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Quaker Culture: Friends and Alcohol

Robert Levering
On Temptation (November 2014)
Quaker Culture

Friends have expressed strong concerns about the use and abuse of alcohol for more than three hundred years. . . Yet many contemporary Friends find such [concerns] anachronistic at best. . . Early Quakers found excessive drinking especially pernicious because it interfered with one’s ability to discern the divine will. . . [They also] considered intemperance a social and political issue as well as a spiritual/personal one. . . In the final analysis, however, there is probably no argument that would convince a moderate drinker that the occasional drinking of alcohol is always invariably wrong in any absolute sense. But Friends have generally tried to apply higher standards to their behavior. . . The traditional Friends testimony on alcohol has long offered a good reason why we should be willing to give up something that may in and of itself be of little consequence to ourselves. We should do so because of the example we are providing for others.

From Pendle Hill Pamphlet #313, Friends and Alcohol (1994)

Alcohol Temperance Discernment Culture

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