Quakers: Hard on U.S., Easy on Iran

Long ago, the political arm of Quakers in the U.S. shifted away from traditional peace causes to radical, far-left advocacy that benefits violently aggressive regimes that torment their own people and threaten world peace. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) never met an anti-American regime it could not defend.  Iran’s notorious theocracy of the apocalyptic mullahs with nuclear weaponry ambitions is the latest beneficiary of Quaker advocacy.

AFSC has contacted members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Armed Services committees, with “appropriate” committee staff, to warn against a “dangerous provision threatening war with Iran” within the final National Defense Authorization Act that that Congress is currently negotiating.

The House version of the legislation urges U.S. policy to “take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the United States, its allies, or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon.”  The Quakers object that this language would require the Defense Department to theorize about enhancing U.S. naval strength in the Middle East and to conduct preparatory military operations in the region.

In their letter to the congressional committee, the Quakers complained that this legislation would challenge the President’s “well-established constitutional prerogatives with respect to U.S. foreign policy” and would attempt to “micro-manage” presidential command over U.S. Forces.  How touching that the Quaker lobby is considerately now defending presidential war powers, for which the Quakers are not typically renowned.

More characteristically, the Quakers tut-tut that the House legislation would “undermine” the administration’s “diplomatic efforts with Iran, and push the United States closer to a war that countless military leaders and top national security officials have warned would be disastrous for U.S. national security interests.”  Their pleading letter concludes:  “We hope you will also join countless U.S. and Israeli military and security officials in speaking out against another war of choice in the Middle East.”  Again, the sudden Quaker regard for U.S. and Israeli military and security officials is unusual.

A more candid letter from the Quaker lobby would forthrightly declare that even if Iran were testing a nuclear weapon tomorrow with specific plans to obliterate Tel Aviv (or to sneak into a U.S. city), they would oppose any consideration of military action to stop it.  The modern Quaker approach to statecraft, aligned with contemporary Religious Left activism almost everywhere, opposes all “violence,” no matter how many innocents must die in defense of their abstract philosophical point.  That their policies would directly encourage and facilitate even greater violence is seemingly inconsequential to the professional religious peace activists.

The U.S. House legislation to which the Quaker lobby objects urges diplomacy, sanctions and “credible, visible preparations for a military option.”  Noting that diplomacy and sanctions so far have been unsuccessful in sidetracking Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the legislation suggests that “additional pressure” could come from a “credible threat of military action against Iran’s nuclear program.”  So of course the legislation seeks to protect the world from nuclear-armed Iranian psychopaths and to prevent war by offering a credible threat to the mad regime of mullahs.   But even the suggestion of implied force to deter even greater violence is sufficient to give these Quakers the vapors.  Oddly, the prospect of Iranian theocrats anxious for End Times and for extinguishing Israel, among other targets, does not seem to fuel much if any anxiety at the Quaker lobby office.

Maybe the Quaker lobby perspective might have a pinch of credibility if, while forthcoming about the Quaker commitment to absolute pacifism, at least expressed alarm about Iranian nuclear weapons, about Iranian threats against Israel and others, and about the Iranian regime’s bloody 33-year reign of terror over the Iranian people.  But the Quaker lobby prefers to imagine, as it has across the last half century or so, that murderous tyrants are in fact quite reasonable, and the main threat to peace is not from the killers but rather from those who attempt to stop them.

In a FAQ about the Iranian nuclear question, the Quaker lobby avoids virtually any negative language about Iran’s theocracy. Instead, it faults the U.S. for failure to accept Iranian compromises.  And it wonders about the seriousness of objections to Iranian nukes when the U.S. and Israel already have nuclear weapons.  After all, from the Quaker lobby perspective, all regimes seem to be morally equal, and all violence is equally unacceptable.  The real solution, it insists, is a nuclear free world.

Quakers have always been pacifists but they have not always funded a far-left Capitol Hill lobby that churns out dogmatic policy demands for a radically egalitarian and utopian view of social justice.  Ironically, the Quaker lobby wants lots, lots more government but doesn’t want the government using force.  So it’s not really clear how the state should gain its revenues or impose its rule.

