Conscientious Objectors Law and Legal Definition

A conscientious objector is a person who refuses to serve in the military due to religious or strong philosophical views opposed to war or killing. Refusing to respond to a draft call is a federal felony, but may be excused when a person's objections to service are based upon religious beliefs which are long-standing and consistent (as with the Quakers). The objection to service must not be based upon political, sociological, or economic reasons. Conscientious objectors may be required to perform some non-violent service like working in a hospital. During the Vietnam War some conscientious objectors fled to Canada to avoid any military service. Those who do not agree with these objectors sometimes call them "draft dodgers."