THE QUAKER LOBBY

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Posted November 20, 2007 in Arts & Culture

So this doesn’t happen every day: a religiously-based DC lobbying group that we actually want to join? It’s true. Created in 1943, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL—or Quaker public interest lobby) is the oldest registered ecumenical (Christian) lobbying group in Washington, and that rare hybrid of two organizations that always should be doing the right thing—lobbyists and religionists—but, gee, just so often don’t

The largest peace lobby group on the Hill, the Quaker Lobby seeks “a world free of war and the threat of war; equality and justice for all; a community in which every person’s potential is fulfilled; and an earth restored.” 

Hello? Where’s all that stuff about burning in hell if I don’t have my own personal Jesus?

The Quakers—who work with people of all races and religions—don’t peddle that schtick, but don’t get the wrong idea. This is not a gang of knickered, white, bushy-haired farmers killing time when they’re not harvesting oats. The FCNL is hyper active on the issues of the day; formed by ex-Underground Railroaders, instrumental in creating the Peace Corps and rallying along with the Civil Rights Movement, the Friends nowadays have their keen eyes turned on King George and his scheming attack on Iran.

Each week, in fact, I get a newsletter from the FCNL, updating me on the agenda of the warmongers (a.k.a. fake Christians) on Capitol Hill and those who are trying to draw the public’s alternately waning and misguided beliefs about nuclear war—apparently it’s cool again—to the actual factuals. (Translation: nuclear war means we’re all totally and completely screwed, dummy.)

They’re also lobbying to defend the citizens of Darfur, to reduce the U.S. reliance on oil (“the critical cause of violent conflict in the world today”), and advocate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, making sure no permanent bases are established once we go. 

It’s against the Quaker’s very core to mislead anyone, in anyway—even if the facts are technically correct (now, who’d ever try to lie like that?). They aren’t into wiretapping or torture, and they believe all immigrants—legal or not—must be treated like human beings.  

They’re also the ones who started that “War is not the answer” blue-and-white-doved sign campaign you’ve seen stuck in someone’s front lawn—next door to a “We Support the Troops” sign, maybe? (Ring that person’s bell and ask them exactly how they support the troops—send money? Ration their gas guzzling? Pay for funeral expenses? We’d love to know.)

Yes, these lobbying faithful prove that the Holy Trinity of Bush-Falwell-Robertson is not the only religious-political choice in town, if you must mix the two at all. In this case, we don’t mind. We’ve always liked Quakers; from breakfast cereal to Gary Cooper’s Friendly Persuasion, they just seem nice—a word that should definitely come back into vogue.

 

 


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