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In this time of crisis, The Religious Society of Friends calls on all people to recognize that the policies being pursued by the Ontario Government are dangerous and destructive.

They increase the gap between the rich and the poor. They erode the bonds of trust and respect on which our sense of community is based. They impoverish our spiritual lives through loss of compassion for others and endanger the well-being of present and future generations.

We realize that many among those who have initiated and who support these policies have done so in the belief that the ends they seek are good ones. But the means to those ends are unacceptable to the conscience of honest citizens. And as Quakers we believe that where the means are flawed, so too are the ends. Not only that, but the means will fail to achieve the desired ends.

At least as disturbing as the substance of these policies is their spirit, the spirit of meanness, vindictiveness, and blaming the poor for their poverty which has become so prevalent today. This is against all that Jesus taught. It is contrary to Quaker beliefs and practice, and to the whole Judeo-Christian tradition.

We can be a part of a combined voice which sees the present crisis as an opportunity to transform an economic and social system based on greed and disparity into a community which cares for all and includes all.

We also call on our own community to look within our hearts, for as Friends, we believe that the seeds of the present policies have nourishment in our attachment to possessions, our complacency, and even our unrecognized greed.

A Quaker anti-slaver once asked, "Can we be both silent and innocent spectators?" We urge concerned people to speak and act now. We will never have a better opportunity to witness to our faith in the precious value of every one of us, equally children of God.

"We are all the poorer for the crushing of one ... since the dimming of the Light anywhere darkens us all."

Approved by the Toronto Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) on May 21, 1996

Peaceweb / Economics and Justice / 3 July 1996 / CTS