“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fighting with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. ” — The “Peace Testimony”, George Fox’s Declaration to Charles II, 1660
For some 350 years, Friends have held the right of conscience – the following of the leadings of the Spirit, “the Light Within” – to be paramount. Central to our faith and practice, we are called upon to abjure all war, and to seek out the causes and seeds of war among us.
Today, the leadings of the Spirit are still working among some who, through whatever circumstance, find themselves called upon to kill, or otherwise participate in organized military efforts that result in the death of others. When faced with the possibilities of losing their homes, their freedom, and their personal security, and placing their families at risk, those who feel led to obey the dictates of conscience may seek those sharing similar leadings for clearness and assistance.
Friends have a unique history in assisting those who have made the difficult decision not to kill, even placing ourselves at risk in order to do so. Olympia Monthly Meeting asks that all Friends consider this calling in the light of our history and our continuing experience of the Spirit, and act as they feel called. Specifically:
- We invite [Quaker] Monthly Meetings within North Pacific Yearly Meeting to join us as we consider adopting minutes affirming our historic commitment to assist those who, for reasons of conscience, can not participate in killing.
- We invite North Pacific Yearly Meeting and other Yearly Meetings to consider affirming this commitment.
- We invite individual [Quaker] Meetings and their members to consider and season how best to assist those who leave or consider leaving military service for reasons of conscience.
- We invite [Quaker] Meetings in Canada and elsewhere outside the United States to consider how they can assist those who leave or consider leaving military service in the United States for reasons of conscience.
- We ask Monthly and Yearly [Quaker] Meetings in the United States to work with and support Canadian and other Meetings outside the United States in this effort.
- We invite both Monthly and Yearly [Quaker] Meetings to consider witnessing to our adherence to our historic calling publicly in any and all ways which seem appropriate.