Conscientious Objection The Godless Way

Your conscience is that little voice
Contributing to every choice
For those who let their conscience be their guide
The conscientious types report
If you’re the conscientious sort
You know that voice is coming from inside

For those who know their morals’ source
No Christian God, nor Jedi Force
Is necessary target for our search
But those who lack a moral spine
Whose morals need some source divine
Find conscience in the teachings of the church

For those whose morals are their own
Their stance is theirs, and theirs alone;
For others, moral views are heaven-sent.
I must admit, I was surprised
The moment that I realized
The latter group includes our government!

I guess the laws intend to seek
A very special kind of meek:
Without a god, one cannot show contrition!
Without religion, one can’t choose
From pacifist religious views!
So praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!

See, now, this is where writing in verse is problematic. I finish the above comment, only to find that the problem has been solved. Margaret Doughty’s application for citizenship has been approved, after some very strange requests that her refusal to bear arms in defense of the nation (a 64 year old woman, she would not have been asked to) must be supported by a church’s endorsement. Apparently, conscience (on which conscientious objection depends) is officially seen not as something arising from within, but as something imposed by and supported by a particular religious tradition.

When I started this verse, Doughty represented a clear first amendment violation–that an atheist could object to taking up arms was unheard of. Quakers? Sure. Mennonites? Yup. Brethren? Have your pastor sign on the dotted line. Atheist? Wait just a moment.

I had a nice long rant ready… but Doughty’s application has been approved, so I’ll just go to bed now. You can read all about it here.

Cuttlecap tip to Joan!


  1. Joan says

    Well, I’m twice glad. Glad it’s over so quickly but glad to see the Cuttlespear directed at this kind of bone headed interpretation of what it takes to become a U.S. citizen. Shades of the Vietnam era where I participated in a protest march to defend a local kid who’d been drafted, considered the war immoral, but was unwilling to become a Quaker or escape to Canada. I doubt it ended as well for him.

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