Judge Orders Army to Grant Conscientious Objector Status to Soldier with Religious Awakening

September 23, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Associated Press


A federal judge has ordered the Army to grant conscientious objector status and an honorable discharge to a soldier who says he experienced a religious awakening in Iraq.

The ruling supersedes the Army's decision last year to deny Pfc. Michael Barnes' request. Barnes had told the Army that his religious experience two years ago left him opposed to war in any form.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick said military investigators failed to provide "a basis in fact" to support their contention that Barnes' religious objections to war were insincere.

Barnes, a 26-year-old native of Portland, Ore., said Monday in a statement released by his lawyer that he was thankful the court found his request was based on his "sincere belief as a Christian."