Talk:Homosexuality and Quakerism

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FUM and EFI[edit]

This article earlier mentioned that FUM and EFI had taken official stances condemning homosexuality. I was unable to find any reference for an official condemnation in any FUM document available on their website. Unfortunately, the wikipedia article, which seems to be the source of the statement that FUM and EFI had offically condemned homosexuality, has been copied by so many other sites that it is hard to dig up anything of fact via google.

I've done my best to describe the FUM view on this (not at all a unified one), but this article could use a good amount of editing and expansion by people more familiar with the debates in those meetings.

For you, I have hearsay from my monthly meeting. My understanding from this hearsay is that during the last triennial conference of FUM, representatives from Pacific Yearly Meeting (at least one of them) went to FUM and inquired about employees of FUM being fired for, well, I'm embarassed to report that FUM was taking this position at that time, for having sex outside of marriage, apparently because the person in question (and all of this is hearsay and I'm not party to any of the details) was having sex with eir monogamous partner of the same gender. This was sex inside of a marriage that we in Pacific YM would have gladly celebrated and endorsed, but FUM fired the employee therefor. If anyone would report to me that FUM is no longer taking such a stance against FUM's employees or potential employees, my heart would be gladdened to hear of it. --arkuat (talk) 09:59, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

North America and FUM[edit]

FUM has condemned gays and lesbians being in leadership roles. They have done this in several minutes, including one in 1988. Most recently, FUM has experienced some division from the three original FUM-FGC yearly meetings; most notably this is the case with Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM). In 2002, BYM's then presiding clerk was excluded from leading a worship sharing group because he is in a committed relationship with another man. This resulted in deep hurt for Baltimore Yearly Meeting, resulting in BYM bringing forth a minute expressing this hurt and concern. FUM responded stating that its minute in 1988 states that gays and lesbians in active relationships are to be excluded from leadership positions. From that point, Baltimore Yearly Meeting has been trying to continue a relationship with FUM while staying true to its position of equality for people regardless of sexual orientation. At this time, BYM is developing an intervistation program. Artsygeek 09:47, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Hey Artsygeek -- can you provide links to online versions of these minutes and any news coverage of these issues? We would need them before we can put any of this info in the article. Thanks! Sdedeo (tips) 10:11, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
No's an epistle BYM sent out concerning the issue [1], Here's the minutes of the 2002 Annual Session, (see page 12), wherein BYM begins wrestling with this issue: [2]. See Minute Y2003-32 on this page for a note about a minute from FUM in the works: [3]. See Minute I2003-35 on this page for said minute from FUM: [4]. BYM Friends Meetings began sending minutes to BYM around the time of Interim Meeting sessions in 2004: [5]. Several issues come up in the Summer Interim Meeting in 2004: [6] and at Annual Session 2004: [7] (Y2004-28). At fall sessions, 2004, Friends began considering how to fund FUM without funding its discrimination: [8] (I2004-35), there are reference to an Intervisitation program in Spring of 2005 (I2005-3) as well as the four-committee-committee convened to deal with budgetary issues related to this issue (I2005-7) [9]. At summer 2005 IM, [10] I2005-50, discusses other meetings' responses [11]. I'll dredge up more of the stuff as I find it. (I may have to scan in (or, more likely just copy by hand) minutes from other Yearly Meetings on the issue if I can't find them on the net) Artsygeek 17:40, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Several Yearly Meetings and one Monthly Meeting have expressed concern on this issue. Saint Petersburg Monthly Meeting: [12], Southeastern Yearly Meeting expressing concern in their annual epistle: [13], Canadian Yearly Meeting wrote a minute to FUM: [14], New England Yearly Meeting wrote up a "Minute of Exercise" on the issue and reiterated it in 2005, followed by a revision: [15](05-37, 05-47, 05-49, 05-60). Hope that helps Artsygeek 22:22, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Hey Artsygeek -- great. I'm actually kind of busy for the next couple of days. I encourage you to go ahead and add this stuff in yourself; if you don't have time, I'll probably get around to it later. Thanks! Sdedeo (tips) 01:48, 31 December 2005 (UTC) -Okay, I'll start working on it tomorrow if I can get access to the net (I have no access whatsoever at home). I suppose it'll be an exercise in objectivity; I'm actively involved in the issue and have very strong feelings. Artsygeek 03:24, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Good luck! If it helps, take a look over things like WP:NPOV, and do your best to stay very close to just reporting what others have said (e.g., any value judgements should be attributed to an outside source.) Also, do your best to not let the discussion run on too long; try to find external sources that provide a fuller discussion and summarize them briefly -- the article has to cover the entire world! Anyway, I'm sure you'll do an excellent job. Sdedeo (tips) 03:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

