Talk:Religious Society of Friends

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Are Quakers predominantly liberals today?

In particular, are Quaker schools very liberal today? A parent wants to know before sending a child there.--Aschlafly 23:12, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Well, they are pacifists, at least. MountainDew 23:17, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes, and I suspect that implies many other left-of-center positions. Anti-death penalty is a given of course, and I would also expect them to be pro-gun control. Other policies may flow from there, like higher taxes and more regulations.
I wonder about some of the socially conservative issues, like abortion. One person told me that the Quakers actually ran an underground network to provide abortion in the old days.--Aschlafly 02:26, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

I have no idea about that. The only other thing I know about them, other than that the organization is in my family background somewhere, is that they have traditionally been among the most feminist of denominations. MountainDew 02:31, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

I read this article on Quakers and thought it was very well done. Then I read this discussion page and your question spurred my curiosity about this issue. I found two links which give more information: [1] and [2] --Taj 03:11, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

1) A rough guide might be the positions taken by the Quaker lobby, Friends Committee on National Legislation which does not officially speak for Quakers.
2) Some awfully good small liberal arts schools (Haverford, Swarthmore) were historically Quaker, and I think Quakers operate several some very good prep schools.
3) In the United States there are two main Quaker religious organizations. Friends General Conference is more or less Eastern, generally has "unprogrammed" (no sermons) services, and is more liberal; Friends United Meeting is more Midwest ern and Western, generally is more conservative, and more closely resembles "ordinary" churches with some kind of minister, not sure what he/she is called, who gives something like a traditional sermon. Dpbsmith 06:53, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

Many Quakers today recognize such distinctions as traditional, evangelical, Bible-centered, Christ-centered, etc. Quakers come in lots of flavors. "Unprogrammed" meetings (in silence, no pastor) are more common in the East; "programmed" meetings resemble Congregationalist (or United Church of Christ) service (minimal liturgy, sermon by a pastor) and are more common in the Midwest and West. However, there are many meetings that hold both kinds of meetings for worship, often silent (unprogrammed) early on Sunday (First Day) a.m. and programmed later on in the morning. Either form of worship can represent a more liberal or a more conservative meeting. I would guess that the majority of Quakers would describe themselves as liberal or at least left-of-center, but you'd probably find lots of differing positions on any one issue (such as abortion). The one common statement you might make of Quakers is that each one follows his/her conscience, and that differs a lot.

If you're really interested, try this: Or, if you're REALLY interested, this one: Leansleft 10:28, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

On the website of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (referred to above by Dpbsmith) I found a statement saying that the FCNL doesn't lobby for either side on the issue of abortion, because Quakers are divided on the issue. That would have been my guess. Historically, Quakers have been both soldiers and conscientious objectors, hunters and animal-rights proponents, supporters of and activists against conservative causes, so it stands to reason that some Quakers are opposed to abortion and some are not. Leansleft 16:27, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

This is a liberal article

I just want to say that what is posted here is a very liberal interpretation of the Society of Friends. Most of what is here does not apply to Conservative Friends.Chronicler 21:54, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

Can you give specific examples of what in this article you find to be too liberal? DanH 21:57, 20 September 2007 (EDT)


1) Historically, Quakers did not have "testimonies." We had what was called "our ancient testimony." The "testimony of simplicity" is a mid-20th century replacement for the historic emphasis of plainness, a form of religious nonconformity practiced by the colonial Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and Baptists.

2) The reason for not taking oaths has always been set forth as following the direct command of Christ Jesus in Matthew 5:32. What is posted here is a secular argument that was historically used but was not the primary reason.

3) Friends were historically very much opposed to sex outside of marriage; David H. Fischer has a long analysis of this in his book Albion's Seed.

4) While we have always believed that all people have equal access to God, our historic beliefs did not include acceptance of all creeds or redistribution of wealth. One reason for the Puritan and Quaker use of numerical calendar units was to eliminate the names of pagan gods from our speech.

5) The reference to the Balby letter should state that this is a reference to Paul's writing that "the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life." This was never intended to be an excuse for unholy living, as the earlier portions of that letter attest.

6) The William Penn reference should be kept in context. The thesis of his most famous book, No Cross, No Crown, is that each of us has a spiritual obligation to take up the cross of Christ daily in our lives. William Penn was not a Unitarian in theology. The passage is a weak example of his theology.

7) Two-thirds of Quakers worldwide accept the inspiration of Scripture.

8) The reference to direct revelation needs to be explained. Historically, Friends believed that God continues to reveal *Himself* to humans. The current liberal understanding of revealing new *doctrine* is specifically repudiated in the early Quaker book Barclay's Apology and is not accepted by Conservative Friends, the Friends United Meeting, or Evangelical Friends. Chronicler 22:19, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

! Part of this article was copied from Citizendium and Wikipedia but the copied text was originally written by me, RJJensen (under the name Richard Jensen and rjensen) and does not include alterations made by others on that site. Conservlogo.png
RJJensen 09:43, 3 December 2008 (EST)