Guidelines for Support Letters

[from Center on Conscience and War Website]

Choosing support letter writers. Support letter writers should be people who know you well, are familiar with the position you are taking, and believe in your sincerity. Try to get a good cross-section of people who know you – teachers, relatives, classmates, friends. It is not necessary that a person writing a letter agree with your beliefs. The best letters are often written by persons who disagree with the CO position but believe in your sincerity.

Try to obtain letters from people who have known you for various lengths of time. Some people, such as recent friends, can attest to the strength of your present beliefs. Others, such as parents, ministers or teachers, can attest to the length of time you have held your beliefs, even if you have less contact with those people now. Any statements your references can make verifying the sincerity or strength of your beliefs will be significant.

Potential support letter writers should be provided with a copy of your Statement of Conscientious Objector Status.

Suggestions for support letters:

  1. What is your relationship with the applicant, and how long have you known him/her?
  2. Do you believe that the applicant is sincere in his/her claim as a conscientious objector? Do you believe the applicant’s claim is based on deeply-held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs, however broadly defined? If possible, give examples of influences or training in the life of the applicant which you think might have led to the development of his or her beliefs.
  3. To the best of your knowledge, has the applicant’s conduct since arriving at this belief been consistent with the claim being made.