No matter.   The Quaker lobby prefers surreal dreams to reality.  Quakers are few in number, and probably most are far more realistic than the political lobby that professes to represent them.  But the Quaker lobby says what virtually the whole organized Religious Left believes in terms of dogmatic pacifism, anti-Americanism, and incongruent demands for ever more monolithic and controlling Big Government.

Very little, if any of it, makes sense.  But the Quaker lobby, which dates back to World War II, is undeterred and, thankfully, mostly ignored.

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  • Mary Sue

    Many, many years ago, Quakers used to be cool. Heck, they even got their own brand of oatmeal! ;)

    Now they're just a bunch of post-modern stupid hippies.

    • luckylarrysilverstein

      YO Mary Sue,

      The brand of oatmeal was not owned by Quakers!

      According to the folks at Quaker Oats, the Quaker Man was registered as a trademark on September 4, 1877 — the first U.S. trademark registered for a breakfast cereal. "The name was chosen when Quaker Mill partner Henry Seymour found an encyclopedia article on Quakers and decided that the qualities described — integrity, honesty, purity — provided an appropriate identity for his company's oat product." Today you don't come across a lot of impure, dishonest oats, but consumers in the late nineteenth century couldn't take such things for granted. To emphasize the purity angle, the original Quaker Man carried a scroll with the word "pure" on it.

      In 1901, the Quaker Oats company was formed when three cereal mills — including Seymour's Quaker Mill — combined. The new entity kept Seymour's trademark but has revised it over the years. In 1946, graphic designer Jim Nash introduced the familiar "smiling head" portrait. Between 1955 and 1958, Chicago artist and illustrator Haddon Sundblom used Nash's line drawing as the basis for a full color portrait of the Quaker Man. In 1970, Saul Bass created the distinctive one-color "shadow" image that you see on packages today — it was adopted as the Quaker Oats trademark in 1972.

      If you search for pictures of John Penn on the Web, you'll find he looks nothing like the Quaker Man. However, I have to admit the resemblance to William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, is a little closer. Are there delicate legal issues involved in admitting the trademark is based on a real person? Would the state of Pennsylvania sue? I don't know. We'll just chalk it up to coincidence and move on.

      • Tom

        Wow, that was relevant.

  • Jonathan Riddell

    When it comes to illegal nuclear weapons, Israel started it supported by the US. Violence breeds more violence.

    • Tom

      Isreali nuclear weapons are non-violent, because they've never been used. Therefore, they are a deterrence to violence.

      • Jonathan Riddell

        The existance of weapons of mass destruction is a voilent threat. By your logic Iran is perfectly non-violent in developing clandestine nuclear weapons and not at all provoked by Israel having done exactly the same.

  • SAM000

    This Religious LOBBY like all Iranian LOBBIES in USA is connected directly to the Iranian services, and it is FUNDED by the Iranian services.

    If you do a small search, you will find that they are connected to NIAC (National Iranian American Council),

    NIAC is well known to be the Iranian Lobby in USA.

  • luckylarrysilverstein

    Just as Quaker Oats have nothing in common with Quakers, neither have the majority of Quakers anything in common with Jesus of Nazareth & his Message.

    Most people see Quakers as they see Mormons, but they fail to research either.

    In the beginning of Quakerism, they were a vital force against state churches & fought for the liberty of conscience. But this is something they seem to be ignorant of when they side with regimes like in Iran and other Muslim countries. Islam is WORSE than any Church of England that Fox & Penn fought against & would be ashamed of what Quakers are doing today. Islam is ANTICHRIST.
    Mormonism's prophet was very like the prophet of Islam – A SEX PERVERT.
    Both had their Goon Squad to keep their people in line & if they questioned dogma, they were killed.
    Smith's Goon Squad was called The Danites & were responsible for the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
    Muhammad's Goon Squad are called Mohammedans & are with us today.

    • Mackenzie

      Islam is anti-Christ, eh? Well, I'm sure the world's Muslims would be shocked to learn that all this time they thought they were revering Jesus as one of their greatest prophets, they were somehow not!

