GA NEWS: Overture on conscientious objectors approved by peacemaking Committee

Overture 11-22, from the Presbytery of San Francisco, On Supporting Those Who Feel Called to Seek Status as Conscientious Objectors, was approved 57 to 15 by the Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues today (June 23).

        Overture 11-22 makes it possible for non-confirmed baptized members and attending non-members of congregations to register their conscientious objector status with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stated clerk.

        Ian McGarvey is an example of why this overture was prepared.

At 14, Ian McGarvey is perhaps not the stereotypical conscientious objector. But when Ian and his father, Will McGarvey of the Community Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg, Calif., realized that the “No Child Left Behind” process included a registration of all students with the Selective Service System, what may have been a theoretical issue became all of a sudden much more practical.

In thinking about issues of war and faith, Ian began to wonder if he ever would be willing to engage in violence. His realization that he is against war and would not be willing to participate in armed conflict led him to seek registration as a Conscientious Objector. However, because Ian is a baptized but not confirmed member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he was not able to register within the PC(USA), which limited the ability to register with the stated clerk to those who are members.

 Ian ended up doing so through a secular Web site.