02 Mar

The Truth Commission on Conscience in War


Schedule at a Glance

March 21, 4-8 pm

Public hearing
Location: The Riverside Church Nave, New York City

  • Screening of Soldiers of Conscience
  • Testimony from Veterans
  • Briefings from Expert Witnesses

March 22, 9 am-4 pm

Meeting of Commissioners and Testifiers (closed to public)

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Public Hearing Private Session for Commissioners
Sunday, March 21, 2010
4 – 8pm
The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Dr.
New York, NY 10027
Monday, March 22, 2010
9am – 4pm
The Riverside Church and
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

The Truth Commission on Conscience in War, a national gathering of community and religious leaders, advocacy groups, and artists, will receive personal testimony from veterans and briefings from expert witnesses about:

  • moral and religious questions facing soldiers both before and during combat
  • moral and religious criteria of just war
  • international agreements governing the justification and conduct of war
  • limits of military regulations on Conscientious Objection

Truth Commission proceedings will launch conversations about just war, international law, and greater freedom of conscience for our nation’s service members, conversations led by the Commissioners.

The Truth Commission is supported by your tax-deductible donations and led by a growing list of organizational co-sponsors – including educational institutions and nonprofit organizations:

Become a donor today!

Join as a co-sponsor by contacting Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Project Director, at or 510-459-5123.

TCCW Endorsements

This Truth Commission, rather than focus on troop deployments or withdrawals, has been designed to step back and ask the most important questions: Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just? Are they permissible under international law? Are they moral? And if they are not, as I believe they are not, what are the options for a person of conscience serving in uniform?

  • Mr. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize-winning war correspondent for The New York Times and author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

I am heartened by this  conversation between those whose faith commitment leads them to nonviolence and those who adhere to a just war ethic.  This is not always an easy conversation, but it is a vital conversation for our common ground far exceeds our differences.

  • David B. Miller, Associate Professor of Missional Leadership Development, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Giving testimony – and bearing witness. These are practices as old as the hills and as needed today, in the midst of two wars, as much as they have ever been. Let’s hear the voices of the traumatized echo in our midst – and be moved to justice anew for all who serve in the armed forces and willingly sacrifice on our behalf.

  • Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary and author of Trauma and Grace

The United States of America is founded on principals of political and religious freedom. When we punish the soldier who heeds his or her moral compass, our democracy is in grave danger. We fail as American citizens and we fail as human beings. As a mother, an advocate, a teacher, a feminist, and an interfaith minister, I testify that the first Truth Commission on Conscience in War is vital and timely.

  • Rev. Dr. Kaia Stern, Truth Commission Chair and Professor, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, Harvard Law School

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominate much of current U.S. foreign policy, I cannot think of a more timely moment for this Truth Commission. It holds the promise of bringing moral ideas too often hidden in narrow academic circles into a setting of lively public discourse, thereby making a principled contribution to an urgent, fractious national debate. The focus on conscientious objection centralizes the core question of individual, citizen moral rights in relation to the practical interests of the nation-state.

  • Rev. Dr. Traci C. West, Professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Drew University Theological School

Why Hold A Truth Commission on Conscience in War?

Current requirements for Conscientious Objector status require opposition to “war in any form.” This requirement denies freedom of conscience to any service member who believes that some wars may be morally justified while others are not. Service members who oppose a particular war, such as those in Iraq or Afghanistan, have no legal basis for refusing to deploy. Instead, they face sanctions, and even court martial and prison for following their conscience.
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The Truth Commission is a project of Faith Voices for the Common Good (nonprofit fiscal sponsor), Luna Productions, the Riverside Church, Starr King School for the Ministry, and Union Theological Seminary

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