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“In 1840, the World Anti-slavery Convention was called in London. Women from Boston, New York and Philadelphia were delegates to that convention. I was one of the number; but, on our arrival in England, our credentials were not accepted because we were women.

We were, however, treated with great courtesy and attention, as strangers, and as women, were admitted to chosen seats as spectators and listeners, while our right of membership was denied – we were voted out. This brought the Woman question more into view, and an increase of interest in the subject has been the result.

In this work, too, I have engaged heart and hand, as my labors, travels, and public discourses evince. The misrepresentation, ridicule, and abuse heaped upon this as well as other reforms do not, in the least, deter me from my duty. To those whose name is cast out as evil for the truth’s sake, it is a small thing to be judged of man’s judgment.”

Lucretia Mott

Picture is of the 1840 World Slavery Convention (full of men!)

(To prepare the Quaker Socialist Society contribution to the Quaker Faith and Practice revision process, we’re posting an extract each day. Does this speak to you? Should it stay in the text? Like or comment below.)

Da oggi sono attivi per la preghiera e la esegesi neotestamentaria il sito http://www.lessicocristiano. It e  per il sito personale olgiatese www.mauriziobenazzi.itE’ stata richiesta una pec quacchericonservative per distinguerci dai liberal (non teisti, quaccheri buddisti ecc) e distanziarci dalla cafona novarese Marisa Johnson maritata a Londra che sui siti quaccheri nega che io sia dei loro. Ha ragione faccio faccio riferimento solo ai quaccheri esclusivamente cristiani e la mia guida è Gesù. Come la pensano i conservative raggruppamento mondiale fuori dal Consiglio Ecumenico delle Chiese per riaffermare il concetto di solo laici come amici della Società degli Amici.Evitiamo fraintendimenti sulla missione cristiana. E” stata recentemente rifiutata la adesione di una persona Tommy interessata a veicolare una forma diteismo tendenzialmente agnostico.  Ha sbagliato quaccheri. Non esiste piu’ in Italia i quaccheri liberal con lo scioglimento del meeting di BO.

Do not seek
Earthly fame
Seek to serve
In Jesus’ name
David Herr

The Church, the Draft Board, and Me — (1) Introduction di George Amoss Jr.


Over the next three months, I’ll be publishing weekly installments of a memoir. “The Church, the Draft Board, and Me” recounts my conflicts with the Catholic Church, whose ethics were called into question by the war in Vietnam, and the U.S. Selective Service System, which refused to honor my conscientious objection to participation in war. In telling that story, it sketches my evolution, despite encounters with predatory priests and a vindictive draft board, from youthful candidate for the Catholic priesthood to adult a-theistic Quaker who still asserts that “God is love.”


I am grateful to Friends Bess Keller, whose patient reading and extensive editorial suggestions were most helpful; Chuck Fager, who encouraged me beyond the first two, shorter, drafts with “Keep writing,” and who suggested some changes in the final draft; and Gary Gillespie, whose succinct comment on the first draft — “You left out the drugs” — helped me realize that a brief piece couldn’t do justice to the story.


Section titles, which will be hyperlinked below as the sections are posted on line, are as follows.

Introduction: “Make love, not war” (this document, below)
The Church, Part 1: The Call
The Church, Part 2: “The Habit Covers a Multitude of Sins”
Sidebar 1: The Absurdity of Catholic Morality
The Church, Part 3: Seminary Again
The Church, Part 4: Taking Flight
The Draft, Part 1: The Question of War
The Draft, Part 2: Conscience and Conflict
Sidebar 2: Letter to Father Robert
The Draft, Part 3: The Lottery
The Draft, Part 4: Decision
Postscript: Becoming an A-theistic Quaker

After all sections have been published here, a PDF of the entire composition will be made available.

The Church, the Draft Board, and Me

Introduction: “Make love, not war”

In 1968, the war in Vietnam was raising acute questions of conscience for me. As a second-year undergrad, I was exempt from conscription, but I knew that I could eventually be drafted and ordered to kill. My friends at our fledgling community college were also struggling with the morality of war. Disturbed by what we were learning about the war through the media, we wanted to explore different perspectives on the ethics of violence.

An opportunity for that arose when the literary magazine staff, on which I served, was asked to suggest a speaker for the college. Unanimously, we chose the controversial poet and “peacenik” Allen Ginsberg. We were happily surprised when our suggestion was accepted, and we were delighted when Ginsberg agreed to come.

Early in March of 1969, a weathered Volkswagen bus brought Ginsberg and his lover, Peter Orlovsky, to our little campus. Ginsberg would spend many hours speaking with students, formally and informally, about freedom, tolerance, and peace. During a luncheon with the magazine staff, he encouraged us to write honestly and fearlessly. I was impressed not only by his words but also by the consistency of his demeanor with those words. Throughout the visit, his compassion and courage were evident — as was his seemingly casual use of profanity. One interaction between Ginsberg and a student has remained especially clear in my memory.

