Military Service Act

In connection with the recent registration of those subject to military service in the United States, it is learned that in a considerable number of cases Christian Scientists have claimed exemption in three ways: (1) as practitioners; (2) as readers; (3) as conscientious objectors. The question of enlistment seems to be so very personal and individual that it must be worked out by each one on the basis of his own demonstration, but in view of the approaching draft and in response to many inquiries it is believed that the following analysis of the Military Service Act may be helpful to those concerned.

The pertinent parts of the Military Service Act are as follows: "Regular or duly ordained ministers of religion . . . shall be exempt from the selective draft herein prescribed; and nothing in this Act shall be construed to require or compel any person to serve in any of the forces herein provided for who is found to be a member of any well-recognized religious sect or organization at present organized and existing, and whose existing creed or principles forbid its members to participate in war in any form, and whose religious convictions are against war or participation therein in accordance with the creed or principles of said religious organizations, but no person so exempted shall be exempted from service in any capacity that the President shall declare to be noncombatant." "Students who at the time of the approval of this Act are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools" are equally exempt with ministers. Another exempt class is "persons engaged in industries, including agriculture, found to be necessary to . . . the maintenance of national interest during the emergency." Still another is "those in a status with respect to persons dependent on them for support which renders their exclusion or discharge advisable."

"The spiritual ultimate"
July 14, 1917

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.