of conscientious objectors (COs) for its new production.
Second World War conscientious objectors (COs) were often sent to provincial parks for manual labour, as part of their alternative service assignments. This photo, taken between 1941-45, depicts Mennonite men getting dressed in their winter clothes around the warmth of a wood stove. Smoke from the stove, with laundry hanging from the rafters, can be seen in the background.
Mennonite Central Committee’s 2015 Go Purple postcard
As we celebrated Peace Sunday at my church this week, a friend of mine got up during the time of sharing and prayer. He told us that November has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness month in Manitoba, and that in response, Mennonite Central Committee’s Voices for Non-Violence is involved in the “Purple Lights Campaign” to shed light on domestic violence and work on prevention. You can learn more about it and find ideas on how to get involved here: http://mcccanada.ca/media/resources/1639
Conrad Stoesz, Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) archivist, is passionate about pursuing peace and the history of conscientious objection to war. His long-held convictions inspired him to contribute a chapter to a new book on the subject and to successfully pursue a grant for the production of a video documentary.
The previous article, “Landscapes of war, a people of peace,” June 25, page 12, noted the challenge of identifying “the Mennonite experience” in the War of 1812, and the fact that the war was significant as the first testing of conscientious objection in Canada.
The War of 1812 is important to commemorate for many reasons. As the only defensive war fought on Canadian soil in the last two centuries, it was also the first testing of the historic peace churches' position of conscientious objection in Canadian history.