Conscience and the Courts

Selected Supreme Court and other cases which define conscientious objection to participation in war

by Marian Franz

“ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... ”

About the Author

Marian Franz has experience in areas theologically, socially and politically diverse. Her journey has taken her from Kansas wheat fields to the crowded poverty of inner city Chicago, to one of the world's power centers and to work with international organizations and the UN.

Born and raised in Kansas, Marian received degrees from Bethel College and Mennonite Biblical Seminary. She and her husband, Delton, were active in the civil rights movement in Chicago where, for over a decade, Delton co-pastored the inter-racial Woodlawn Mennonite Church. They lived and worked in an impoverished overcrowded community.

The Franz family moved to Washington, DC, in 1968, to open the Washington office of Mennonite Central Committee. Marian became the director of the Dunamis Institute, an organization whose members developed relationships with members of Congress which were defined as both pastoral and prophetic. She served for many years on the board of the Faith and Politics Institute, which calls for conscience in politics and provides settings for moral reflection for political leaders and provides exposure to those problem areas that need healing.

From 1982 through 2005, Marian served as Executive Director of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) and the Peace Tax Foundation. In this role she interpreted to members of Congress the conscience-driven request of citizens who seek to have their tax money used for non-military purposes only. She has represented the Campaign at a dozen international conferences, and has been very active in Conscience and Peace Tax International (CPTI). CPTI calls for recognition of the human right to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Marian continues her work for the rights of conscientious objectors as lobbyist for NCPTF and chair of the board of CPTI.

Published in 2006 by the Peace Tax Foundation, Inc. 2121 Decatur Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 1-888-732-2382 used with permission