IMP^o^051 Chatt AFSC Minute

Gerald L. Rudolph grudolph at
Sun Mar 26 23:08:35 JEST 2000

> So before Gerald Rudolph rides off into the sunset convinced that he (and
> AFSC) are acting Quakerly, I would suggest 1) that he be a little more
> specific about how simply helping the poor, prisoners, and those on the
> margins of society is Quakerly rather than humanitarian and 2) that he
> compose for us a little essay in which he sketches out what being "Quaker"
> is in this context.

I suspect there would be considerable difference in what I consider being
"Quaker" and what Larry considers "Quaker".  I would not want to suggest
that I have greater access to the Light than Larry in this or any other

I support FCNL, and if asked if the work of FCNL is Quakerly I would say
yes.  If a FCNL employee approaches a congressperson about a piece of
legislation, and that employee is not a Quaker and the legislation is
humanitarian (with no reference to anything in Quakers history),  is the
work of that employee with that congressperson Quakerly?  That work is being
done by funds that come from my meeting (partially) and is done on behalf of
my meeting (and others), and it is work that is consistent with what is
important to me as a Quaker.  And the importance to me of the legislative
lobbying by FCNL on my behalf comes from my faith.  The fact that FCNL may
have hired a non-Quaker to do the lobby work is of little consequence to me.

Similarly, the work of AFSC for the poor, prisoners, and those on the
margins of society could be characterized as humanitarian, just as the FCNL
work could be characterized as simply humanitarian lobbying.  But it is
consistent with what is important to me as a  Quaker.  It is done with funds
that I (along with others) have contributed, it's Board and governing body
is overwhelmingly Quaker, and it is done on my behalf (along with others).
If the AFSC Board has decided that it is important to be an equal
opportunity employer rather than require that the majority of staff be
Quakers, that does not diminish in my mind the work that is done for poor
and oppressed on behalf of Quakers.

It is fortunate (or some may think it is unfortunate) that Quakers do not
have a central authority who can pronounce for all of us what is "Quakerly".
It is certainly not my place to suggest that Chattanooga Friends consult me
about what is "Quakerly" before they decide how to distribute their funds.
I would only ask that you don't try to bring additional harm to AFSC.

> >From my experience, most of AFSC's courage flows from supporting
> trendy, eastern drawing room types of solutions to problems, while the
> tokens its leadership is willing to toss in Quakers' direction are such
> nondescript words as "spirit."

I do not know about eastern drawing rooms, and I am not  in touch with
trends.  However, I have been quite pleased with the stands they have taken.

I am glad, though,  to see that Larry is admitting that his concern with
AFSC is not simply a concern about whether "AFSC's internal operating
processes are compatible with Spirit-led Quaker principles.", but with
concerns about AFSC support of what he calls "trendy, eastern drawing room
types of solutions to problems."  Perhaps some plain talk about what this
really means would give us a clearer understanding of the underlying concern
he has about AFSC.

In Peace,
Gerald Rudolph

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