Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I'm in Canada. I'm sure the rules are different in UK.
My issue is regarding how you phrased the problem. You want to get out of jury service and wants to do so permanently and you want to use religion as your way of doing it. That may not be the whole story for you — but that's how the way you worded this presents itself. And that makes it difficult to advise you. Conscientious objection is about conviction. And the state recognizes conscientious objection in large measure because a community of faith stands with you when you take your stand of conscience. It does so also in part because conscientious objectors are prepared to suffer a certain amount of privatization for their witness. So my first and advice would be to go to the faith community that you participate in and find out whether there is a history of objecting to jury service within that community.
Back in the 1980s I was called up for jury duty in Canada. We were each sworn in and I objected to swearing an oath on the Bible on two counts: the first because the Bible itself forbids the practice and the second because as a Quaker I was compelled not to do to my tradition. I was allowed to affirm instead. But a lawyer later challenged me on the jury.
In theory I could have been added to the jury pool again at a later date — but I have never been called up.
I do not know whether that solves your problem.
Thanks. Yes I perhaps could have worded it better. Sorry about that. What I meant was as some one who has covictions stemming from Faith how does one then avoid going against conscience. I read elsewhere that I in theory could make an affirmation instead of swearing on the bible. However, even so a part of my conscience senses that it would not be right for me to be involved on a jury, maybe it is just my own anxiety misread as conscience about it or maybe not. 9 times out of 10 if I don't follow my conscience I regret it later. As it happens I got some citizens advice to put in a form that explains why I don't feel I can do this. It had some odd bit about who can automatically get out of it, this included a whole list of proffesionals including health care ones. Everything from doctor to chemist and dentist, but no mention of support workers/healthcare assistants, which is my field. I looked further and it seems conscience objection is not considered a right when it comes to jury service. However, the court at it's discretion may excuse someone if they are a regular minister/priest, live in a holy order or practice and belong to a group that opposes jury service. So unless I include the principle of the priest hood of all believers the first two are not valid for me. The last one however maybe. I practice evangelical faith primarily and generally evangelicals (even some progressives are fine with jury service) but theologically I am Evangelical Anabaptist. We have not got a denomination in the UK but this is the faith I seek to practice. There is a network of Anabaptists however, and much like the charismatic movement exists out with and within most denominations in some form or other. As you probably can gather I also have an affinity for primitive quakerism (though the nearest specifically primitive meeting is way across the country). Having such a complex faith system I just hope the court will be satisfied to excuse me.
Not sure how this works in Canada... but if you can't promise to follow the law (What is it's unjust?! Or unkind?) and tell them so, they aren't likely to keep you on a jury.
I got a letter from the judiciary politely accepting my refusal today. I just had to admit my connection with Quakers and Anabaptists. Seems more straightforward than I first assumed.