Serving God and country

I have often wondered about Eric Frey Martin’s question, “Are service programs dying?” (March). Serving with Mennonite Central Committee from 1958 to 1960 opened my mind to the world beyond farm life. Now I wonder about only serving God and country during war or a draft. Every new citizen takes an oath to serve their country if called upon through military service or alternative service “of national importance under civilian direction.” Thus, several years ago, I went to a recruitment station to enroll in alternative service. They had no idea what I was talking about. I suggest people keep trying this until they know what alternative service is. We can still serve God and country at the same time. 

Elvin Siebert, Omaha, Neb.


Even if participation is down, Mennonite Voluntary Service provides hope to young Mennonite men who are conscientious objectors. MVS is one of the few programs that could place Mennonites in alternative service in the event of a military draft. Its existence alleviates the moral crisis young Mennonite men face when faced with draft registration at age 18. If the draft is reinstated, at least MVS is there to provide placements for those of us who can’t in good conscience go overseas when ordered to kill for American power.

Let’s wait until Selective Service has died before we let MVS die. The Selective Service System, tasked with drafting men into the military, is dormant but could be easily reactivated. Men in the U.S. are still required to register for the draft and, following a “national emergency,” the U.S. military reserves the right to induct draftees within 193 days. Just because this hasn’t happened since the Vietnam War doesn’t mean it won’t happen; we are more vulnerable to a draft than we think we are. Wars in Iraq, Ukraine and Israel could all be interpreted as national emergencies that could bring back the draft. I would like to see MVS outlive the Selective Service System. 

Fritz Herrick, Manhattan, N.Y. 

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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