1946 Stmt by W.J. Hughes re conscientious objection in NZ Aug 30, 2018 17:48:42 GMT -5
Post by CherieKropp on Aug 30, 2018 17:48:42 GMT -5
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT WAS READ AT THE CHRISTIAN CONVENTION
HELD AT TE ORE ORE, MASTERTON, ON 6th JANUARY, 1945,
AND WAS AGREED TO WITHOUT A DISSENTIENT VOICE.
Most of us will remember a statement which I made from this platform four or five years ago to this effect that "our attitude towards war must be one of individual conscience, and if any person feels that they can go further than others in the matter they must not be penalised, and it must not make any difference to our fellow
The years have now passed and the war is over. Although we declared in favour of this liberty of conscience, the result has been that 100 per cent of our men of military age have, because of freely exercised conscience on Christian grounds, found it impossible to take part in combatant warfare and 98 per cent found it impossible to take any part in warfare in any capacity.
121 members were committed to Defaulters' Detention. Of this number five ceased to attend the meetings of the fellowship in the Camps, but 117 remained faithful to the meetings and to their
Christian profession. Of this 117, 14 were released because of age or Medical grading, and all but one of the others applied for release on parole as genuine conscientious objectors. 86 were allowed and 14 refused. That is, of 115 men committed to Detention, 100 have been released and 16 are still held.
Therefore it has been proved that through the freely exercised individual conscience, we are a people who are 100 per cent against war.
We may receive much blame for this but we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have not made one wife a widow or one child fatherless in the countries who became enemies to the British Empire during the recent world war. Our Missionaries were labouring in all those countries previous to the war, and we can go back to them with a good conscience, knowing that we did not go first with the Gospel, then with weapons of war and then return again with the Gospel. We have felt that our attitude was the only one which we could adopt consistent with our profession of loving Christ and His teaching and the souls of men of all nations whom He shed His blood to save.
(Signed) W. J. HUGHES.