An Introduction to Primitive Methodist attitudes to WW1 and Conscientious Objection

An Introduction to Primitive Methodist attitudes to WW1 and Conscientious Objection

Before the outbreak of the First World War, the Primitive Methodist Church was largely a pacifist church. It had no chaplains in the armed forces, it fiercely opposed the Boer War, and was the most politically radical of the Free Churches.  Primitive Methodism also had a precedent for practising passive resistance, in their opposition to the Education Act of 1902.

However, once war was declared, in an astonishing U-turn, the Church changed the narrative. Instead of proclaiming peace, it now supported fighting against oppression. Those brought up in Sunday School to believe, ‘thou shall not kill’,¬† now faced a crisis of conscience.

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