-I started work on it tonight with a brief statement of facts. I also plan on setting up a page on BYM. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I'm co-clerk of the Religious Ed committee at BYM and a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Gender and Sexual Diversity Concerns at BYM, and have taken public positions on the FUM-BYM issue. Artsygeek 06:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

-I'm not comfortable doing this for reasons of avoiding writing POV, but there probably should be something next to the bit about FGC that links to [16], which is the minute that FGC's Central Committee wrote in 2004; it's a pretty unambiguous statement.

In the interest of the testimony on truth I've changed ""with the majority (mostly Friends affiliated with programmed meetings) not approving" to "some..." I have no evidence before me to indicate a "majority" view one way or the other, nor is that how Friends decide things. --K6ncx 06:49, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I was a teenager when the Friends of Jesus "discussion" happened. A "recorded minister" wrote a paper supporting it, he was disowned. The meeting was very tightly controlled, and clearly the decision was chosen by the clerk before discussion started. There was enough discussion to write a short position statement, which appeared at first only in the Yearly meeting minutes, but now is an appendix to the faith and practice. <Added this position statement to the list of links also> —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

more on NA and FUM[edit]

I have taken out the section specific about the history of the BYM, FUM discussions. I am of the opinion that it is too specific an event for this article. It is also not yet resolved, we don't need a running commentary on the very deliberate progress of Quaker process. Guardian 4 March, 2006

In general, be careful of deleting a paragraph wholesale; I have no problem with reducing its length or altering its content, but we should respect other's contributions and try to work with them unless they are totally useless -- not the case here I think. Sdedeo (tips) 19:01, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. To simply delete a paragraph wholesale because it is involved in ongoing discussion would nullify much of Wikipedia's content. To say that "we don't need a running commentary on the very deliberate progress of Quaker process" as applied to this situation, or really any other is faulty on two points: one, the actions taken by BYM are not "progressing", they've been initiated and decided and thus need to be spoken of; two, this would prevent much of the content that was spoken in Quaker history about abolition, women's rights, and many anti-war action from being spoken. Further, the issue of being "too specific" cannot be arbitrarily decided by one individual.

Africa, Latin America, Asia[edit]

Missing any info at all. My feeling is that Latin American and African meetings, being of the programmed sort and mostly under the care of FUM and EFI share the views of those two meetings. But it would be very interesting to get some real information on this!

I have visited with Friends in Africa and Latin America and can confirm that almost all who are part of ("under the care of" is incorrect terminology in this case) FUM and EFI believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, there are small and scattered unprogrammed meetings that tend towards the beliefs of European and liberal North American Friends. I will look for some references and post this, if you like. --Shadowfax37 23:45, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Please do your best to improve and source this stuff, we have nothing on it yet. And definitely correct terminology where it's wrong! Sdedeo (tips) 23:48, 28 January 2006 (UTC)


please refer to this users talk page for details. - R Lee E Flag of the United States.svg (talk, contribs) 21:28, August 16, 2005 (UTC)

sigh, i need to learn the viable syntax for the edit summary. Heh, sorry. - R Lee E Flag of the United States.svg (talk, contribs) 21:30, August 16, 2005 (UTC)

liberal vs. conservative[edit]

