Statements of Conscience

Sarah C Rozard

OHIO, United States

2011-03-25

I am conscientiously opposed to war, to the military that organizes and prepares for war, and to supporting or condoning war through any other mechanisms, to name a few: taxes, purchasing with certain corporations, divisive thinking, believing in redemptive violence, or believing in any other form of violence. I seek to have Spirit, integrity, faith, prayer, love, and simplicity guide my life. When I listen to the Spirit, when I am open to my faith and my prayer, I know that peaceful relations is what I need as a human, and what we need as communities and states. I have found that treating people lovingly and with respect builds trust, and that trust leads to cooperation. My understanding of war is of harming, torturing, threatening, intimidating, dictating or killing other people by a political entity for political ends. I have never found the living Spirit, growth, rebirth, or anything life affirming in any form of violence.

I grew up in the Religious Society of Friends, and am still an active member of my monthly meeting in Western New York State, Alfred Monthly Meeting. In Tallahassee Monthly Meeting, the Meeting I grew up in with roughly 30 adult members, I looked up to each individual, and saw my community build itself stronger by resolving conflicts with truthful and compassionate listening and communicating; this influenced the beliefs I have today about conflict resolution and war. Growing up in the Religious Society of Friends the conversation of right and wrong, of conscience, and of war was a part of my understanding of the world. War has always been real to me. I have traveled back and forth to Indonesia my entire life, and bombs and internal conflicts exist there; Everyday we drove on this one road and one day we took another road. It turned out that the day before there had been a bomb destroying one point on the road. One time we could not go to a movie because of riots downtown, later we learned the rioters had burned many of the buildings in the downtown area. Another reality of war for me was my grandfather was in the Indonesian military during World War II seeking independence from Dutch occupation and I know that he brought his experiences of violence from the war into his home and then my father brought that violence from his childhood into my childhood. Through my understandings and experiences I know that war does nothing to create true resolution, that war only creates more violence that lives on and reproduces long after the war is over.

My daily actions are completely influenced by the objection of my conscience to war. My major in college is Peace Studies. I volunteer 4 hours a week with a group called the Conscience Studio whose focus is the issue of and issues surrounding CO status. I facilitate Alternatives to Violence Workshops in my town, Alfred, in a nearby prison, Groveland, and in a former war zone, Aceh, Indonesia. I educate others I know about my views about war and why I hold them. Regularly throughout the year I attend rallies, vigils, and protests that oppose war. I continue to be active in my Quaker faith and to learn and grow more with my dedicated historic peace church community. When I can I consistently buy anything I need from local and ethical businesses in order to not contribute any money on the multi-billion dollar businesses that are a major financial player in the system that supports and is supported by war. I seek to be loving and honest with all the people with whom I interact because I know that no one is an enemy. I do not pay federal taxes in order not to contribute any money on military spending. My long term goals in life include, remaining life affirming, being able to forgive, listening to and acting on what my conscience tells me, having discipline, not abusing any harmful substances, being full of grace, and listening to my loved ones.

Sarah Mandolang

Alfred, New York USA

11/06/07