Quakers are likely best known for embracing the peace testimony. My Theological response was my own, but it has much in common with Robert Barclay’s response in his Apology. The language that Friends have used in expressing their official opposition to war has been strong, both historically and currently. Yearly meetings throughout the world have their official statements against all wars, and many yearly meetings write minutes condemning current wars. Meetings ranging from theologically liberal to fundamentalist offer ‘counter-recruitment’ advice, recommending against military life. There can be no doubt of the official position.
There is a rather strong streak of individualism among Friends. Even when there is consensus to oppose all wars and discourage military service, military enlistment among Friends is fairly common. American Friends have fought in every war, and with the exception of the revolutionary war, returning soldiers were welcomed back into their meetings.
This confusing relationship with…
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