Sunday, August 07, 2005

If it were a crime to be a Quaker, would there be enough evidence to convict me?

Over at Consider the Lilies, Rob discusses "coming out" as a Quaker and compares it to coming out as gay.

A commentator cautions him not to trivialize the notion of "coming out" by using it to refer to anything other than sexual orientation. After referring to Matthew Shepard's murder, he notes:

The penalties for "coming out" as a Quaker, if there are any, strike me as relatively minor...
Alas. Relatively speaking, he's right. But is there any penalty to being a Quaker?

No one is looking to be a martyr, but if William Penn was right that with No Cross there can be No Crown, what does the cost-less-ness of being a Public Friend mean?

Is it that Society at Large has improved, become more tolerant and enlightened with the triumph of political and religious liberalism that the Quaker Witness is no longer a threat to it? (I think this is true to a greater extent that we realize.)

Or is it because our Witness has become blunted, blurred, and diluted to the point that we can't distinguish between the Kingdom of God and a Democratic Administration? (Ditto.)


Larry said...

Paul, I think both of your options are probably true. Here in Ocala (FL) our (tiny) Quaker group has a place of immense prestige, particularly in the ministerial association. We did make a newsworthy witness against the war before it became a reality. Still the people know we 'queer' (no need to come out), and they still love us. Not really a threat; more like a mascot.

cherice said...

OK, so I just came across this, and I know it's kind of old news, but hey, why not add my 2 cents, right? So here goes:

I think both options are true as Larry said. The first is true in that we have succeeded in effecting American society to a degree that our government's laws are generally fair (at least for citizens), slavery is no longer an issue, and women's rights has gained momentum. Our culture is closer to the Quaker ideal.

And yet, there is still soooo much to be done! Yes, our country is fair to our own citizens (mainly, if you don't count stuff like wire tapping and holding suspected terrorists without charge...), but how do we treat others around the world? How many Quakers do you know who practice plain dress in that they won't buy things made in sweat shops or the like? How many do you know who even know enough about it not to buy such things? (I include myself in these criticisms, mind!)

How are we resisting war? Is it enough to go to a protest march and then go home once the war's started (I also am guilty of this one...)? Who's standing against paying taxes that support the military?

I could go on and on, but my point is, although society has made a lot of progress, I think we as a Society of Friends have become way too comfortable and need to kick ourselves in the a** and start standing up for what we believe again. Who's with me??? (Good, do YOU want to lead the resistance?)