[saymaListserv] FWD: Draft of Letter to the Editor re Sept. 11th

Michael Austin Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Thu Nov 8 12:32:09 JEST 2001

Dear Friends,

I am forwarding an email which I have sent to Jacksonville (FL) Monthly
Meeting, proposing a letter to the editor.  I wanted to share this proposed
draft (and my rationale for its wording) as widely as possible, in the
hopes that it might help other F/friends to craft their own public statements.

Blessed Be,

<><><><><><>Forwarded Message<><><><><><><>
Dear Friends,

What follows below is my proposed draft for a letter to the editor from
Jacksonville Monthly Meeting regarding September 11th and the current "war"
in Afghanistan.

I wanted to accomplish several things in the writing of this letter:

-- keep it very simple and direct
-- name the killings as killings, rather than echoing the rhetoric of
"terrorism" or "acts of war"
-- sidestep arguments about political or strategic issues, as well as about
the false dichotomies of "innocent" vs. "guilty" victims or of "military"
vs. "civilian" targets
-- begin with an affirmation of core Quaker values
-- affirm that those who choose violent defense may be acting "according to
that measure of the Light which they have received"
-- focus on the matter of "response to danger" rather than the matter of
"retribution" or "punishment"
-- emphasize the lessons of history which led the first Quakers to embrace
the Peace Testimony
-- be brief yet explicit in naming and rejecting the wrong which is being
done by the United States
-- end with a positively voiced query to our fellow citizens.

I hope this draft will be useful in our discussion during Meeting for
Worship for Business this coming First Day.

Blessed Be,

As we share the world's grief over the killings of September 11th, we
Quakers turn for guidance to the core principle of our moral understanding:
that all lives-- without exception-- are of equal value to God.

We understand that people of good conscience may choose violent responses
to danger when they see no other options readily available.  Nonetheless,
we remain convinced by history and by our own moral leadings that such
choices arise from our failure to search with enough determination for
nonviolent methods of preventing or resolving human conflict.

In response to danger, our nation is now killing thousands and driving
millions into an exile of increased poverty, disease and starvation.  We
wholly oppose this policy of war.  We urge our fellow citizens to ask
themselves: How might we lift up and bless those lives as equal to our own,
using all of the resources and generosity and good will which are the
better part of the American way of life.

[signed by the Clerk,
Jacksonville Monthly Meeting,
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)]

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