United States Senator Rand Paul has announced that he will introduce a new bill to end the practice of registering for Selective Service for the military.

(ActivistPostOn Monday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul announced that he will be filing legislation designed to end the requirement for registration for Selective Service. Senator Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said he would introduce a bill titled “The Muhammad Ali Voluntary Service Act” in honor of the recently deceased boxer who famously refused to be drafted into military service for the Vietnam War.

“We have an all volunteer military. Right now there is selective service registration in case they want to have a draft, I don’t think there is a reason to have a draft,” Paul said in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday. “I agree with Muhammad Ali, if a war is worth fighting for people will volunteer.”

Senator Paul’s bill would not change the military, but would end the legal requirement that all males between the ages of 18 and 25 register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The United States has maintained a volunteer military force since 1973, but through Selective Service the military could reinstate a draft and call upon registered males. Males who do not register could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although the penalty has rarely been enforced.

“One thing I liked about Muhammad Ali is that he would stand on principle even when it was unpopular,” Paul said. “You know, the criminal justice system now has a racial justice disparity, selective service had a racial disparity, because a lot of rich white kids either got a deferment or went to college or got out of the draft. I’m opposed to Selective Service.”

Muhammad Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War, stating that his religious beliefs prevented him from going to fight in the military. Ali recognized that the Vietnam War was an unjust battle, that the U.S. government would not recognize people of color as equals yet expected them to go fight and die in foreign lands.

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America,” Ali said in an interview. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what? …How can I shoot them poor people, Just take me to jail.”

In April 1967 Ali  would be stripped of his heavyweight championship and convicted of draft evasion. He would eventually be vindicated when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Muhammad Ali passed away on June 3, 2016  at the age of 74.

Ironically, Rand Paul’s call to end Selective Service completely comes at a time when some lawmakers are seeking to expand the criteria for registration for Selective Service to include women. The Hill reported:

Proponents say women already have the green light to serve in combat roles, hurting the legal argument for excluding them from the draft. But opponents say Congress needs to spend more time studying the politically tricky issue instead of tucking it into a massive “must pass” bill.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has already included a requirement to open the draft to women in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a move that sparked outrage from conservatives.

The battle will come to a head on the Senate floor, where conservative opponents are expected to make a last stand to remove the provision. If successful they would effectively kill any chance of Congress approving the policy change.

As the role of women in the military is being reevaluated, Activist Post has noted that men and women are both being equally enslaved and questioned whether broadening the pool of potential candidates for the military was actually something to celebrate, or a step backwards.

“Women will probably be forced to register for the military draft in the near future. I suppose I should congratulate feminists for achieving equal treatment under the Constitution, right?,” Eric Blair wrote. “If we don’t have a right to opt out of the military, we have no rights. They own us. Whoever controls the government at a given moment gets to use our bodies like playthings.  No thank you. I choose liberty. I choose peace.”

Senator Rand Paul’s suggestion to completely scrap Selective Service is a step in the right direction. If you want to go fight in bankers’ wars that is your prerogative, but let’s put a nail in the coffin of the idea that the State has a right to force anyone, male or female, to go fight in their wars. Once we recognize that the enemy does not lie in foreign lands, but right here in our own country, in our own government, will we begin the journey towards true freedom and justice.

This article (Muhammad Ali Honored by Rand Paul with Bill to End the Selective Service) by Derrick Broze originally appeared on ActivistPost.com and is licensed Creative Commons. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons