[Sayma-Discuss] FUM and homosexuality, A Different Perspective

David Brooks Arnold dabrooksarnold at bellsouth.net
Sat Aug 16 13:32:04 EDT 2008


Friend Michael

 

I do thank for thy message.

 

I have taken a leave of absence from my current Meeting of membership
because of the intrusion, into its Meeting for Worship and by consequence
its Meeting for Business, of what I call sexual politics.

 

I am of the same-sexual persuasion.  However, I do not believe that sexual
orientation is in the least bit relevant to being a Quaker.  I am and have
been for some 50 years a Quaker through my life of doing good.  I have not
been by profession same-sexual.  I have been by profession a humanitarian.

 

I am so very grateful for the Quakers who have proceeded me in abolishing
slavery and working to abolish war.  Those are choices of conscience.
Sexual orientation is no choice, it comes genetically as part of the package
with which we are born.   I cannot equate or accept sexual politics as
equivalent to our struggles, as Quakers, of conscience.  I look forward to
the time, likely long after my death, when the sexual orientation of Quakers
will be treated as a very private and personal matter and not a matter for
Monthly or Yearly Meetings.

 

Friend David

 

Currently on leave as Clerk, Ministry and Counsel; Greeter, Meeting for
Worship, and Archivist of the Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting

 

-----Original Message-----
From: sayma-discuss-bounces at kitenet.net
[mailto:sayma-discuss-bounces at kitenet.net] On Behalf Of Mike Shell
Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:46 AM
To: sayma-discuss at kitenet.net
Subject: [Sayma-Discuss] Cat Chapin-Bishop on FUM and homosexuality

 

Friends,

 

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-personne
l.html, as well as her later comments
http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/2008/08/cat-on-neym-footnote-on-fum-personne
l.html?showComment=1218199260000#c2436790800993926705 and
http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/2008/08/cat-on-neym-footnote-on-fum-personne
l.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,

Michael

 

 

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