As the U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf approaches six months and combat escalates, students at home are struggling inside. Some students have decided they are willing to fight. Others do not support the objectives of Operation Desert Storm. Still others morally oppose war entirely. The last group, called conscientious objectors, are exempted from service in the event of a draft if they can prove they are truly opposed to war and are not just trying to evade the draft. On Tuesday, interested students can learn how to demonstrate their commitment to their sentiments and how to help others make their own moral decisions about war. The Association of the Clergy of the Christian Association, is offering a training seminar on being a conscientious objector. The Association is composed of area ministers. The session for conscientious objectors will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the CA Building, located at 36th Street and Locust Walk. Members of all faiths are welcome to attend. Reverend Beverly Dale, who is organizing the training session, said the ministers "want to train people to be counselors to know what to say and how to say it, the ins and outs of being [a conscientious objector]." Ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran Alan Nelson will be the featured speaker and trainer at the session. Nelson was referred to the CA by the Philadelphia Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. Sara Paomer, an intern at the Central Committee, urged concientious objectors to begin the process now. "You should begin working and thinking about it as soon as possible," Paomer said. "Start collecting information . . . , but until you receive an induction letter you cannot apply for C.O. [conscientious objector] status." Paomer explained the system that one must proceed through to declare themselves a conscientious objector. Upon being drafted one should apply for several applications, including the one specific to conscientious objectors. The application, according to Paomer, will require the individual to answer three essay questions and submit supporting letters. She advised one to "include letters of support from clergy and friends. Definitely get counseling from a draft counselor and . . . if you have a record of peace activity and have news clippings, send them in." Paomer explained that, "any works of charity, taking care of the homeless, or other group memberships, might help." There are two types of conscientious objectors, according to the Central Committee, 1-0 and 1-A-0. The former is an objector to all military service, and the latter is an objector to combat service. After all the forms are processed, the U.S. Draft Board will consider the application and hold a hearing. Published and broadcast reports have indicated a draft is not likely unless fighting continues for a long time, possibly for more than a year. Even then, the decision will not be up to President Bush or the Pentagon, but to Congress. Captain Lyle Lewis, Jr., the director of the Naval Officer Education Program at the University, said he has no knowledge of any indication of "movement in the direction of the draft." Current law requires males who are 18 or over to register with the selective service. This can be done at any post office.Comments powered by Disqus
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