IMP^o^051 Chatt AFSC Minute

Larry Ingle lingle at
Mon Mar 27 05:40:49 JEST 2000

Unfortuately, I have received little insight into Gerald Rudolph's 
definitions of what Quakers ought to be about.  All I have learned is that
he does not like the Chattanooga minute on the matter--for the record, I had
nothing at all to do with that minute (its words are not mine, and I doubt
that withholding funds is the best way to deal with the problems as we
collectively saw them)--that he support FCNL--not until now a part of the
controversy--and that he does not favor a central authority that can decide
where meetings send money--other than AFSC's constant posturing as "Quaker"
and promoting itself as the place to send it.

One of the things that I have discovered is that AFSC adamantly disavows a
discussion of history, for a mere glance at the past demonstrates how far
AFSC has strayed.  Like Gerald Rudolph, its leadership desires to talk
generally about helping prisoners, the poor, and the oppressed, without very
many specifics.

But let me be specific:  Harper's Magazine reported that while the
Croatian-Yugoslavian civil war was going on in the early 1990s, AFSC
sponsored a conference in the Balkans to deal with [you guessed it:] the
plight gays and lesbians experienced.  I know I would not have placed that
matter at the top of my list of what Quakers ought to be about in a war

Another specific:  AFSC's infamous "1000 meetings in 100 days" effort,
designed to reverse the results of the 1994 Republican electoral victory by
focusing attention on the bad results that it had had on localities.  After
200 days, they had, by their count, 333 meetings and absolutely no impact on
the broader process.  Even if they had, I would challenge Gerald Rudolph or
others to explain how such a blazenly partisan and transparent Democratic
political maneuver could possible sail under the banner of "Quaker."

Not only that, but AFSC flew members of its staff to Philadelphia to listen
to Kara Newell deliver herself of a speech that excoriated Americans for
supporting such people at Newt Gingrich and his allies.  This a Quakerly use
of AFSC's resources?  As a Democrat, I was raised to believe that what the
people said was what ought to be done.

What I'd like to hear from Gerald Rudolph is some specific examples of
AFSC's humanitarianism--do not read humanitarian as Quaker there!  I can
give him some, such as sending schools supplies to Haiti and Bosnia, aid to
Central American after recent hurricanes there--activities in which
Chattanooga Friends gladly participated.  But talk to me not of holding
conferences in the Balkans, during a war, about lesbian and gay rights.

Such specifics could be multiplied.

Larry Ingle

>From: "Gerald L. Rudolph" <grudolph at>
>To: "Larry Ingle" <lingle at>, "sayma" <sayma at>
>Subject: Re: IMP^o^051 Chatt AFSC Minute
>Date: Sun, Mar 26, 2000, 10:08 PM

>> 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
> matter.
> 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
> politically
>> trendy, eastern drawing room types of solutions to problems, while the
> only
>> 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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