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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)

A Quaker Patriotism Find a lesson plan here, for using this article with children in First Day School.

On Patriotism (January 2014)

On Patriotism

Jan / Feb 2014

Patriotism and the Goal of Global Peace Diane Randall has served as the Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation since March 2011. Before joining FCNL, Diane spent nine years in Connecticut as Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities, a non-profit working for solutions to homelessness. She is a member of Hartford Monthly Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting. Diane spoke by phone with Western Friend on December 10, 2013. The following text was drawn from a transcript of that interview.

On Patriotism (January 2014)

Patriotic Principles and Quaker Testimonies Dad was tight-lipped about the war years and only occasionally referenced his having been “stationed in Guam.” In sorting through my Dad’s papers to write his obituary in August 2013, I discovered his certificate for Distinguished Service as a Navigator in nine successful air flights, 1943-1945, to drop bombs on Japan during World War II. I stared hard at the aged photograph of the young crew in uniform, standing proud in front of their Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Renown for its ability to fly higher and faster than Japanese planes, the B-29 four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber was one of the largest aircraft of its day, with very advanced features such as a pressurized cabin, an electronic fire-control system, and remote-controlled machine-gun turrets. My fears were relieved when further research assured me that Dad had not been on the flights that dropped either Fat Man or Little Boy – codenames for atomic bombs detonated over Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

On Patriotism (January 2014)

I Am A Patriot! For the past five months, I have been living and working in Berlin, Germany. I went there to live with my cousins and their two young children and to work as a native-English-speaking intern at a Kinderladen called Humpty-Dumpty Berlin, a bilingual daycare which my cousins’ children attend. I also helped out around the house and with the kids at home. As always when I am abroad, I felt embarrassed many times a day by my nationality as a U.S. citizen. 

On Patriotism (January 2014)

Not Shakespeare Dear Editor: Whoever wrote the passage boxed on page 10 of the last issue, I have no idea, but I do know that it was not Shakespeare. Not only is there no play into which that speech would fit, but the key words – patriotic, patriotism, and citizenry – are words he never used anywhere, as reference to a concordance makes quickly clear.

On Time (March 2014)

A Cuba Testimony Growing up, I was taught to live by and hold high the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Service. But I also always felt the influence of another important testimony – Environmental Caretaking. While this testimony may fall under several of the traditional Quaker testimonies listed above, it also holds a power strong enough to stand on its own. It is important that we as humans – and we as Quakers – live up to these principles and standards. What this means for me in terms of Environmental Caretaking is this: When we begin to see the environment as that Eternal Source sustaining all, we must in turn learn to understand it, and to give back and support the Earth to the best of our abilities.

On Countries (January 2016)