Waging peace, not war

Published 8:36 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

Following terrorist attacks around the world, many of us in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have been asked about our peace testimony. What follows are some thoughts from the Williamsburg Friends Meeting.

The core of our faith involves recognizing the Light of God within all people. If there is a divine spark in everyone, we must not do violence to anyone. Quakers have always renounced war as a solution to conflicts and have worked diligently to create a world in which dignity, justice and loving community can thrive. The question is not, “When should we fight a war?” but “How do we change the environment that leads to war?”

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There are many ways to create this kind of change. We ask world leaders to think boldly about strategies to engage marginalized individuals who seek meaning and connection in the world of death-dealing terrorists because they feel disconnected from our world. We believe welcoming rather than alienating well-vetted Syrian refugees will send a message of hope and inclusion.

But waging peace also begins within each of us. Williamsburg Friends invite everyone in this community to think deeply about what he or she can do to starve the roots of war and nurture the seeds of peace. The Light of God is amplified when we reach out to others, when we advocate for justice, when we work to end poverty and estrangement. We join with people everywhere, including all faiths, who are working to bring harmony and good will into our troubled world.

Thayer Cory
Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Williamsburg Friends Meeting