The Presbytery of San Francisco overtures the 218th General Assembly (2008) to do the following:
1. Approve the following policy:
The 218th General Assembly (2008) reaffirms the church’s position on the freedom of conscience, especially as it relates to a person’s status as a conscientious objector against participating in the armed services, (cf. the 215th General Assembly (2003) statement: On Strengthening Our Christian Peacemaking Vision and Witness in Wartime, Minutes, 2003, Part I, p. 651).
2. Therefore, the 218th General Assembly (2008)
a. Encourages the Peacemaking Program to produce and identify study guides and discernment materials for individuals, congregations, and presbyteries to help church members and their friends be able to articulate God’s calling on their lives in regard to participating in the armed forces, and war. Such materials will be made available on the denomination’s Website, with notice of its accessibility sent to every congregation and presbytery in the denomination.
b. Encourages presbyteries to provide education opportunities for ministers, military chaplains, and sessions on how to fulfill their responsibility of educating young people about issues of faith, conscience, and war, including civic alternatives to serving the country through the armed forces.
c. Encourages presbyteries and sessions to create a structure to document and support those who feel called to seek status as conscientious objectors to participation in the armed forces, or war. Active members of the church can now register with the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly for conscientious objector status, and certificates are sent to the church for their records and for the church member (G-5.0202) (2003 Statement—Minutes, 2003, Part I, p. 651, Recommendations 2, 3. Also found in “Presbyterians and Military Service—PDS #7027005035). Encourages the Stated Clerk, presbyteries, and sessions to extend this ministry to non-confirmed baptized members (G-5.0201) and to attending non-members of the church as a function of the church’s ongoing pastoral care, outreach, and work of reconciliation (G-5.0301a-c).
d. Directs the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) to communicate the denominational stances and policies to members of the U.S. Administration, the Department of Defense, each branch of the armed forces, military chaplains, and others to include those Presbyterians who have discerned that they are conscientious objectors with all the rights and responsibilities of official conscientious objector status.