Friends have found themselves in jail because they refused to make or
prepare for war, obeying their religious principles instead of the
demands of their government to fight. They have been guided by the Peace
Testimony—an essential and indispensable fruit of Friends' belief that
there is that of God in every man. Like the early Christians, early
Friends suffered severe persecution and jailing rather than harm another
of God's children. Strong belief in the Quaker Peace Testimony kept most
American Friends from participating in the Revolutionary War. In wars of
this century, many Friends refused to fight but asked to be of service
in some more humanitarian way. Where fighting Friends would have been
disowned by their Meetings in the 17th and early 18th centuries, today,
Meetings drop few Friends from the Society for joining the military.
Nevertheless, the obligations of the Peace Testimony to refrain from
participating in or preparing for war are clear and Friends continue to
respond to the challenge of living in what George Fox called, "a life
and power which takes away the occasion of all war."
more about the Peace Testimony
Read about "Heeding God's Call--The Gathering on Peace
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We utterly deny all outward wars and strife,
and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any
pretense whatever; this is our testimony to the whole world.
The Spirit of Christ by which we are guided is not changeable,
so as to once command us from a thing as evil, and again to
move unto it; and we certainly know, and testify to the world,
that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, will
never move us to fight and war against any man with outward
weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor the kingdoms
of this world.
—Declaration to Charles II