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Modified Oath - Pastor Letter

Pastor’s Letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security


(For use in enabling immigrants to obtain U.S. Citizenship without violating their religious convictions against bearing arms.)




U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services






 Dear ___________:


 (APPLICANT’S NAME) whose alien I.D. number is ___________, has applied for citizenship. However, as a member of the (NAME OF CHURCH) Seventh-day Adventist Church, ­­­­­­­(NAME OF APPLICANT) is a sincere conscientious objector who cannot swear an oath to bear arms.


Federal law recognizes (APPLICANT’S NAME)’s right to take an alternative oath that complies with the oath requirements in every respect except it excludes a commitment to bearing arms.  See, U.S.C.A. § 1448.


Seventh-day Adventists have an official church position on non-combatancy which we have held since before the Civil War. It is based on the Sixth Commandment which forbids the taking of human life on pain of eternal loss. Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.” In an authoritative booklet published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, our highest administrative body, “Seventh-day Adventist Teachings on Governmental Relationships and Non-combatancy,” our church teaching on this subject is summarized, as follows:


 “Now let’s draw together the above principles enabling the Adventist Church to give what it believes is balanced counsel regarding military service…The Adventist Church believes that in war its members’ Christian witness can best be shown in doing all possible to save human life as noncombatants, asking that they may serve in those capacities which do not violate their conscientious convictions. They will be following the example of their Saviour not “to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:56; see also Matthew 18:11). This noncombatant position is that which the Adventist Church counsels its members to take.” Pages 19, 20.


(APPLICANT NAME)’s commitment to non-combatancy is based on deep religious conviction and is a historical position of the church for as long as we have been in existence. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the U.S. government honor its statutory exemption as it has consistently done in the past.


Finally, please find enclosed a signed and notarized alternate oath. This oath was designed to fulfill the requirements of 8 U.S.C.S. Section 1448, and has been used by Seventh-day Adventist church members for many years.


Thank you for your kind consideration of this request. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can also contact our church’s Department of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty at:

P.O. Box 5005, Westlake Village, CA 91359 or call 805.497.9457.


Respectfully yours,





Enclosure:  (Signed Modified Oath)


cc:           (APPLICANT'S NAME)

cc:            Alan J. Reniach, Esq.

                Executive Director and General Counsel

                Church State Council