Equality, fairness, justice

Our human family

The duty of the Society of Friends is to be the voice of the oppressed but [also] to be conscious that we ourselves are part of that oppression. Quaker Faith and Practice

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Painting of a homeless family?

 

Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. This means working to change the systems that cause injustice and inequality and hinder true community.

It also means working with people who are suffering from injustice, such as prisoners and asylum seekers. Quakers are active in politics and in working for justice worldwide. Quakers’ work in justice and equality has taken many forms over the years.

Image of Elizabeth Fry on a five pound note

Image of Elizabeth Fry on a five pound note

 

Look on the back of a five pound note and you’ll see the Quaker Elizabeth Fry who was an early prison reformer.  Quakers also played a large part in the abolition of the British slave trade.

It is fundamental to the Quaker way to tolerate differing opinions. Quakers do not condone discrimination.

'Quaker' coffee bean

In the coffee industry, a QUAKER is a coffee bean that hasn’t darkened properly on roasting because it was under-ripe {photo © Thompson Owen of Sweet Maria’s Coffee, California – some of which is organic and fair trade. For a list of fair trade coffees in the UK, see the Fairtrade Foundation} ✔

Our ‘extended’ family

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Every creature is a word of God.
Meister Eckhart

Sheep & lambs

“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10:2). {Photo © Joe Snyder of the Europe and Middle East Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC-EMES)} ✔

 

On the subject of the rights of our non-human fellow travellers on this Earth, Quakers almost unanimously oppose blood sports and do not approve of businesses that exploit animals, such as circuses or zoos, or the fur trade. They object to experiments on animals for trivial purposes such as cosmetics, though are divided as to whether animal experimentation should be allowed for medical research.

Quaker Faith and Practice states:

Show a loving consideration for all creatures and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over Nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.

George Fox, the first Quaker, condemned hunting and hawking. John Woolman, the 18th century American Quaker and anti-slavery pioneer, wrote;

To say that we love God and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature is a contradiction in itself.

Quaker Concern for Animals (QCA) is an association of Quakers and non-Quakers that witnesses to the divine in all creation and works for the protection of animals and the promotion of their rights.

Quaker Concern for Animals

Quaker Concern for Animals at ‘World Day for Animals in Laboratories’ event in Manchester, April 2011 ✔

 

QCA adopt a spiritual yet practical approach and are committed to the defence of our fellow species, whilst appealing to that of God in everyone. They campaign peacefully, wherever we feel our voice might make a difference, working towards that time when the eyes of human animals are fully open to the suffering of all of Creation.

Whale Watching

‘Whale Watching’  {image of a painting © Ann Johnson, a QCA member,  Ann Johnson Paintings} ✔

 

Perfect Bond

This image appeared on the Quaker Concern for Animals (QCA) website after the forest fires in Victoria, Australia in 2009. ✔

 

small quaker moth

Orthosia cruda / ‘Small QUAKER MOTH’ {photo © Jeff Blincow, Northamptonshire Wildlife}

 

Common Quaker moth

Dew-covered wings of the COMMON QUAKER MOTH, Orthosia cerasi {photo © Barry Stewart}

 

A merciful heart is kind to all creatures, to people, to birds, to animals and to all beings. Ephrem the Syrian (St. Sirin), ca. 306-373