And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers‘ money, and overthrew the tables.
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
The Gospel According to St. John 2:13-16
What could be a more fitting way than the above quotation from the Bible to introduce what The Quaker Activist is about? You may experience a similar astonishment to that you felt when you read of Jesus’s uncharacteristically forceful behavior in the temple when you learn that these mild, undemonstrative Quakers are prepared to take on the bulls and bears of Wall Street in order to champion those who otherwise have no voice nor visibility, the poor.
Quietism is the temperament most closely associated with us. Adopted by Quakers in the 18th century, it is as familiar a garb as our”plain dress” or “plain speech.” But Quakers have not always been quiet. Early Quakers under George Fox weren’t quiet. The abolitionists who freed the slaves weren’t quiet, and the men and women who drove ambulances and looked after the wounded in World War I weren’t quiet.
There has always been a strong strain of activism among us and it is needed today more than ever. We Quakers came here in the 17th century under the aegis of William Penn to escape persecution in Britain under Charles II and to establish a just and equitable society. Let us now use all our persuasive force to rescue our country from the wave of greed and exclusionism that threatens our democracy today. Drive out the moneychangers! Cleanse the temple!
About the Lighthouse Keeper
Seen here in his 90th year, at his station in Point Reyes, the lighthouse keeper has been standing watch over his country’s social, economic and political wellbeing since his retirement from professional life. His blog, The Quaker Activist, is intended to shine a relentless and unforgiving light on all those departures from fair and equitable practice that threaten the democratic life of America today, with the object of redressing them.
Quakers Against Inequality
This site is dedicated to informing and making the reader aware of the vast inequity and unfairness that exists in our economic system in America today. Clearly the system is rigged against the average man and woman and in particular it victimizes the poor. Most importantly, it threatens our very democracy.
This country was founded on a balanced economic system very much like that spelled out by Adam Smith in the eighteenth century, with whose writings our founders were very familiar and essentially in agreement. To work as they intended it to required a strong middle class – a middle class whose position in the economy has been so systematically and intentionally eroded over the past four decades that, if it continues, will have lost all political power.
Furthermore, this site intends to operate as an exchange of information on this subject of economic inequality. Readers are invited to submit contributions to this discourse to our editor, who will determine the suitability of featuring it on our blog site.
For purposes of easy categorization we have decided to feature all writings under one of four headings:
The Very Rich – articles explaining the enormous disparity in wealth of the top 1% in income in this country, about their excessive life styles, their unusual work ethic and surprising acts of generosity.
The Poor – the obverse side of this incredible wealth is the appalling poverty it imposes on an unfortunate segment of our population and who, being defenseless, are taken advantage of, preyed upon and frequently robbed of their vote.
What Can Be Done About This – it has not always been like this; there were former times when the difference in wealth between rich and poor were tolerable, where opportunity existed for every man and woman to better him/herself. How we can return to that state is the topic of this discussion.
Why Quakers Are Well Suited To Reverse This Trend – the long Quaker tradition of being honest and fair businessmen and merchants, their willingness to stand in opposition to insurmountable social injustices and to undertake seemingly impossible social reforms such as the abolition of slavery.