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DIVINE PENALTY

FOR GOING TO WAR

OBJECTOR'S BELIEF

While he deplored Fascism and Nazi-ism, he could not even support the Government against Japan, as taking part 'in war would mean breaking his allegiance with God, said James Smith, fellmonger employee, in appealing to No 1 Revision Authority, Mr. A. H. Johnstone, K.C., to-day. Basing his appeal on religious grounds, Smith, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, said he had appealed before a military tribunal on conscientious grounds. Smith stated that if a New Zealand soldier gave his service to Japan ne would be punished with the highest penalty and he considered he, too, would receive the highest penalty from Jehovah God if he broke his allegiance. He denied the suggestion of Mr. J. L. Greenberg, Crown representative, that he • was stringing together Scriptural texts to suit his own ends and to obtain personal protection.

Stating that he had been given the option of performing .non-combatant work but that this was not acceptable to him, appellant added he could have evaded obligations and could have "walked into the Police Force." Nations living in Peace In a lengthy statement read to the Authority, Smith said he attended Bible Class at Matamata from the age of nine to 15. His ideals were to see nations live in peace and he had tried to model his life on the Bible. He intended to remain firm in the attitude he had taken. The Bible did not tell people to take up arms, and he preferred to remain a friend of God, having consecrated himself to the King of Jehovah God. He could not break those views to take part in a war between nations. It was essential to obey the law of God.and not .man's law.

Cross-examined by Mr. Greenberg, appellant said he had belonged to Jehovah's Witness for about. 13 years. It was not merely a question of joining the organisation, but of accepting what was taught. He accepted the truths of the Bible, but did not subscribe to all its teachings as private -interpretation of all the Scriptures was not possible.

Appellant said he did not believe that God took any part in protecting one nation against another. The visible forces of God, he believed, would operate against. the invisible forces of Satan. When Armageddon came Jehovah God would fight, but nations would not be pitted against one another. Jehovah God would give very definite signs when He was ready to conduct Armageddon. Questioned regarding the release of men, women and children held in German atrocity camps, appellant said he did not think that God had any part in obtaining their freedom. There were people on the earth who unwittingly did the work of Satan and they possibly helped. Smith said he would use force to protect himself, but would not kill if he could avoid it. If he did he would have a free conscience. Decision was reserved. Could Not Alter Views

An independent Christian Pacifist, Dennis Lloyd Seer (Mr. Barnard), former civil servant, said he had been m detention for nearly three years. He had been at the crossroads several times, but he could not alter his views. In 1942 he joined the E.P.S. as he considered this service was consistent with the stand he had taken.

Appellant said the pacifist way of life required individual moral force as well as, disarmament in the physical and psychological sense. To associate himself with the armed forces would be to undermine the very methods he advocated.

Seer, who said his father was secretary of the "No More War Movement" in Napier before the war, explained that he had lost his position in the Government service as the result of his views, and an estrangement had developed between him and his wife. It was his desire to see men live in peace, and the life demonstrated by Jesus Christ was the only way to live. Appellant did not have any Christian affiliations, and though he had attended the Baptist Church with his wife he did not join that faith as it was, he considered, militaristic in outlook. He was prepared to do constructive work of benefit to the community, even though it might be used for war purposes. The , State had some claim on his service. He did not belong to the Christian Pacifist Society, but he followed its stand in "the pacifist way of life, as demonstrated by God." Mr. Greenberg said appellant had a good record in the detention camp. The Authority reserved decision. Member of Brethren Basing his application on religious grounds, Graham Rutherford Newport, machinist, stated he could not take part hi' wars, which demanded he should kill his fellow-men.

Applicant stated that he had obtained his views as a result of searching Scriptures and being associated with the Brethren over a period of 13 years.

Asked concerning the views of the Brethren towards war, Alexander Gordon Bain, who was called by Newport, said that 100 of the young men of the church in Auckland had gone to the war, some in a noncombatant capacity. He believed that not more than five per cent had refused service." In every case the movement gave the individual freedom of choice.

Decision was reserved in this case.

Archbishop O'Shea, of Wellington, has returned from Fiji and Samoa. He took part in the silver jubilee celebrations of Bishop Darnand, and attended the centennial of the Marist Missions in Samoa.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450716.2.71

Bibliographic details

DIVINE PENALTY, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

Word Count
904

DIVINE PENALTY Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

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