The British Quaker politician T. Edmund Harvey (1875–1955) responded to the introduction of military conscription in 1916 by helping to enact and administer a scheme of non-military national service for conscientious objectors. Underpinning his political work was a moral theology that a conscientious objection entailed a conscientious obligation to serve by alternative, non-military means. The paper draws on a passage from Harvey of 1937 to break down his theology of conscientious objection into four elements: personalism; the Christian citizen, which is an idea from the philosopher T. H. Green; the two kingdoms or cities, from the book of Luke and St Augustine; and moral pioneering. Harvey’s moral theology, it is argued, was a cogent amalgam of Christian deontic ethics and a liberalism which vested the individual in society with rights and obligations. Harvey lived his own theology, which put him in the political centre-ground between the British war state and absolutist pacifists.
Conscientious objection, Quakers, liberalism, pacifism
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