Page 5, 20th September 1940

20th September 1940
Page 5
Page 5, 20th September 1940 — American News Letter

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Organisations: Congress
Locations: NEW YORK, Chicago, Brooklyn


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American News Letter

Thinking To Avoid Conscription



Congress met the issue by writing

into the proposed conscription bill the same language employed in the draft bill of 1917, which allowed for clergy exemption. Although exemption of teaching and nursing and other religious Brothers is not specified, official spokesmen made it clear that they understood the amendment to provide such exemption, quite as the 1917 draft law provided exemption.


Opposition to conscription has made some strange bedfellows, illustrated by a Daily Worker article displaying in large type headlines reporting Catholic opposition to the draft. The Worker, along with other Communist sources, are playing up Catholic opposition, so that it can be argued that Communists are not alone In opposing compulsory service.

For their own part, the Communists organised a sort of united front peace demonstration held in Chicago on Labour Day, September 2, for which they gathered practically all of the prominent fellowtravellers and a handful of gullible innocents for window dressing. But everyone knows that the Chicago peace demonstration is nothing but a Communist front affair.

American labour, in both the CIO and AFL unions, continues its opposition to conscription, on several grounds, but chiefly in order to protect the rights of working men. Labour leaders, for very good reasons, fear that one year conscription means unemployment at the end of service for thousands of working men, including union members. It means also the depletion of union ranks and a sharp decrease in union dues and activities--all of which may very well cripple some of the smaller and younger unions.


Now that clergy will be exempted, it seems quite evident that the burden of Catholic opposition to conscription will arise from the unwillingness of Catholics of Irish descent to do anything to aid England. Although Catholics sympathetic to England and to Ireland, too, have pointed out that a Nazi victory over England means a Nazified Ireland, there arc Catholics who either ignore this likelihood, or pass it over as a necessary or temporary evil.

An interesting commentary on the unwillingness of many young people to become engaged in military service, and possibly war, is to be found in the sudden rush on the part of conscript-eligibles to get married in the belief that marriage brings exemption. Marriage licence bureaux throughout the country, but chiefly in the large cities, reported a record breaking increase in the number of licences procured and civil marriages performed. All records have been broken in the five boroughs in New York

Typical of the rush is the high mark of 1,200 couples in one day in Brooklyn, New York. This figure is about twelve times the usual total of marriages on a Saturday in August. In the whole city, a total of 835 licences were issued, 51 more than on the previous Saturday, a total several times the usual number issued at this time of the year. Other cities report a similar increase.

The remarkably high number in Brooklyn has led to speculation as to a possible connection between the rush to marry and presumably avoid military service, and the campaign waged by the Brooklyn Tablet against conscription and any and all measures which might possibly lead to war. The Tablet. which has long worked hand in hand with Social Justice, Fr. Coughlin's paper, has been most vigorous in its fight against extending aid to England.

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