Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends
Unprogrammed Quakers in Wichita, Kansas

About the War on Terrorism (2002)

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Every nation, group, and person has some measure of power and is responsible for their use of power. There are two general ways to use power. The first way gets more press-the way of control, domination, getting one's way. The other general way to use power is to share it in service--through love, compassion, justice, or a spirit of community and family.

We believe that it is the second way that is emphasized by the Gospels. Furthermore, we are convinced that the Gospel way is more practical than war for our national security.

On military terms, our country's War on Terrorism cannot be won. This is true by definition. The stated goals of the war are to rid the world of evil and to crush Al-Qaida. How will we know when these are accomplished? These goals are so vague as to be unachievable. The war is exactly in the spirit of Northern Ireland and the IRA and Israel and Palestine. The War on Terrorism can go on just as long as those conflicts, sapping our nation's energy and causing unnecessary death and devastation.

Second, war gives our leaders a way to appear to fight terrorism while avoiding the real issues. Our country is party to real injustices. This sense of injustice gives rise to indignation, which in extreme and irrational forms feeds terrorism against our country.

Sincere efforts on our country's part to right these wrongs--with deeds, not public relations only--will deprive terrorists of their support base and of their reasons to fight.

Heartland Friends Meeting is committed to using what power we have to increasing peace, love, and justice for all peoples. We invite everyone to do the same. We also invite dialogue on the subject of peace or any of Friends' Testimonies--especially with those who don't agree with us.