Readers of this blog may be interested in an update on the case of a conscientious objector in California who was initially denied citizenship (“California woman’s citizenship and naturalization efforts denied,” March 5). The woman said that, even if she acquired citizenship, she would not be willing to bear arms to protect the United States. She said that her personal convictions and beliefs would not allow her to participate in violence against others.
Officials from the Citizenship and Immigration Service denied her application. They said they did not believe the woman’s convictions provided enough of a justification for her actions. They claimed that religious beliefs were the only permissible reasons for refusing to fight for one’s country.
A national non-profit group, the American Humanist Association, took up the woman’s case. The group’s mission is to advance humanism without attributing its motivations or actions to a belief in God or other deities. They challenged immigration officials, saying that to deny the woman’s application for religious reasons was unconstitutional. They argued that secular beliefs are protected under the Constitution and, as such, should be accorded the respect and acknowledgement they deserve.
Immigration officials presumably agreed with the organization’s arguments. The woman recently received notification from Immigration Services that her citizenship application had been approved. She was scheduled to participate in an upcoming swearing-in ceremony in a federal California courtroom.
The woman was willing to risk something important in order to remain true to her personal standards. For future citizenship applicants with similar beliefs, her triumph undoubtedly brings a sense of hope that their cases will see similar results. When she acquired citizenship without compromising her beliefs she sent a message that it was possible to do so.
Source: Fox News Latino, “Conscientious Objector Initially Denied U.S. Citizenship Is Now An American”, Elizabeth Llorente, March 20, 2014