National Registry for Conscientious Objection

Learn about the Special Peace Corps
at The Life Experience School
which is under the care of the
Peace Abbey Foundation.


Are you a Conscientious Objector or thinking of becoming one?

Download this packet for COs to learn more about how to get involved in the peace movement and read up on the history of Conscientious Objection in the United States.

Interested in bringing the National Registry for Conscientious Objection to your University, Campus group, or Community Organization? Download this packet for organizers to learn how to get a National Registry for Conscientious Objection for your organization. Along with the continuous addition of registries amongst college campuses in the United States, we are also working on outreach to high school students. If you are a parent, educator, or student, and are interested in working on promoting nonviolent lifestyles for youth, Lewis to bring the Registry to your school.

I you are thinking of bringing the registry to your organization or have questions about becoming a CO, please contact the Abbey at

The National Registry for Conscientious Objectionwas created at The Peace Abbey following the war in the Persian Gulf in early 1991. The National Registry provides men and women of all ages with an opportunity to register their objection to personal, national, and international violence.

As a concept, conscientious objection was co-opted by the military who gave itself the power to grant or withhold official status as a “C.O.” The National Registry reclaims the notion of conscientious objection, and returns it to its original meaning as a way of life (rather than a military or governmental designation). Conscientious objection is not the property of generals, to be handed out or withheld according to the judgment of draft boards. Objection to violence and courage of conscience are characteristics of a life committed to peace.

The National Registry is a national campaign to promote peacemaking as a practical ideal: a way of living in the present that represents our best hope for the future. It seeks to inspire peace and justice in society by inviting peacemakers everywhere to “register” their conscientious objection to violence, and in so doing, to share with others their commitment to a peaceful world.

The intent of The National Registry for Conscientious Objection is to emphasize one’s absolute dedication to peaceful living and to peaceful resolution of conflict. It is only by striving for perfection that we approach perfection. Likewise, it is only by committing ourselves absolutely to peaceful living that peace will in fact prevail, in our lives and on the planet.

Signing the Registry

We welcome you to The Peace Abbey to sign The National Registry for Conscientious Objection in person, and join us in this initiative for peace. Or you can download the National Registry form and send the signed original back to The Peace Abbey, PO BOX 216, Sherborn, MA 01770-0216. We encourage you to keep a copy for your personal records, perhaps framed and displayed as a sign of your commitment to peace.

It is fitting that the pacifist be bold in the knowledge that he or she (however unworthy) is with the prophets, and his or her inquisitors (however worthy) are speaking for the dead past out of which humankind is creeping. It is not right that the advocates of love should apologize or flinch.

-Handbook for Conscientious Objectors Eighth Edition, 1965

“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector
enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
President John F. Kennedy