[Sayma-Discuss] Cat Chapin-Bishop on FUM and homosexuality

Mike Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Sat Aug 16 09:45:38 EDT 2008


Cat Chapin-Bishop is a F/friend of mine who recently attended NEYM annual gathering.  Her meeting has joint affiliation with FGC and FUM.

I strongly urge you to read Cat's thoughtful blog post http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/2008/08/cat-on-neym-footnote-on-fum-personnel.html, as well as her later comments http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/2008/08/cat-on-neym-footnote-on-fum-personnel.html?showComment=1218199260000#c2436790800993926705 and http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/2008/08/cat-on-neym-footnote-on-fum-personnel.html?showComment=1218328800000#c6329918233133895392.

She speaks my mind on this issue, and I believe she raises some very crucial concerns about the ongoing struggle with RSOP over the inclusion or exclusion of LGBT people.

Here are some key passages:

"The FUM personnel policy...breaks the hearts of willing, loving and often Christian gay and lesbian Quakers on a regular basis.

"[However, it] also reflects a step forward for a worldwide organization that--at least in theory--practices unity, not mere majority rule in policy setting, in that it does explicitly recognize the rights of gays and lesbians to live free from violence and discrimination (assuming they are celibate).

"It is a terribly flawed document, but it is what we have currently, and it will only be possible to change it by changing the culture of hundreds of thousands of people around the world--a worthy goal, it seems to me, when we are speaking of human rights. We cannot change the policy without changing hearts--and changing hearts will take a very, very long time.

"So many Quakers...are very, very uncomfortable with contributing to this organization.... I do not share this view; I see many reasons to remain a supporter of Friends United Meeting, not the least of which is that, unlike many liberal Quaker bodies, FUM seems to me to promote realistic, practical, and human-sized interventions in troubled parts of the world....

"I have become quite clearly aware that, as a Pagan and Quaker, I'm asking the many, many orthodox Quakers in the world to see me as a sister within their fellowship--to sit with me in worship and accept me even if my practices and beliefs fly in the face of everything they believe is right.

"The least I can do is return the favor, and when someone holds a belief--a prejudice, as seems entirely clear to me--that is at odds with what I believe is right, be as willing to sit with them in loving fellowship as they are with me.

"Together we can pray to be led to a communal (corporate, in 17th century Quakerese) understanding of the deeper will of God, which will guide us both to more wisdom than either of us will manage together.

"The legend among Friends is that it works--and the famous example is that of John Woolman, who merely started a process of reflection among Friends to end slavery among us; the process took over seventy years to come to fruition.

"Which only put the Quakers 100 years ahead of secular society.

"It's done not through debate, not through boycott, but through loving waiting for the will of the divine to be made clear to all of us."

Blessed Be,

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