Conscientious objection to war has become, as never before, one of the most vexing moral and political questions of our time. During the past several years, no issue has provoked more debate and dissent in the United States than the Vietnam War, and nothing has been more disruptive to American foreign relations. While many have understandably objected to the war on purely economic and political grounds in view of its spiraling cost in human and material resources and the lack of any real military objective in sight, an increasing and unprecedented number of Americans, young and old alike, have expressed moral and/or religious considerations. Indeed, objection to the Vietnam War has reached its greatest intensity and most vocal dissent from those who do so on moral and religious grounds. Never before has so much objection to a particular war in which the United States has been involved come from American clergymen and American churches. According to a poll of members of the Religious Newswriters Association, the dissent of the clergy against the draft and the war in Vietnam constituted one of the top three religious news stories of 1968. There is nothing to indicate that this dissent has in any way abated in 1969. Rather, there is much to suggest that the dissent among the clergy and within the churches has measurably increased during the past year.
The growing dissent over the Vietnam War is clearly much deeper than mere impatience with a military strategy which is neither able to effect a victory nor to bring about a termination of the conflict in the foreseeable future. With American casualties now exceeding 300,000, vocal protestors of the war see these