KANSAS CITY (Mennonite Mission Network) – While the last US military draft came to an end in 1973, the question ‘Are you ready to face a military recruiter?’ has remained relevant for every young adult who has frequented a career expo, state fair or public school cafeteria in the decades since.
Jason Boone, minister of peace and justice with Mennonite Mission Network, led the seminar, ‘Are you ready to face a military recruiter’ on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 as part of the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City. After a few questions to the attendees, he gave the floor to Glen Guyton, the executive director of Mennonite Church USA, to speak about his time in the US Air Force. Guyton served as an Air Force captain when he joined the Mennonite denomination in 1993 and became a conscientious objector.
Guyton urged attendees to consider how the oath of the military contrasts with the teachings of Jesus. “How will it serve the purpose that God called you to do?” he asked.
Oscar Suárez, an attendee in the audience, shared about his experiences in becoming a conscientious objector in Colombia, a country which enforces compulsory military service for all men when they reach age 18. Without military service, Suárez has not been issued a military ID, a necessity for finding a job. “I am still confident in my decision,” he said. “Jesus is going to open other doors and other options.”
Ramon Lainez, co-pastor at Central Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio, was also in the audience. He offered his perspective from serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army before becoming a conscientious objector.
“When I look back 25 years ago, I was where you’re at,” he told the other attendees. “You may not know who you are right now, and you need to start thinking about that.”
Boone concluded the event by asking attendees to take away three meditations.
“Know who you are, know who Jesus is, and know that there are options,” he said. “If you keep those in mind, you’re going to be OK.”