      Something you seem to ignore is that when early Quakers resisted the Church of England, they did so completely non-violently. Hymn-singing was their resistance. They did not do as Guy Fawkes did–try to violently overthrow the CoE and government with a bomb. The US bombing Iran to convince it to separate religion from state would be much more the Fawkes tactic. Effigies are burned of him every year in the UK, and the CoE stands. Clearly, violent methods do not work to separate religion and state. Do you know how Scotland's disestablishment happened? At the ballot box. Heartfelt conversations are what change hearts and minds.

      I don't think Fox, Penn, Dyer, Fell, Fisher, et. al. would be at all ashamed of the peace work Quakers do today, including going to war-torn regions to feed and clothe the widows and children left behind by war and help those whose houses and lands have been destroyed rebuild. That's what AFSC did after WW2, and that's much of what it continues to do. Clothing poor children in Afghanistan is one current such project. Seven years ago, a Quaker man from Virginia died in Iraq while helping those whose family members had disappeared and whose houses had been destroyed.

      And remember: polygyny is all over the Bible. It's not just Smith and Mohammed. King David, Jesus's great-great-great-[a bunch more]-granddaddy (by adoption, if you prefer) was in on it too.

      • luckylarrysilverstein

        Are you any relation to Scott Mckenzie?

        1. If you're going to San Francisco
        Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
        If you're going to San Francisco
        You're gonna meet some gentle people there
        2. For those who come to San Francisco
        Summertime will be a love-in there
        In the streets of San Francisco
        Gentle people with flowers in their hair
        Intro.: All across the nation, such a strange vibration
        People in motion
        There's a whole generation with a new explanation
        People in motion, people in motion
        3. For those who come to San Francisco
        Be sure to wear some flowers in their hair
        If you come to San Francisco
        Summertime will be a love-in there
        Extro.: If you come to San Francisco
        Summertime will be a loving day.

        I think the Quakers should adopt this as their hymn.


        The final decades of the 20th century witnessed another Holocaust – an Islamic one, in which millions have been and continue to be shot, decapitated and stoned to death; in which people have been slaughtered and displaced by Islamic states, political Islamic movements and Islamic terrorists in Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Central Asia, and now in America. The robe, turban and Quran continue to victimize people. Any voice of dissent or freedom has been silenced on the spot. The oppression maintained by Islamic movements primarily takes the form of opposition to the freedom of women, by crushing women's civil liberties, by curtailing freedom of expression in the cultural and personal domains, by enforcing brutal laws and traditions, and by the mass killing of people from young children to the elderly.

        Essentially, Islam is a set of beliefs and rules that militate against human prosperity, happiness, welfare, freedom, equality and knowledge. Islam and a full human life are contradictory concepts, opposed to each other. Islam under any kind of interpretation is and always has been a strong force against secularism, modernism, egalitarianism and women's rights. Political Islam, however, is a political movement that has come to the fore against secular and progressive movements for liberation, and against cultural and intellectual advances. Violence and disregard for human dignity are inherent in the manifestos of political Islamic groups.

  • Ghostwriter

    The Quakers have made themselves look utterly stupid.

    • luckylarrysilverstein


      After political Islam took power in Iran, creating an Islamic Republic, this movement came out of the margins in other Middle Eastern countries. It was in Iran that political Islam first organized itself into a government and thus turned into a considerable force in the region. In Iran, under an Islamic state, violence has had another dimension: one that is based on Islam. The very statement that an Islamic Republic exists somewhere means that brutal violence exists in it. The mere fact that people are forced to abide by laws based on something some god is believed to have said somewhere, or that some prophet has said, itself represents a form of violence. If anyone protests against such laws, they are subject to punishment and suppression. Islam means the worst and the most ferocious kind of violence. Iran is the most transparent picture of what Islam is capable of.

