[saymaListserv] RE: sayma Digest, Vol 22, Issue 3

Nancy Whitt nmwhitt at samford.edu
Mon Nov 8 11:39:33 JEST 2004

Since I sent the "ChristianTaliban" remark, I have been reflecting on
the circumstances of it's being written and upon my sending it.  I think
the metaphor is entirely appropriate for what was happening on

We were sharing our feelings and responses to the disappoitment of a
Friend who foresees the impossibility of  a basic civil right in her own
life as well as a basic spiritual, social and family celebration.  

The "Christian Taliban" metaphor was uttered by a poet who is careful
to match his feelings with the metaphor (if you want to consider the use
of other strong metaphors by poets, read anything by Sylvia Plath).  

What I perceive came back from Steve was not sharing but more of a
sermon on what language we should use to voice our feelings.  

When I worked on the Nationwide Women's Program of AFSC, many of the
nonQuaker women there felt Quakers used silence to shut them up.  I
remember a young Latina  saying she had just learned to use the F-word
and nobody was going to tell her to be quiet.  Another time, when a
truly heroic African American woman used her ordinary street language,
the presiding Quaker silenced her by telling her what language she coud
not use.  What I've learned to call "Quaker niceness," I experience as a
form of oppression or, at best, repression that precludes a person using
his or her own speech to accurately express her or his own feelings.

The poet was voicing his strong feelings about the attempts by some to
circumscribe the abundant life of others and this was his language.  I
wouldn't ask him not to use it.  I might express my own discomfort at
certain kinds of language, but I'd speak for myself, and I would not use
"we" or "us" to suggest that I'm speaking for other Quakers.  And
especially in moments of sharing of feelings, I'd try to allow a person
to use his or her language without judging it.



>>> "Peggy Bonnington" <bonnipeg at charter.net> 11/8/2004 12:49:49 AM
Interestingly enough, Steve, that is EXACTLY what some disappointed
folks in Clarksville were talking about doing - promoting the banning
all marriage if gay marriage couldn't be appropriately recongized and
condoned.  Yes, I know it doesn't make much sense in one sense ... But
just goes to show that there are some strong feelings out here about
country refusing to give validation to loving and committed couples -
and making stupid choices as a result!


-----Original Message-----

Dear Friends,

I understand how easy it is for the many citizens who are 
disappointed with the outcome of the elections to momentarily 
forget that we are all citizens of the same country, whichever lever 
we pulled in the voting booth. Or wherever we touched the screen, 
as the case may be.

Once the dust settles, we citizens may return to our primary task of 
good stewardship of our Ship of State, care and concern for the 
welfare of our neighbors from community to global, and we Friends 
may return to our calling to cheerfully walk upon the Earth, 
answering to that of G*d in every one.

I think we will find that last particularly daunting if we regard our 
fellow citizens as collectively ignorant, and view their deeply-held 
spirituality as "Christian Taliban". I doubt we can be helpful to them

unless we are more open to connect on both a spiritual and an 
intellectual level.

It's important to remember that even among us Liberal Friends, 
there is not universal acceptance of "gay marriage". Some Friends, 
including some I know personally and do not consider to be 
ignorant, find that they are unable to unite with the term "marriage" 
being applied to couples of the same gender.

How long has it been since we Quakers have been united in our 
acceptance of homosexuality as natural and Divinely sanctified? 
Was this a revelation given to George Fox? or did it take us 
hundreds of years to get to this point? Do we dismiss our 
forebearers as ignorant because the way had not yet opened for 
them to be so enlightened?

I wonder how many of us would unite in refraining from marriage of 
heterosexual couples because we oppose discrimination against 
homosexual couples. Which of us who are already enjoying the 
rights and privileges of legal matrimony would willingly give up 
those rights until such time as they are afforded to all couples?


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