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7 Christian Denominations With Most Liberal Stance on the Military

By    |   Thursday, 07 May 2015 07:06 AM

The seven Christian denominations with the most liberal stances on the military contain names that many people might not have ever heard. Those most opposed to Christian military involvement include the Mennonites, Hutterites, Molokans, Society of Friends ("Quakers"), Amish, Church of the Brethren, and Christadelphians.

Since members of some of these sects, such as the Amish, still dress in plain clothes and read by candlelight, it might be difficult to regard them as "liberal."

However, in military matters, the liberal stance holds as follows, according to News-Basics:
"War means violence against innocent people, death and injury to young soldiers, and more pain and suffering than the news ever shows. We’re too quick to use our armed forces."

People who are part of these "peace religions” are generally opposed to violence, and they find strong and immediate support in the teachings of their religious communities about war and pacifism.

Members of these sects differ, however, on a number of questions, such as whether violence can be justified for self-defense, whether members should mingle with people outside of their communities, and how much discretion should be left to individuals about whether and how to serve in the armed forces.

Here is more information about these seven denominations and what sets them apart.

1. Molokans

The Molokans originated in Russia but split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 18th century. Because their religion stressed pacifism, many agreed to go to the Kars region of the Balkans to avoid military service in the czar's army, according to EurasiaNet.org. 

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In the early 20th century, many emigrated from the Balkans to places as farflung as Mexico and Australia. Some years ago, though, many emigrants to Baja California, Mexico, lost their land after refusing to put up a physical fight to defend it against Mexican squatters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

2. Hutterites

Many other members of peace sects also continue to follow traditional ways. The Hutterites, who live mostly in southern Canada and the northern U.S., still practice communal living, with everyone in the community contributing output "in" and taking "out" what they want, according to gotquestions.org. 

3. Christadelphians

The Christadelphians still believe in separating themselves from the rest of the world, including the military, politics, and social and environmental movements. Unlike members of other peace religions, they do not consider themselves to be pacifists. 

Instead, the Christadelphians say they plan to wait to use physical force until the return of Christ, when they will help to subdue the world. They refer to themselves as conscientious objectors and refuse to serve in the military of any nation, according to the Christadelphian Research website.

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4. Amish

The Amish, who split from the Mennonites in the late 1600s, still live in tightknit communities. The local church provides extensive guidance, according to the history.mennonite.net website. 

5. Mennonites

Meanwhile, groups such as the Mennonites, Quakers, and Brethren have been assimilating with the larger society. Although certain conservative branches of the Mennonite church still dress simply, most Mennonites are not cultural separatists. Also, unlike the Amish, they enjoy technology and other modern conveniences. While some Mennonites carry out military service, many prefer to follow Christ’s example of service to others by doing missionary work outside the community.

6. Society of Friends

This group of Quakers in the U.K. won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for their work in manning ambulances during World War II, according to the Nobel Prize website. 

7. Church of the Brethren

Originally, the Brethren believed waging war was the prerogative of the state rather than the church. However, the cultural distinctiveness of Brethren life began to fade after the Civil War. With increased Americanization, many church members shifted away from the church’s traditional stance. Generally speaking, the church responded with greater tolerance for dissension.

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The 1935 Annual Conference took the position that “all war is sin; it is wrong for Christians to support or engage in it.” In the 1939 Conference, though, the church’s attitude toward a member who goes to war turned into one of “brotherly love and forbearance, endeavoring by faithful teaching to restore him as long as he expresses desire to continue membership in the Church of the Brethren.” During World War II, only 20 percent of Brethren members who were drafted claimed conscientious objector status, while most of those drafted served in the war, says the brfwitness.org website.

In survey results from 1999, nearly two-thirds of Brethren said they would either enter noncombatant or regular military service if faced with a draft. Only one-third said they would stick by the traditional Brethren belief that it is wrong for a Christian to participate in any war by fighting.

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The seven Christian denominations with the most liberal stances on the military contain names that many people might not have ever heard.Those most opposed to Christian military involvement include the Mennonites, Hutterites, Molokans and Amish.
christian, military, liberal, church
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2015-06-07
Thursday, 07 May 2015 07:06 AM
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