[Vision2020] Plain Speaking

Melynda Huskey mghuskey@msn.com
Fri, 21 Nov 2003 08:40:39 -0800

In a startling development, I must agree with Rodney that Rose is plain 
cranky (full disclosure:  she's also my mother).

On the other hand, she's in good Quaker company.  We Quakers used "thee" as 
the second person singular pronoun not to be deferential, but to be 
aggressively, even insultingly egalitarian.  We went to jail to preserve our 
right NOT to be deferential to anybody.  We didn't take off our hats, we 
didn't curtsey, we didn't use titles like "My Lord" or "Your Honor."  God, 
we believe, is no respecter of persons, and neither are we.

George Fox, one of the founders of the denomination, was renowned for 
standing up in Anglican steeplehouses (churches) during the services and 
denouncing what he called "hireling priests" and congregations for idolatry, 
hypocrisy, and evil-doing.  He rebuked every form of empty deference, false 
honor, and formal courtesy.  Quakers have always been noted for their 
willingness to use strong, direct language to confront what they see as 
injustice, wickedness, or falsehood.

Of course, there's a flip side.  William Penn said, wisely, "They have a 
right to censure, who have a heart to help.  The rest is cruelty, not 
justice."  And John Woolman wrote, in a pamphlet entitled *On the Slave 
Trade:* "Through abiding in the Love of Christ, we feel a Tenderness in our 
Hearts toward our Fellow Creatures entangled in oppressive Customs; and a 
Concern so to walk that our Conduct may not be a Means of strengh'ning them 
in Error."

(I highly recommend Woolman's essay, which can be found at:


It is an excellent corrective to any Dabney you may have been reading.)

Melynda Huskey

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