ACLU, Christian Navy Ensign Sue for CO Status

The ACLU has sued the US Navy on behalf of Ensign Michael Izbicki, a 2008 US Naval Academy graduate, who has been denied status as a conscientious objector.

Izbicki has reportedly been developing beliefs in line with the Quakers, a pacifist theology.  The Navy has reportedly denied his claim because it questioned the sincerity of his beliefs.

According to the lawsuit, the Navy’s investigations of the legitimacy of Izbicki’s beliefs were deeply flawed and, in one case, “showed extreme religious bias” against his Christian beliefs, especially when it came to his increasing interest in Quakerism… 

Izbicki…now lives at the pacifist Christian community of St. Francis House in New London.

His lawyers say two Navy chaplains, three civilian-ordained clergy and two academic theologians have affirmed the “depth and sincerity” of his beliefs.

For his part, Izbicki has reportedly offered to reimburse the Navy for his education, and is willing to go to prison.  As stated in the articles, his beliefs align with opposition to all war, the requirement for CO status:

“My Christian convictions preclude the use of violence; I cannot take someone else’s life, nor can I aid others in doing so,” Izbicki wrote in his application, the Hartford Courant reports. “Therefore, I cannot participate in war in any form.”

As a point of contrast, PFC Naser Abdo recently requested CO status not because he objected to all war, but because he objected to war waged by the US military.