Monday, April 03, 2006

Quakerism question

I am thinking about the study action issue and will write something over the next few days.

But I'm curious about something. Are Quakers OK with the police using limited amounts of violence to keep order or in their own defense?

Just curious.


1 comment:

Steve Caldwell said...


Keep in mind that Richard Nixon was a Quaker. He also served in the Navy in a combatant role during WW II. And he also supported US involvement in the Vietnam War.

Here's a excerpt from a book review of a Nixon biography that discusses his relationship to the various Quaker movements:

"By the time the transcripts were made public, Nixon was expecting as much. He was not troubled when Newsweek reported in January 1974 that more than 200 Quaker Meetings had called on the East Whittier Friends Church to disown him because of his conduct of the Vietnam War and the Watergate revelations; he knew they were the liberal Quakers, the 'Hiss types.' They were against him anyway.

But his Whittier Quakers, and the millions like them, weren't Hiss types; they were conservative, but not fanatics. Nixon was, above all, one of them, one of the sanctified, a man who knew how to act, and how to talk. Their concern, the logical evangelical concern, was not with policy but with his personal virtue; they would let him define pacifism any way he wished.

Thus his credibility with them was largely built on a persona of uptight, positive-thinking prissiness. There was, of course, some authenticity to this image, but it had also been carefully customized to reflect their small-town evangelical mindset. When these supporters saw Their Nixon revealed on the tapes as talking with such crass cynicism, and spewing four-letter words right and left, the response was, in Aitken's elegant phrasing, 'a moralistic cyclone of opprobrium.'"

I suppose the lesson of this is that there is a wide range of normal variation in Quakers and it's possible to be a Quaker that supports the use of police in enforcing law and order. It's also possible to be a Quaker that supports the use of military force as well.

Take care,