"Since all human beings are children of God, Friends are called to love and respect all persons and to overcome evil with good. Friends' peace testimony arises from the power of Christ working in our hearts. Our words and lives should testify to this power and should stand as a positive witness in a world still torn by strife and violence.
"The Society of Friends has consistently held that war is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. It stated its position clearly in the Declaration to Charles II in 1660:
"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world.... The Spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil, and again to move us unto it; and we certainly know, and testify to the world, that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the Kingdom of Christ nor for the Kingdoms of this world.... Therefore, we cannot learn war any more."
"Our historic peace testimony must be also a living testimony, as we work to give concrete expression to our ideals, often in opposition to prevailing opinion. We recognize that the peace testimony requires us to honor that of God in every person, and therefore to avoid not only physical violence but also more subtle forms-psychological, economic, or systemic.
"In explaining his unwillingness to serve in the army, George Fox records that "I told them...that I lived in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars." When we find that life and power within ourselves, we are strengthened to be valiant for God's truth, to endure the suffering that may befall our lot."
The Individual and the Peace Testimony
"In our individual lives, the peace testimony leads us to accept conflict as an opportunity for loving engagement with those with whom we disagree. That love can often be expressed in creative, nonviolent resolution of the disagreement. When we encounter people of sincere religious conviction whose views are profoundly different from our own, that love can also be manifested by acknowledging the sincerity of the other, while forthrightly expressing our own convictions.
"The peace testimony also leads us as individuals to consider seriously our employment, our investments, our purchases, our payment of taxes, and our manner of living as they relate to violence. We must become sensitive to the covert as well as the overt violence inherent in some of our long-established social practices and institutions. We need to avoid, for example, benefiting not only from the manufacture of arms, but also from company practices that do violence to employees, consumers, or the natural world."
Friends and Military Activity
"We support those who resist cooperation with conscription and those who oppose war by performing work as conscientious objectors. While counseling against military service, we hold in love our members who feel they must undertake it.
"We work as we are able to alleviate the suffering caused by war. We acknowledge the contribution that military forces have in some situations made to the relief of suffering, but we are troubled by the use of agents of destruction for such purposes, and by the failure of nations to support the creation of nonviolent legions to undertake humanitarian missions."
Alternatives to War
"The almost unimaginable devastation that results from modern war makes ever more urgent its total elimination. We would refrain from participating in all forms of violence and repression. We would make strenuous efforts to secure international agreements for the elimination of armaments and to remove the domination of militarism in our society. We would work for greater understanding at all levels, from the kindergarten to the United Nations, of proven techniques for the nonviolent resolution of conflict. And we would promote and assist programs of conversion to peaceful uses of facilities built for war."
"Friends since William Penn have sought to promote institutions of peace. In this era we promote a vision of a new world order that recognizes the essential unity of a human family sharing a fragile planet."
"We prefer governing institutions that work face-to-face, within small communities. But we acknowledge the need for governing institutions at all levels, both as supportive, coordinating bodies, and as courts of appeal from the arbitrary actions of lesser jurisdictions.
"We are deeply distressed by a world order dominated by heavily armed nation-states. We apply our gifts-of spirit, of intellect, of time and energy-to work for a new international order under God, within which our communities will be able to redirect their resources from overdependence on the manufacture of arms to human needs and the preservation of the earth."
(Source: PYM's Faith and Practice)