Query #9 Civic Responsibility

approved 12 – 3- 2017
The notion of Civic Responsibility entails our understanding of complex root problems in our society and governmental institutions. This often requires a response that is both faithful and effective. We voiced our concerns about issues such as racial prejudice in our judicial and incarceration systems, the alarming trends to privatize and monetize the criminal justice systems and examples of inherent unfairness in our immigration policies.
We struggle to find appropriate ways to confront these overwhelming issues, beyond the usual letters and calls to seemingly unresponsive officials and institutions. Among our witness were the following thoughts:
“Staying informed on social issues,” as the Advice mentions, consequently requires more than just learning how our elected officials will vote on an issue and what our Meetings support or refute. Being informed also requires that we learn from communities who face greater oppression than ourselves, and who would bear far greater damaging consequences if officials continue to overlook or minimize the needs of those communities.
Another added, “ I try to focus on what God is wanting of me when I am out in the world and being called on to be brave. I know it is what is being asked because I am usually somewhat crippled with fear of speaking – stomach clenched, heart racing, and yet I cannot speak up. I feel relief when I do speak up. That dual feeling of crippling fear and must be brave is one of my personal physical touchstones for when I am being led to act. Being asked to do the hard thing instead of the easy thing. That feeling of being held firmly to a spot until I say what needs to be said, whether in the face of someone saying hateful things or engaging with someone who needs a friend. The feeling is the same.”
We endeavor to seek clearness about our spiritual leadings and hopefully involve our Meeting and beloved communities with God directed guidance. We were encouraged to be mindful of a quote from “The Gandian Iceberg” by Chris Moore-Backman.
“I pray that Quakers and others will move to hold bold action far above the careful crafting of right answers. In the end Jesus’ teaching is simple. Letting go of our attachments to our personal status quo is the catch. Intellectual rigor and discernment has its place, of course, but only –I believe – in service to direct loving action and sacrifice.”