Daniel Baker, Conscientious Objector

The Catholic Peace Fellowship has a great series of podcasts called Warcast for Catholics, “a podcast dedicated to a discussion of war and peace in the Catholic tradition.”

I found the podcast with Daniel Baker,a veteran of the War in Iraq, to be particularly interesting. He said that when he began to struggle with his military duties, he went to the philosophy department in his local bookstore looking for meaning in his life. He encountered the writing of Thich Nhat Hanh. Then he started to read about Saint Francis and more about the Church’s teachings on war. When it became apparent that he was not going to be able to switch jobs within the military, he went online and tried to find a way to get out of the military.

On the Internet he encountered the website for the Catholic Peace Fellowship and other sites that informed him about the option of conscientious objection, which he didn’t know existed. He says, “No one knew about it on base, neither did the chaplains, because when I went to talk to one chaplain, he just talked about the Just War theory.” (We once called the Archdiocese of Military Services to inquire about the process for becoming a conscientious objector. They told us that they had no information about the process.)

Daniel Baker says, “This whole experience converted me from Catholicism to Catholicism [laughter], because I really saw meaning behind everything. It’s ironic that a Buddhist opened my eyes to Christianity and none of the Christians I ever knew did.

He also says: “I’d like to say that there are many great people in the military. I hope their eyes are opened like mine were. A lot of them have good hearts and many of them sympathize with my ideas.” You can listen to the full podcast with Daniel here.


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