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People have been denied citizenship in America for many reasons. Would it surprise you to learn that four of those people were denied because they were conscientious objectors to war? The government believed that because they were not willing to bear arms in defense of the country, they were not attached to the principles of the Constitution, as required by naturalization law. Ironically, none of these people were eligible for military service because of their age, and two of them were women. Furthermore, when both women were denied citizenship it was during a period when women could not serve in the military. Following overviews of the history of immigration and pacifism in America, chapters are devoted to the four different forms of conscientious objection: philosophical absolute pacifism, religiously informed absolute pacifism, selective conscientious objection, and conscientious cooperator. Each chapter discusses the individual, the arguments for their claim to citizenship, the government's arguments against them, and an analysis of the Supreme Court Opinion in their case. In short, each chapter gives a comprehensive treatment of the personalities and the issues involved. A fascinating and informative read for theology and law students, scholars and for those intrigued in immigration and/or pacifism.
About the Author
Ronald B. Flowers is Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University. He has served on the Editorial Council of the Journal of Church and State. He has authored many books including That Godless Court?: Supreme Court Decisions on Church-State Relationships (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994).