Twelve quakers and pacifism

by Quaker Quest

Pamphlet, 2005



Call number

CQ 3 c1


London : Quaker Quest, 2005.

Original publication date

2005 first edition


0954345932 / 9780954345938

User reviews

LibraryThing member kaulsu
This is the 3rd pamphlet in a series put out by Britain Yearly Meeting's Quaker Quest team. Twelve Friends wrote a short monograph (is that an oxymoron?) on what it means to them to be a pacifist. Of the twelve, one caught my attention because it is something that I know a few people in my Yearly
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Meeting wrestle with themselves.

"Pacifism is not for cowards; it demands the courage to give your life, maybe to live with ridicule, even to break the law. Refusing conscription into the armed forces used to mean being court-martialled or shot. Now, part of my taxes--perhaps half--finances military action and arms sales. I remember the Quaker annual meeting, when more than a thousand considered the request of some of our employees to divert that part of their PAYE tax to peaceful means, such as overseas development. Our _Advices & Queries_ remind us: 'If you feel impelled by strong conviction to break the law, search your conscience deeply. Ask your meeting for the prayerful support which will give you strength as a right way becomes clear.' I could not support such an impractical idea, yet I had the extraordinary experience in the Meeting for Worship of realising that, in order to follow God with our vision for a peaceful world, we had to try. Over the next year, Quakers pushed the matter as far as the European Commission on Human Rights, forcing the question to be considered seriously. This was when I understood the power of an ideal--the power of God."

All of Testimonies boil down to this: do we remain faithful to what we believe to be true, even when it is uncomfortable? Even when we know we will not succeed? I can only answer for myself, and that answer is "not often enough." But challenges and reminders such as this do help me live up to at least some small measure to what I know the Divine is leading me.
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CQ 3 c1


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