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On Quakers and Guns (abridged)

Edward W. Wood Jr.
On Weapons (January 2019)

The following note was excerpted from a longer message. The original is published here in Western Friend’s online library.

Dear Friends: Quakers, with our unique Peace Testimony, based upon the certainty that there is that of God in everyone, are in a special position in America to lead it out of its current mad dedication to guns at all levels of American society – individual, communal, and national.

What can we, as Quakers, do about this obscenity? We must revive our testimony of “giving up the gun,” present it to the nation as essential to our democratic traditions – essential to who we have been, who we are, and who we must become as a nation.

This tradition began with the earliest of Quakers and Americans, before and during the Revolution. For over seventy years, the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania spent no funds on armaments or a standing army. Testimonies for peace and ideas of governments without weapons both informed public dialogue in the earliest years of our nation.

This long-neglected (some would say repressed) tradition in America is one that we, as Quakers, must revive. We must root ourselves in this tradition and present it to our neighbors as an essential quality of the American vision. Quaker devotion to a world without guns is part of the best of America. Let us continue to discover this truly American tradition and testify for it in all the ways we can.

– Edward W. Wood, Jr., Denver, CO (IMYM)

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