Stephen Funk is a Marine who did not serve in Iraq, instead he became the first public conscientious objector to the war and served six months in military prison. "I refuse to surrender my dignity, I refuse to kill... the military demands obedience, but I will not obey".
Funk traveled the country extensively prior to his court-martial in order to speak out about his objection to the war and how he became a conscientious objector. He spoke out to provoke others in service to rethink their moral duty, and to encourage young people to think twice before enlisting in the military. During the process, Funk also publicly revealed he was a homosexual. "I believe that as a gay man, someone who is misunderstood by much of the general population, I have a great deal of experience with hatred and oppression. When someone is thrust into a situation of hate and oppression because of factors they have no control over, I believe they either react with hatred back, because they've experienced it, or they learn not to be that way towards others. I have adopted the latter reaction and stand with the oppressed people of the world who know that hate and oppression do not solve any problems."
Now that Stephen has been discharged from the Marine Corps he continues his peace work. He has been an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War since 2004, and Vets4Vets, a non-partisan veterans peer support organization dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans. He is currently an undergraduate student at Stanford University, majoring in International Relations.
Truth in Recruiting
Discrimination in the military
If you would like to plan a speaking event with Stephen, please email him at bayarea@ivaw [dot] org