Seventh-day Adventist Community Chaplains Association
ADVICE FOR ADVENTISTS
FOR THOSE BEING CONSCRIPTED
Inform your pastor of your notice to report to the military and the date you are to begin serving
Ask members of your home church to pray for you
Tell the authorities about your faith convictions and ask for accommodation or consideration of your faith practices
Enter the military with a positive spirit. Many Adventists have served honorably, been promoted and earned awards without sacrificing their integrity. They "survived" their military experience and so can you. In fact, many left a credible and positive impression on their peers and leaders. It is possible to be a faithful Adventist in military service without compromising principle
As soon as possible after induction into the military, send the local conference and your home church your contact information
If your nation's military has chaplains, meet with them and express your willingness to support their chapel religious program. Also share your religious requirements and ask for their support
During basic training you will more than likely be required to train on Sabbaths and with a weapon. There are few options in most militaries. If you refuse to train, be prepared to face serious consequences, but also know that regardless of what is done, the Lord will be with you in your test of faith
FOR THOSE COMTEMPLATING ENLISTING
Prayerfully seek the Lord's guiding in this decision. Be sure enlisting is the right action to pursue
Ask Adventist chaplains, pastors who have served in the military, veterans what to expect and how to prepare
Study the applicable public laws about religious freedom in your country. Learn what military regulations say about the practice of religion in the military
Read carefully the oath you will be required to take. Study the enlistment contract carefully and know what you are signing. You are voluntarily placing yourself under public law with its consequences for violation or failure to fulfill your commitment
The official Church position discourages voluntary enlistment, because of the potential for faith conflicts. Those who do enlist are encouraged to serve as noncombatants if that option exists. The Church passes no judgment on individuals who choose to serve as combatants, noncombatants or in some alternate service as pacifists. The Church respects individual conscience in this and other matters; it is not a test of fellowship. Be assured, regardless of your choice, pastoral care and religious support for your spiritual well-being will continue to be offered and available to you
FOR THOSE ALREADY SERVING IN THE MILITARY
Perform your duties well, be sharp in uniform and stay in top physical condition
Become valuable to your unit by living your values and excelling in your military duties.
Be the best worker you can be
Volunteer in your community; show how Adventism is a positive advantage
Practice your faith consistently; not rigidly
Connect with your chaplain and engage in supporting the overall chapel program
Seek accommodation for your religious practices by informing your commander of your beliefs and faith
Offer to perform duties during non-Sabbath hours to compensate for Sabbath observance
Don't wait until the last minute to request accommodation; i.e., Friday afternoon to ask for Sabbath off. If you encounter problems, seek help early
Seek ways to save life rather than take life
When considering requests for accommodation of religious practice, commanders often use three criteria in determining their response:
Logic - Does the requestor have a religious basis for the request?
Sincerity - Is the requestor genuine in his convictions?
Consistency - Is the requestor consistent in her or his practice? .
Utilize your spiritual gift(s) given you at baptism
Attend Adventist Sabbath services regularly. If none are available, try to organize an Adventist Military Worship Group on your installation
Form study groups for discussion of spiritual concerns
Inform ACM of your current mailing address
Stay in touch with other Adventists in uniform, encourage each other and share your
experiences, events and ideas
Be good citizens and neighbors.
Know the laws of your nation related to military and public service. Comply with them to the best of your understanding and ability, insofar as conscience permits.
Commit yourself to being faithful to your beliefs and being the best possible witness.
Stay in contact with your home church, pastor and Adventist military chaplains.
Support ACM offerings; be faithful stewards