Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Prejudice Cannot Abide Process

Dear Friends, as you know, from an open letter to Martin Kelly of "Nonviolence".org, and "Quaker Quaker" I have been seeking clearness on a dispute I do not believe I started with him. Rather, I received a piece of email from him and in gospel order, sought clearness, first one to one, second, a Friend wrote to him, than an institution spoke to him and then I sought the help of Friends. All this has come to naught, and some of the Friends seem not to understand I am not standing on my rightness or his wrongness, but rather on our dedication to process of Friends.
I feel that we are not clear in several traditions, and it is also clear from the notes from some Friends that some Friends don't understand that we do not hold assumptions against each other, and should we do that, we cannot be present to each other, we cannot listen to each other if we cannot be swayed from our assumptions. A Friend has said that he assumes I will "lie" about him. I have placed Martin's letter on line, and that there is conflict is clear in it. To accuse me of lies, without addressing what facts are in question, well, it is simply slander, it is not reaching for clearness. In the Quaker tradition, in which I was raised, we do not call each other liar, but rather, we seek to understand by DIALOGUE the lack of unity in the way Friends in conflict see events.

Why do we seek clearness and why do those who act out of their prejudices not seek clearness or other process? Well, the word prejudice says it all. To judge before, before the facts, before knowing, before it is right to judge. When do Friends judge? Well, the bible and our traditions are rather clear about that, judgement is up to God, not to thee and me.

So, George Bush, rounds up large numbers of Muslim people, the CIA buys them in forgiven nations, and the vast majority of them are innocent. So, in order that his prejudices not be challenged he sends them to Guantanamo Bay and announces that this is a place where not only US law does not exist, but international law does not exist. Prejudice cannot abide process.
Our Quaker processes are not a trial. They do not seek a judgement of right or wrong, but rather, clearness that we can proceed as Friends. So, I share this all with Friends, so that, one, Friends may help Martin and other Friends to understand that clearness and peace is better, easier and nicer than grudges and hate, and that Friends can, by this, learn to seek clearness and not live the divisions of their assumptions at the cost of unity and in doing violence to each other.

To Friends who wonder at my "obsession" to come to clearness about prejudice and censorship in our society of Friends, I suggest reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From the Birmingham Jail". Sometimes one needs to be a little disruptive to bring people to understand that discrimination needs to be addressed.


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