I was raised in a Quaker household. Quakers are considered Christians, although that is a stretch as far as I am concerned since there are atheist Quakers and other permutations.

In addition, they can be subversive in exemplary ways. For example:

All of my closest Quaker friends of CO (conscientious objectors to killing in wars) status worked in an insane asylum. It was literally and figuratively a mad house. Yet anyone can imagine the details for himself and, yes, the Quakers started the first humane insane asylums in the USA. The earlier ones just served as freak shows for Christian tour groups so as to watch and laugh at locked up crazed people. Then, Quakers reformed this condition.

Of course, one can assume that Quakers thrust forward in other ways. For instance, the Quaker CO’s in the Vietnam War would signal that they were coming for the wounded and the dead. Then the Vietnam Cong and Americans would stop shooting.

Afterwards a person was put in a Quaker field hospital wherein your fellow-mate was a soldier from the other side of the war. Oops, that has unusual consequences. … He’s feeding you because your hands don’t work and you are helping him turn over in his bed since he is incapable of doing the action on his own. And the twosome shared family photos, too, which led the pair of military adversaries to find common humanity amongst themselves. … How fit were either soldier for war after THAT experience? Just imagine the outcome.

The Quakers also did the same action when caught in the middle of war in Northern Ireland. Nobody bothered the Quakers, but they housed hurt and homeless Catholics and Protestants in Quaker Meetings — the houses of worship that Quakers use.

Same story as in Vietnam — housed together to see commonality and friendship.

How not when empathy and mutual carIng is the goal?

Frankly, I don’t care about your religious belief system. Do you think that I am a Christian? I don’t know and I don’t care. Indeed, I didn’t care when I passed out food to homeless street people that I fed out of my own pocket, which meant less food for me as I was poor at the time and never asked about the religion of the recipients.

Of course, someone could always talk to me about his or her religion. I listen and respond respectfully. The main point is to be moral and support life on Earth without if, and or but. Take care of other humans and other life on the planet — period.

Am I a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, something else in my stance? Who knows — not I. So my thinking is to give up religious contention and just serve life going forward.

Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA.


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One Comment

  1. Avatar Zeenat Khan says:

    The Meeting for Worship that the Quakers practice is at once simple and brilliant. I somewhat understand the significance of it. I hope in a future article you will enlighten us even more.