Spring Friends Meeting Statement on North Carolina House Bill 2
As a Quaker Christian community, we at Spring Friends Meeting remember Jesus’ first public words. In the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4), he said he was sent to preach good news to the poor, deliverance to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and liberty to those who are oppressed.
We also recall his
declaration that those who welcomed the stranger
were in fact welcoming him (Matthew 25).
At Spring Friends Meeting, we feel called
to this same mission and seek to do our small
best, as way opens. As part of that effort, we
now express our deep distress at the recent
passage by the North Carolina legislature of
what is called HB2.
is much more extensive in scope and insidious
in intent than the widely publicized restroom
We are even more dismayed and saddened that this action is supported by some in the name of Christianity and what they call “religious liberty.”
Quakers should know about and cherish religious liberty. Early members of the Religious Society of Friends suffered and struggled peaceably for decades to gain the liberty to meet, worship, and witness openly and faithfully– and even to marry. Friends in North Carolina suffered and were persecuted for their association with the Underground Railroad and their peaceful resistance to the Civil War.
And since its 1650s origins, the Quaker struggle for liberty has been meant to include others, not only those of their own religious society. From the beginning, this sought-after religious liberty included women, formerly silenced. Within a century it expanded to call for liberty of the enslaved.
In our time, the Spring Meeting community has been led to welcome those of diverse backgrounds, of once-despised and excluded orientation and presentation, and to urge this liberty be extended to all with the only criteria being that an individual be an earnest seeker of Truth, Peace, and spiritual harmony. We are grateful that many others are following a similar path.
To our mind, the spirit of HB2 is contrary to this historic Quaker narrative of witness. It makes a mockery of the Apostle Paul’s forceful declaration that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
In the face of this effort to roll back crucial achievements of Christian and American liberty, we appeal to those who supported and voted for this law to re-examine their consciences and act to repeal it.
We urge Friends and others, of all faiths and of none, to raise their voices for genuine liberty and bring an end to such needless, oppressive legislation, here in North Carolina and elsewhere.
And we affirm that we will take concrete steps to support those challenging this enactment by peaceful and legal means, as way opens.
Approved by Spring
Friends Monthly Meeting, 6/19/2016
Updated by Spring Friends Monthly Meeting, 8/28/2016