Quakers Peace Page
In the current wartime environment, and especially in light of the perceived threats of terrorism against "civilians," many Friends in the US and elsewhere are thinking and rethinking the meaning of the Friends Peace Testimony. Some of the questions being asked are:
- How "pacifist" were early Friends, really?
- What are the limits, if any, to the pacifism of the famous 1661 declaration?
- Is there a valid distinction between "police actions" and military force, from the Quaker perspective? If so, how is the distinction determined?
- What is the proper place for punishment and revenge in situations such as we now face?
- Does pacifism have any meaning in the face of violence against the innocent and defenseless?
Already, one Friend with a high public profile, Scott Simon of National Public Radio, has gone on record as abandoning his understanding of pacifism in the face of recent violence. Others may feel similarly, but many Friends still are resolved to hold to a strong pacifist commitment.
To assist in further exploration of these and related issues, I have set up The Quaker Peace Page, a webpage, at:
Here you will find excerpts from various Quaker statements on peace and pacifism, old and new, plus links to numerous related articles (including Scott Simon's statement), all also on the web. I expect to add to the page as additional resources become available.
I hope Friends and others will find this page and its links of use in sorting out these difficult issues for themselves.Chuck Fager