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A search result that is a person’s name followed by “(person)” often links to a list of articles written by that person.

On Patriotism Dear Friends: Our First Amendment right to free expression is sometimes called the “crown jewel” of the Bill of Rights. That somewhat oxymoronic metaphor – a fundamental democratic principle sparkling like a diamond in the coffers of a monarch – reveals an uneasy tension between our democratic freedoms and the worldly powers that guard them. Yet even though any government must place some limits on individual freedom, the expectation is that those limits will benefit the common good. In the document that established Pennsylvania’s first legislature in 1682, William Penn wrote, “The glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and end of government, and therefore government in itself is a venerable ordinance of God.”

On Patriotism (January 2014)

What Can Quakers Offer in These Times? – Shan Cretin Excerpts from a presentation to Intermountain Yearly Meeting; June 12, 2014; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú, New Mexico

On Family (September 2014)

Not the Final Word Part of my dad’s job with the American Friends Service Committee was to take speakers around to various college campuses, churches, and summer institutes. As a kid, I sometimes went along and got to meet such spiritual giants as peace activist A.J. Muste and civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin and Ralph Abernathy. During spring vacation in 1956, my dad decided to take my brother Paul and me to Montgomery, where the bus boycott was four months old.

On Difference (July 2015)

On Music Nothing is more intimate to life than rhythm. Even “dead” matter, gliding on entropy, throbs to the beat of E=MC2. The mystery of particles and waves as different aspects of the same reality, the mystery of being and doing as equivalent expressions of the same existence – these mysteries point to the great Mystery, which requires us to stand before it in awe, to love it with all our hearts and all our souls and all our strengths and all our minds.

On Music (March 2018)

Song Powers a Movement

I learned about the power of nonviolence and nonviolent action in the spring of 1960, while participating in sit-ins at lunch counters in Maryland and Virginia with African American fellow students at Howard University. Most Saturdays we would go to a People’s Drug store, sit down at a lunch counter, get arrested, and then sing freedom songs in our jail cells all weekend.

On Music (March 2018)

Gun Control and/or Civil War? It is currently popular to call for “gun control” in the United States, especially in the wake of senseless mass shootings that have rocked the nation. However, most proposed “gun control” legislation has at its center the punishment of blameless people for the violent acts of a few. That is, these measures restrict or prohibit gun availability to citizens who have broken no laws, have harmed no one, and have merely exercised their rights under the Constitution to buy and own weapons. Promoters of strict “gun control” often seem to vilify gun owners as a sub-class of humans who do not merit recognition, rights, or respect. This polarizing attitude makes effective communication almost impossible.

On Weapons (January 2019)