Draft dodging

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Draft dodging is a term referring to the practice of avoiding, by legal or illegal means, the duty to serve in the military when selected by the Selective Service System. Draft dodging is a problem in all nations which utilize conscription, that is, the forcible enrollment of persons who do not volunteer into the military. Among the many methods used to avoid the draft is the bribing of the draft board members, the faking of serious illnesses to appear to be unfit to serve, and false claims that the draft dodger is the sole financial support of a family.

In the United States, particularly, there are other methods used to avoid induction into the military, including pretending to be a homosexual, maintaining that one is in the middle of a course of study such as matriculating in college, and claiming to be a "conscientious objector" without being one.

It is important to remember with regard to the status of conscientious objector that many people, particularly in certain Christian congregations, have a sincere belief that they have a religious obligation to refrain from participating in war. It is primarily for these persons that the status of conscientious objector was created by the Selective Service System and continues to be recognized whenever a draft is in force. However, the sincerity of the claim that one is a conscientious objector is naturally sometimes suspect.

It is worth noting that some persons who initially struggled with their consciences elected to join the military and went on to serve honorably, most famously Sergeant Alvin York, who initially filed as a conscientious objector but changed his mind and went on to become the most decorated American soldier of World War I.