Adult Class Topics: Quakers and Democracy

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Summary of Adult Education presentation on Sunday Feb. 23--EQAT, FCNL and democracy:

As a follow-on to Ted Morgan's discussion of Quaker values and democracy (Feb. 9), Bob Rosenwein, Judy Morgan and Eileen Flanagan made the following presentations:

Bob Rosenwein

I presented a brief summary of some salient points from Ted Morgan's presentation. Quakers hold that we seek that of God in others, which, if taken to mean that we look for what we have in common has human beings, is the basis for cooperation, collaboration, and community. Living democracy is a wet of system qualities that shape our daily life,  its values of inclusion, fairness and mutual accountability infuse not only political life bur economic and cultural life as well. Loving democracy is always evolving; it's never finished. To change our society so that it better realizes the goal of more complete democracy and social justice, change occurs at both an individual and collective level. For an individual to feel empowered to act for social change, there has to be an awareness or awakening of something that is wrong and a sense of possibility or hope that something can be done about it. Individual action produces a sense of liberation from old habit and accommodations and collective action leads to a feeling of empowerment. A more complete set of notes from Ted Morgan's presentations will be posted to the website shortly.

Judy Morgan

I described the work of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), an organization that lobbies, and supports meetings and individuals in lobbying, for policies that reflect Quaker values. In addition to the writing of postcards that CHFM has been doing each month, in support of an FCNL initiative, some meetings do lobby visits with legislators or encourage members to routinely contact legislators about concerns noted on their website, FCNL has earned the respect of many lawmakers in state and federal offices for its advocacy work. If you would like to help with regular contacts or visits to legislators please contact Judy at [email protected].

Eileen Flanagan

In the gathering on Sunday, I shared some of my personal journey with Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT pronounced "equate"), starting with the PYM panel on Earthcare in the summer of 2009 where I heard George Lakey speak about the effectiveness of nonviolent direct action. I had been feeling a growing despair caused by three things: 1) the ineffectiveness of many of the political tactics I had tried before; 2) predictions about catastrophic climate change; and 3) the seeming futility of decreasing my carbon footprint enough to actually make a difference. I described a funny incident of serendipity (way opening?) that lead me to my first contact with EQAT and how much more hopeful I feel now that I'm working with a group that combines a commitment to both Spirit and strategy. We discussed the upcoming Keystone XL Pipeline action on March 10 where I and many others will be committing civil disobedience. There are details in the newsletter for anyone who is interested!

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