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Summary of grounds for seeking exemption from combatant duty.

Information for Bahá'ís called to fill out the Questionnaire on military duty under the Draft Act 1940

by National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

The National Spiritual Assembly wishes to assist all believers affected by the draft and conscription acts to make application for exemption from combatant duty on the grounds that as Bahá'ís they are members of a religious body which forbids them to serve in the fighting forces if their government provides exemption on religious grounds.

The Bahá'ís teachings are therefore summarized, so that the believers who fill out the draft questionnaire can do so on the basis of the authentic teachings of their Faith. It would affect the Cause adversely to have believers give different answers to questions concerning the teachings.
  1. It is incumbent upon all Bahá'ís to seek exemption from combatant military duty if the government provides exemption on grounds of religious membership and belief

  2. In claiming exemption the Bahá'í does not act from individual conscience but from obedience to the spiritual principles of his Faith.

  3. The Bahá'í is obedient to this government, and his religion obliges him to perform combatant military duty if his government will not exempt him.

  4. When exempted from combatant service the Bahá'í will serve in any other capacity in accordance with the provisions of the conscription act.

  5. The Bahá'í has the moral right under his religious teaching to volunteer his services to his country provided he can do so in non-combatant fields such as ambulance work, anti-air raid precaution service, office and administrative work.

  6. The National Spiritual Assembly filed with the United States War Department in 1934 and with the Department of National Defense of Canada in 1935, a statement on the Bahá'í Teachings concerning Universal Peace, and this action gives the Bahá'ís of both countries the status of members of a religious body qualified to apply for exemption, under the conscription and draft acts. A copy of this statement in pamphlet form can be obtained from the Bahá'í Publishing Committee, P. 0. Box 348, Grand Central Annex New York, N. Y. (after October 1, address changed to 112 Linden Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois) or Western Division, 6732 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, Calif. The cost of the pamphlet is five cents.

  7. One's membership in the Bahá'í community will be established for you by a letter from your local Assembly. Believers living in localities where a local Spiritual Assembly does not exist can apply for credentials from the National Spiritual Assembly. If called upon to give the name and address of the National Assembly, it is: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, 536 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, Illinois.

  8. Local Assemblies and National Committees are requested to assist individual believers as much as possible in their understanding of the teaching and procedure here set forth.

  9. If those subject to conscription are called upon to answer any general questions on the nature of the Bahá'í Faith, they can use the Guardian's own summary of the history and aims of the Cause, "The World Religion", a copy of which is enclosed. Appearance before a draft board is an unusual opportunity to place the Bahá'í Teachings on official record.
536 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, Ill.
September 17, 1940
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