      Since 1979, a hundred thousand men, women and children have been executed in the name of Allah.
      Thousands of men and women throughout the country looked for the names of lovers, husbands, wives, friends, daughters, sons, colleagues and students in newspapers which daily announced the names of the executed. Days, when the soldiers of Allah attacked bookstores and publishing houses and burned books. Days, of armed attacks on universities, killing students all over the country. Weeks and months, of bloody attacks on workers' strikes and demonstrations. Years of assassination of opponents inside and outside Iran. Years of suppression and brutal murder of atheists, freethinkers, socialists, trade union leaders and activists, Marxists, Bahais, women who resisted the misery of hijab and the rule of sexual apartheid, and many others who were none of these, who were arrested in the streets and then executed simply because of their innocent non-Islamic appearance. And to the hundred thousand murdered in Iran must be added the millions who have died in Algeria, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. A silent holocaust about which the civilized world does nothing.
      Verses of the Quran about nonbelievers were played in the torture chambers. The voice reading the Quran was mixed with prisoners cries of pain from lashes and other brutal forms of torture. They raped women political prisoners for the sake of Allah and in expectation of his reward. They prayed before raping them. Thousands were shot to death by execution squads while Quranic verses were recited. Prisoners were awakened every day at dawn to the sound of gunshots aimed at their friends and cellmates. From the numbers of shots one could work out how many had been murdered that day. The killing machine did not stop for a minute. The fathers and mothers, husbands and wives who received the bloody clothes of their loved ones had to pay for the bullets. They created an Islamic Auschwitz. Many of the best, the most passionate and progressive people were massacred. The dimensions of the horror are beyond imagining.

      During those years, millions of children were brainwashed and manipulated. The crimes committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and political Islam in the region are comparable to the crimes committed by Fascism in the 1930s and early 1940s, and to the genocide in Rwanda and Indonesia.
      Yet these are events that humanity around the world has been largely unaware of. A Holocaust which, if humanity knew of its dimensions and intensity, would certainly cause it to weep. With the downfall of such regimes, the world will finally be given an opportunity to know the truth – victims will speak out, prisons and torture chambers will be exposed, torturers will make heart-wrenching confessions, Islamic prosecutors and judges will reveal what they did to their victims behind prison walls. Then people all over the world will see what a despicable phenomenon Islam is. They will finally find out the truth about those governments that backed the Islamic movements and the Western mainstream media that deliberately blocked people's access to the truth.

  • kathy

    uptil I looked at the bank draft which had said $4697, I be certain that my friends brother woz truly bringing home money part-time from their laptop.. there friend brother has done this for under 14 months and recently took care of the loans on their place and bourt a top of the range Car. read more at,………. Bit40.ℂOℳ

  • instructor29

    I grew up Quaker, and was deeply involved in the Religious Society of Friends (see John 15:14) until my mid-thirties. The American Friends Service Committee represents a very liberal wing of the Friends/ Quaker movement. At the same time, the Quakers I was with were very conservative in their religious beliefs – salvation through faith in Christ, the deity of Christ, and so forth – beliefs th at most liberal Quakers reject. As far as I know, most of the conservative Quaker groups have severed their ties with the AFSC long ago.

  • ben t

    In the '50's, '60's and 70's, when I was a hare-brained marxist (is there any other kind?) I had extensive dealings with the AFSC. The public record will show they never disagreed with any Soviet initiative or agreed with one from the USA.

  • Kirby Urner

    "A more candid letter from the Quaker lobby…" This paragraph seemed a rather blatant attempt to speak on behalf of the AFSC. In fact, if the mullahs are truly working on weaponizing their nuclear program, then they'll be publicly taking a hypocritical / indefensible position — very risky. They have more far more leverage calling for a nuclear free zone (no nukes) in the Middle East (not talking about nuclear power or nuclear medicine — allowed under the Nonproliferation Treaty). Aligning with the Countdown to Zero campaign (aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons globally) is Iran's best geopolitical strategy at this time. The US needs to demonize Iran as a nuclear weapons wannabe for its own reasons.

    I don't speak for the AFSC as an official staffer working on this topic, but I am currently, right now, at the AFSC corporation meeting as a Quaker rep from the North Pacific region. I flew into Philly last night for this meeting. So far, I'm the most inside of the insiders (AFSC-wise) posting in the comments.