Social and Civic Responsibility

Social and Civic Responsibility
Adult Education Reading Group
Santa Monica Quaker Meeting
December 17, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.
Clerked by Cynthia Cuza and Kim O’Brien

This epigraph is from Francis Howgill (Chapter 19 from Quaker Faith and Practice: The Book of Christian Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, fifth edition).

“We met together in the unity of the Spirit, and of the bond of peace, treading down under our feet all reasoning about religion. And holy resolutions were kindled in our hearts as a fire which the Life kindled in us to serve the Lord while we had a being, and mightily did the Word of God grow amongst us, and the desires of many were after the Name of the Lord. Oh happy day! Oh blessed day!”

Here are the “Advices and Queries” for this session, taken from the Pacific Yearly Meeting.

“Social and Civic Responsibility

In the words of William Penn, `True godliness don’t draw men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it.’ Elsewhere he commented: `It is a reproach to religion and government to suffer so much poverty and excess.’

Poverty within a wealthy society is unjust, cruel, and often linked to skin color, gender, and language. We must examine our own privilege and role in the economic order that deepens this disparity. Friends should be alert to oppression and injustice, and persistent in working against them.

We value our part in shaping the laws of our country. Our task is to see that laws serve God’s purposes and build a just social order. Our first allegiance should be to God, and if this conflicts with any compulsion of the state, we serve out country best by remaining true to our higher loyalty.

If, by divine leading, our attention is focused on a law that is contrary to God’s law, we must proceed with care. Before acting, Friends should pray for further guidance and speak with the Meeting, family members, and all those who might be affected by the decision. If a decision involves disobedience to the law, we should make the grounds of our action clear to all concerned and be prepared to suffer any penalties without evasion. As a community, we must care for those who suffer for conscience’s sake.”