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Partisanship and Quaker Meetings

Roena Oesting
On Competition (January 2017)

Dear Editor: When I was a kid, I thought elections were exciting! All the speeches, the ads, the canvas voting booths going up all along the school hallways. Lately, I have come to hate election season. I find that the yelling, name-calling, anger, and general distrust of one another is distressing to me. And yes, it affects our Quaker meetings as well.

Some Friends feel perfectly free to express their opinions or invite people to a partisan event while others feel that their opinions are disregarded or that they are marginalized for their views. I have never done a survey of the members of my meeting; but I suspect it would break down approximately 60% Democrat, 20% Republican, and 20% Independent.

We make a great mistake when we assume that membership in a Quaker meeting is automatically the same as membership in the Democratic party. There are good folks with all kinds of political views. We need to quit demonizing those whose views differ from our own.

– Roena Oesting, La Jolla Friends Meeting (PYM)

politics partisanship Meeting for Worship identity

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