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INTRODUCING BILL FERGERSON
HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE SOMEONE WHO NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION? And why do an introduction? The reason is that brother Bill Fergerson has recently agreed to assume the role of Editor and Publisher of The Christian Informer. That is why! Brother Fergerson has been a gospel preacher for many years. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, married his good wife, Ruth (Dooley) in Cincinnati; they lived there and raised their family and have recently moved back to Oklahoma. Brother Bill has conducted gospel meetings in many places and is well known for his sound teaching and his strict adherence to God's word which has especially impressed me. I see him as a capable man without hobbies to promote or axes to grind. I look for him to reign in any wild notions others might have, bringing his readers to focus on the word of God as the only authority and the settler of all issues.
I have occupied this position for over 20 years and have appreciated as well as been amazed at the reception, encouragement and support that The Christian Informer has had. I hope to continue to write for the paper from time to time, but it will belong to Bill Fergerson and he most likely will make some changes as he sees fit. I'm sure that all of you will continue to give him the splendid cooperation which you have provided me. God bless him in this effort and God bless you for your helping in this way to further the Cause of Christ. - Richard Nichols
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IS A DRAFT POSSIBLE?
There are certain groups in this country who keep their finger on the pulse of elected officials to determine what laws they might enact which would have a bearing on the conscientious objector. One such group believes there will be a military draft proposed soon. In The Reporter for Conscience' Sake, Volume 65, Winter 2008, Number 4, Pages 4 and 5, the following article appeared:
NATIONAL SERVICE: A SURPRISING NEW DIRECTION FOR OUR TOMORROW
"If we are going into war then all of us go, not just some." President Barack Obama, September 13, 2008, National Service Forum at Columbia University.
"It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service...
Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we're hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities' most pressing needs.” Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to Barack Obama, co-author of The Plan, pages 61-62, 2006.
The intentions of the new administration are clear: Change is coming.
There is already a call for an increase of 90,000 service members and always there hovers the possibility of a draft. In this historic time, the Center on Conscience & War is asking our supporters to remain vigilant and active in the pursuit of peace.
On 13 September 2008 at the National Service Forum at Columbia University president-elect Barack Obama, while speaking about the unequal burden of military service being placed on young men and women from small towns, spoke the following words, "And I think it's important for the President to say, this is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some."
In his election night acceptance speech, Obama again raised the issue of service; "So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."
CCW, as one of the oldest draft counseling organizations in the nation, which has monitored draft issues for decades, believes that Obama0s language is an attempt to test the American public's willingness to support a draft or mandatory national service. The plan of Rahm Emanuel is strikingly clear.
We cannot afford to watch and wait in hope. We need to act now to prevent a draft or mandatory service from being forced upon our young people.
The intentions of the new administration are clear. We need to act by engaging our friends, family, neighbors, and Congressional members by informing them about the myths and facts about the draft and universal service. We need to let President-Elect Obama know that this nation will no longer supply the bodies that are required for war.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT THE DRAFT
Myth: In terms of economic status and race, there would be greater diversity.
Fact: No draft will ever be fair. A draft always has exemptions and the people with knowledge and comprehension of these exemptions will be much more likely to successfully apply.
Myth: A draft would be fair if we limit exemptions to only those medically unfit and conscientious objectors to war.
Fact: A person who has medical records since before they were born will be more likely to be declared medically unfit than a person who grew up going to an emergency room, free clinic, or perhaps had no doctor. A study reported in the Washington Post in 2004 in which all factors other than race were accounted for showed that African-Americans are sicker than Anglos. During the Vietnam War, however, a higher percentage20of Anglos received a medical exemption than African-Americans.
In reality, a draft board will often misinterpret a claim of conscientious objection as insincere if the applicant lacks writing and oral presentation skills which are often gained through being afforded a solid education.
Myth: A draft will help end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as stop an invasion of Iran and Pakistan.
Fact: A military draft was in place prior to both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The easy accessibility of new personnel only fueled both wars. The military draft ended three years prior to the end of the Vietnam War, but the antiwar movement continued. The fact is that the newly and increasingly technologically based military does not need the same amount of people to invade - only to maintain territory after the invasion. The occupation of Iraq is a clear case in point.
Myth: Universal service will help instill patriotism in our young people and add to the strength of the military while providing an alternative for those opposed to the war.
Fact: Our country was founded on the principal of freedom to choose which includes the freedom to vote and the freedom to serve. Patriotism cannot be forced. Universal service is unlikely to give the truly equal choice between civilian work and military work. Military service has always provided better benefits and thereby put a thumb on the scale. Take a closer look at the military. AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps20and examine the benefits of each.
[Brothers and sisters in Christ, Those who understand that following Christ involves suffering for Him and a non-violent way of life have always been opposed to serving in military service. I served in a civilian alternative service myself as many of you did. Others who might not have understood these principles but have since learned that in Christ "we are called to peace," should acknowledge this understanding to all others.
In the past, The Christian Informer has tried to bring you information which might assist you in this regard. The article above came from a paper printed by The Center on Conscience & War, an organization designed to assist anyone who may be having difficulty standing for his or her religious beliefs. We do not claim to indorse them but simply give this to, once again, inform you.
From what I have read the C.C.W. is a politically active organization, putting pressure on various law-makers on a number of issues. We don't recommend the children of God partake in politics nor should they be involved in protests, but are to be passively good citizens obeying the laws of man as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God (Acts 5:29).
If we understand it right, several involved in C.C.W. belong to passive religious groups. Nevertheless, many of you are concerned about what the future might hold for yourselves and your family, and so we believe the above arti cle should allow you some insight as to what the coming days may hold. We all need to "be ready to give an answer" when asked about our faith (1 Peter 3:15).
Those of you who are very concerned may find more information by asking to be placed on the mailing list of The Reporter for Conscience' Sake. The Reporter is a donation only paper which, if you want to receive it, you may be asked to send a small contribution. If interested in receiving their publication, the address is: Center on Conscience & War, 1830 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009-5706].
- Richard Nichols
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