Many students at the college were vocal critics of the war, but there was one young man, already signed up for post-college service in the Marine Corps, who spoke forcefully in favor of it. Some of us called him “Gung-ho Eric.” Ginsberg was conversing with a group of us when Eric confronted him. “You say we shouldn’t be fighting the Communists in Vietnam?” he asked, the challenge obvious in his posture and tone. Ginsberg answered calmly: “That’s right.” “Well then,” replied Eric, “what do you suggest we do with all those Vietcong over there?” With a seemingly dismissive shrug, Ginsberg said, “Fuck ’em.” Eric’s eyes narrowed. “Mister,” he said, “you have a foul mouth.” “Which is foul,” Ginsberg asked softly, “to fuck ’em or to kill ’em?” Eric walked away, shaking his head.

“Which is foul”? The Roman Catholic Church had shaped my conscience to believe that nonmarital sex was evil, war was righteous,1 and morality was about personal salvation from hell. But when Ginsberg stated the issue starkly and provocatively, I had already been re-evaluating those beliefs for some time. In light of the question of war, Catholic morality was revealed as a house divided. The same Church that blessed war also taught that love was not only God’s greatest commandment but also his greatest gift, the infusion of his own nature into the soul. My heart and mind balked at the prospect of injuring or killing others whom the government had declared enemies: how could that be squared with “love your enemies; do good to those who hate you”?

The re-evaluation was soul-wrenching. To question the Church’s infallibility was to open a door through which moral and social anarchy might enter. For the Church taught that, while it alone had the power to define doctrine and morality, worldly authorities must be obeyed unless the Church determined they were violating divine law. For a Catholic, political and social power rested on the Church’s God-given authority. If that authority were to fall, then all other authority could fall with it. The legitimacy of all “the powers that be” was under impeachment.

To find myself in conscientious disagreement on the morality of war would break my relationships with church, state, culture, and family. But the critical process, once begun, could not be stopped. Simply to have acknowledged the possibility of dissent was already to have permitted the deconstruction of my Catholic identity. The war made the crucible inevitable.

1. “Catholic philosophy … concedes to the State the full natural right of war, whether defensive, as in case of another’s attack in force upon it; offensive (more properly, coercive), where it finds it necessary to take the initiative in the application of force; or punitive, in the infliction of punishment for evil done against itself or, in some determined cases, against others. International law views the punitive right of war with suspicion; but, though it is open to wide abuse, its original existence under the natural law cannot well be disputed.” — The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): this was the officially-approved reference compendium known by my teachers. The first version of a post-world-war, post-Vatican II replacement work, The New Catholic Encyclopedia, was not published until 1967. (For the entire article, see

Next week: “The Church, Part 1: The Call”

Thais Carr4

Reading for February 9 from Praying for Justice. “When the wicked die, their hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to nothing.” Proverbs 11: 7

08.02.2019 – Redazione Italia

This post is also available in: Spanish

UN Warns Against Politicizing Humanitarian Aid in Venezuela
(Image by Leopoldo Salmaso)

The United Nations warned on Wednesday against using aid as a pawn in Venezuela after the United States sent food and medicine to the country’s border and accused President Nicolas Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers.

U.S. officials claimed trucks carrying aid had arrived in Colombia for delivery to Venezuela at the request of Juan Guaido, an opposition lawmaker who declared himself “interim president” after an attempted coup on January 23. On Sunday, Guaido illegally called a multinational coalition to send humanitarian aid through third parties in Brazil, Colombia, and the Caribbean.

However, in a statement, the health organizations’ Colombian branch of The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement denounced the international coalition as counterintuitive.

“The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted on Twitter on Wednesday, along with a photo of a blocked road.

However, Maduro’s government has blamed economic sanctions for causing most of the situation experienced in the country.

“Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. “When we see the present stand-off it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary to find a solution leading to lasting peace for the people of Venezuela,” he said.

Guaido wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month asking for support, while Maduro wrote to Pope Francis asking to help to mediate dialogue with the opposition.

“What is important is that humanitarian aid be depoliticized and that the needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian aid is used,” Dujarric said.

There have been whispers in Washington that the Donald Trump administration is “seriously considering” a military intervention in Venezuela if Maduro does not step down or be ousted internally. The United States and right-wing governments in the region have been calling on the Venezuelan military to oust Maduro.

However, the military has stayed at Maduro’s side throughout the last few weeks, in full support of his legitimate claim to the presidency and rejected such interventionist demands and a breach of the Venezuelan sovereignty.

Originally published by our partner Telesur

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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