William Arthur Phillips was interned during WW II in CPS Camp 21, Cascade Locks, OR. Later during the war, he was assigned to the mental hospital at Ft. Steilacoom, WA. His work there, along with many other COs in Washington and across the country, helped to improve the care given the mentally ill. The following comments, taken from undated hand-written notes possibly intended for a speech, were written around the time of the Vietnam War. Bill was an outspoken critic of all war, and often spoke out against the Vietnam War. He also wrote many letters to the editor and to local public figures expressing his CO and Christian views. Bill passed away in 1989. "[A] young man who is told by politicians in power: 'you must kill your fellow Catholics...' or 'you must burn the children of your Methodist brethren...' or 'you must burst asunder the bodies of the wives of your fellow Christian Scientists and stab the men to death...' this young man... will find no definite answer in Christ's teachings as to whether he should acquiesce to the demands of the political leaders or refuse to violate his love for his brothers in Christ (which is the same as violating his love for Christ himself).
"I do not object to the Pacifist having legal penalties inflicted on him. What I do object to is having military service described by a Christian (a Christian who describes himself as neutral on the subject of Pacifism) as doing one's job as a citizen. Because I sincerely believe that the Conscientious Objector does the best job possible for his country. And in many countries he does this sacrificially, knowing that the death penalty is not just a strong possibility but is a certainty.
"Pacifists respect all humans as being living souls for whom Christ died. Pacifists respect not only our chaplains but the enemy chaplains, too. They look on the activities of the military establishment (including the chaplaincy) as being essentially service to Satan. If they didn't look on it this way they'd be in there joining in the slaughter."
Special Note: We've included this entry for Bill because he was part of the inspiration for The CO Project (the video montage "In Our Midst" on our home page is dedicated to his memory). Bill is still remembered for his watercolor paintings, many of which are held in private collections. Bill spent his life teaching art, painting, and speaking out against all war.
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