Many of our young men are being faced with needless draft problems. Here is a brief article showing how to avoid them.
A FEW months ago, a man from God's Church who was in the military reserves was called back into service. After being assigned to a unit, he found himself in all sorts of trouble as a result of his religious beliefs and practices. This culminated in a severe beating, behind locked doors in the barracks. He had internal injuries, facial bruises and cuts, as well as other head injuries. Such an account may seem strange in our land of peace and freedom, but Christ prophesied such things would befall some of His true disciples.
It Could Happen to You
Another young man, who was a second year student at Ambassador College, was called back into active service. He had no idea or advance notice that he might be called. One day he received a telegram instructing him to return to active duty. He thought his military days were over. He was mistaken. A third young man, the father of two children, first heard of God's Church a little over a year ago. He became interested and in due time was baptized. About three weeks later he received back copies of the Good News Magazine and while reading them came across the article, "Should a Christian Fight?" This was the first time he knew about Gods instruction concerning warfare and fighting. A few days later he received his notice to report for induction into the Army. What would you do in such a case if you know God's instruction that you could not enter military service? These are just three examples of the problems that some men in God's Church have faced and that some of you may face. We know that, in this climax at the close of the present age, there are going to be ever-increasing wars and rumors of wars. We never know when a new day will bring another "police action" such as the one in Korea. When it comes, the draft will be stepped up and more of our young men will find themselves with problems concerning military service and the draft. Just how can you, if you are a young man of draft age, avoid trouble? There are three things that will help. First, seek God's help and wisdom; secondly, seek wise counsel; and thirdly, ACT! Let me explain these things in more detail. God is ruler over all and He does intervene for His servants when they trust Him in faith and do their part.
Counseling Service Available
God has made it possible to have a department here at the headquarters church to counsel and advise men with military and draft problems. The men working in this department are mostly men who are now past the draft age. Prior to knowing God's right ways they were all in military service. They have personally experienced military life and know what it involves. These men have now learned God's laws and commands concerning military service. They have also learned the procedures and laws of the Selective Service System, and the regulations concerning men in military service. Two men in the department recently made a special trip to Washington, D.C., to confer with top men in the Selective Service System, and with men who deal constantly with the draft and military officials on behalf of men who have become conscientious objectors to military service. One man in the department is a lawyer, licensed to practice law in California and Illinois. The services of these men are available to you, completely free of charge, so that you might have proper counsel in your own particular problem. Some of you have not known of these facilities, and therefore, you have been trying to work these problems out alone. As a result, you may get yourself into serious difficulties. There are others of you who do know of this service and who' have written to us and then did not follow the advice. There are also some who do not even answer our letters. We have noticed that those who have not followed our advice are quick to write in when they find themselves in trouble! Sometimes that is too late. We need to have copies of all correspondence between a registrant or serviceman and his draft board or military officials. Without this information in our files we are not able to wisely advise anyone. Each young man should have his own personal file with three copies of every letter he has written to his draft board, or military superiors. He should also have copies of every letter he has received from his board or military superiors. In addition, he needs to have a copy of all the answers he has given on the Selective Service System questionnaires. If he does not have this information he should go to his draft board and request to see his own personal file and then copy down this information. In addition, we need to have a duplicate file of these very same things. Here is where many of the men who have written to us have fallen down on the job. They have not kept us posted about all of these things!
Be Sure to Follow Printed Instructions
Another problem is that some do not read carefully and thoroughly the forms and letters of Selective Service and do not read our instructions and printed information carefully. One very important point that is plainly marked on the Selective Service Forms concerns the matter of time. The forms must be returned promptly, within the time limit specified. Usually this is ten days from the date of mailing. If this time limit is not observed the board has no legal requirement to accept the form. Any correspondence from the draft board must be handled immediately! There are others who never write to us until trouble comes. Then it may be too late to do anything about it, or it may be extremely difficult, or costly in attorneys' fees, to correct the situation. A registrant will probably find himself in court if he fails to comply with the regulations, or fails to be inducted into military service, or fails to comply with work orders under alternative service. The first court trial may cost all the way from five hundred to a thousand dollars. If he is found guilty he may be imprisoned up to five years or fined up to $10,000. If he decides to appeal the case to a higher court, it may cost from one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars. This is in addition to the cost of the first time in court. I hope that this statement of penalties and costs will encourage you to act on the advice of Gods Church so that you may avoid such tremendous costs or penalties!
Advice for Men Under Draft Age
If you are a young man of about 17 years and you do want to obey God, please send us your name, age, and address so that we can begin to send you important information concerning the draft, and the Bible teaching concerning warfare. If you believe that God has commanded you to refuse military service, tell a few of your friends about this at an appropriate time. This may strengthen your case later. The laws of the United States require that you register at age 18, or within five days of your eighteenth birthday. This does not conflict with the laws of God, therefore God also commands you to register. You are also required by law to carry your registration arid classification cards with you at all times. One important requirement that some men have neglected to fulfill is to notify the board of any changes that might affect their classification. This includes such things as marital status change, birth of children if married, and change of religious belief to that of a "conscientious objector." This should be done as long as you are within the ages of liability (ages 18 to 26, or if in a deferred classification to age 35). We should be thankful that in the United States men who prove their sincerity as "conscientious objectors" may work for two years in certain assigned jobs instead of induction into the Armed Forces. In that way a Christian may serve God, and be obedient to his country at the same time.
Instructions for Servicemen
Other men come into God's Church who are already in military service. They also need to seek wise counsel from Gods Church, before they request a discharge or action from their military superiors. Much trouble may be avoided by following this instruction. If all the young men in God's Church will follow these instructions there will be less trouble for them, and we will have fewer serious cases to deal with here at the Headquarters Church. There are going to be problems that cannot be avoided, but there are some problems that we can avoid. Let's do what is right and avoid all of the problems we can. As a result of God's intervention, and help and counsel from the office here, the two men who were called back into service have now been completely discharged. They are happy civilians again! The young man who was given a notice of induction has now been reclassified and was not inducted. It is important that you too, if you are of draft age, obey God, be close to Him in prayer, Bible study, and have faith. You must obey men's laws when they do not conflict with Gods laws. You should seek wise counsel. Then ACT on that advice. You'll be glad you did!