Name the most influential document published by British Quakers in the twentieth century. The rationalist, clinical tone of VOS offered a way to calm the prevailing climate of sex panic. It was unabashedly written by committee, and reads like it. I am struck by the historical complementarity between VOS and the fiery spiritual testimonies to be found in the works of Edward Carpenter in England and his American mentor, Walt Whitman. These authors functioned as founder spirits brooding over the creation of the gay rights movement. The grand clarion calls of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality articulated in Leaves of Grass provided encouragement for gay men, and some lesbians, in an era of almost unimaginable oppression. Jack Nichols, a s gay rights activist and key participant in the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, later wrote:.
Quakers in the World
Towards a Quaker View of Sex · LGBTQ Religious Archives Network
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From a Quaker View of Sex
Having been raised in an ethical household with the understanding that all affairs of the heart are loved by God, and that discrimination of any kind is unjust and the product of ignorance, my adolescents carried with it a dark oppressive cloud that felt confusion from the fact of having a same-sex orientation. In my eyes the present day marriage equality movement is the act of performing miracles in the line of service. In response to peers, family and socialization, it is a fact that an undying love helped to project us from the darkness of internalized homophobia, and allow for the light of the spirit to rejoice in delight concerning the error in judgment about human relationships, and human behavior, which hail from the influence of naive bigotry, and that we have abandoned for higher and more praiseworthy aspirations. I am sure I am not the only male gay or straight who has misinterpreted the influence of parents, role models and peers to be one that stigmatizes the reality of homosexual attraction.
Quaker recognition that there is that of that of God in everyone has led them at times to challenge conventional thinking about personal relationships and sexual ethics. Quakers traditionally have no clergy to conduct their weddings. As George Fox said: "we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses. When the Marriage Act of made the Anglican service the only recognised form of marriage in England, the two exceptions allowed were for Jews and Quakers. Quakers on the whole remained conservative on matters of sexual ethics until the early part of the 20th Century.