a conscientious objection, pt. 4

Just a little more of the essay today...

My failure to cooperate brought me another charge, "Disobeying a Lawful Order," and two days in the brig. The strip search was unpleasant. But the food was surprisingly good.

For the next several months I stayed at the Bachelor Officer's Quarters on base, waiting for the military justice system to process my case. During this time I read Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You. And I realized that my experiences were not isolated and that there was much in Jesus' life and teachings directing us to choose mercy instead of discipline, meekness instead of power. I came to believe that it was not right to use violence or the threat of violence against others, even those considered our enemies. I suppose I had always thought of myself as a conscientious objector, of sorts. But my reasons had been personal and private. Now I had the convictions that were generally recognized as those of a military conscientious objector. But I never considered applying to the Navy for CO status.

It was probably too late at that point anyway. But the more I became convinced that what the military was doing was wrong—not just wrong for me, but simply wrong—the more I thought it was important to stand against that wrong.