A Little about American Quakers"You mean you folks are still around?"…"Aren't you like those people that dress in old-time clothes and have horses and buggies? Yeah, the Amish, that's right."
Every so often I encounter this kind of reaction when I let it be known that I am a member of the Religious Society of Friends, in other words, a Quaker. Yes we are still around, no we are not the Amish and furthermore, after over 350 years we are still upholding our peace testimony. American "unprogrammed" Quakers still do not have paid clergy, a church hierarchy, or a set of orthodox doctrines and creeds. We continue to meet weekly for silent worship. We continue our rich tradition of living our testimonies as we are able, which, considering that we are devoted to peace and non-violence, individually and as a group, has landed a surprisingly large number of us in jail: for refusing to worship state religions; for helping slaves go free; for according women equality within our community and working to achieve it in general; for refusing to fight in wars; for objecting to the use of weapons of mass destruction; and most recently for opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline and what it stands for.