I found the language in the intro section to be confusing. It sounds like liberal = unprogrammed and conservative = programmed, which is not necessarilly true. And it sounds like liberal unprogrammed meetings are somehow "liberal" within the context of Quakerism, while programmed meetings are "conservative" within that context. But the programmed meetings are not conservative within that context, since they represent a departure from tradition and long-standing Quaker values of how a meeting should be. Those meetings which continue to be unprogrammed ("just like my momma and my grandpappy and my great-grandpappy before him") are actually "conservative" within the context of Quaker Sunday morning behavior. I think it will be good to make the point clearer that liberal/conservative are meant within a political context. So I am going to edit. Read it, somebody, please, and make sure it makes sense.  Sean Lotz  talk  17:58, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Numbers of Friends finding homosexuality abhorrent[edit]

I have added "[citation needed] " to this statement.

"The views of Quakers toward homosexuality encompass a range from complete acceptance and celebration of same-sex marriages, to a small minority [citation needed] viewing homosexuality as abhorrent and sinful."

Watching the Epistles from other Yearly Meetings, printed in the Documents in Advance of Britain Yearly Meeting (DiA) over several years, I come to the conclusion that no-one can assert "a small minority".

Certainly, many Gay Friends have felt themselves to be "a minority of One".

In DiA Britain YM 2007 (Epistles) there are several YMs that report this unresolved issue has troubled thir annual meeting and one where abhorrence has dominated their gathering.

I suggest that there is indeed great variance between the views of individual Friends and their various organisational structures, worldwide. If the editors of this article take into account the views of Friends whose first language is not English, then the difficulty in enumerating attitudes may become clearer. === Vernon White (talk) 17:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Small minority cannot be true... SouthWest Yearly meeting, at 11,000 (mentioned in this article) is a bit more than a small minority. In North American, EFI claims 41,000 (which is over 10% of the world's Quaker population --- though, it is arguable how 'Quaker' the group is)... I believe EFI is a rather unified block.
From what I know -- Iowa Yearly Meeting and Indiana Yearly Meeting. (FUM) are much the same as the EFI meetings... Indiana and Western Yearly meeting were listed in this article as forbidding homosexual relationships. Indiana is not a minor Yearly meeting. Minority thinks that Homosexuality is sinful might be true worldwide -- certainly in Europe -- but, in the USA, I doubt in Africa or South America. [I think, Quakers come close to tracking public opinion overall, but that's just a guess]. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
The reference to "small minority" went with the statement that some Friends find homosexuality "abhorrent", there are many groups within FUM that forbid the relationships but do not go so far as to call it abhorrent, so the statement was not as far off as this poster suggests. I actually support the removal of the quantifier because the minority is not small in my experience, and it would require polling to find current numbers on this issue (which I've never seen done, I would also guess that Friends are close to their local populations on these issues). I feel that Vernon is right; there is variance between the views of individuals and their organizations. Friends business practices are inherently conservative (since you have to wait for the full sense of the group to change, not just the majority). I've spoken with Friends from several of the YM's named in the anonymous post above that support full acceptance all Friends irregardless of their sexual orientation. So I agree with the edits, but I don't think the degree of concern voiced above is fulling accurate. --Ahc 18:00, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Small minority? Maybe that is true in North America, probably not. Here is the real story. Friends are a tolerant group, and very compassionate group. They are presently trying to minister to the hurt expressed by gay and lesbian friends over the FUM hiring policy that went into place in the 1990's. There are many, many Friends in Kenya. Many more than there are in the Northeastern United States. They do not necessarily subscribe to the idea that being gay or lesbian is acceptable spiritual (let alone moral in any venue) behavior. However, because they are Kenyans, Northeastern American liberals just naturally assume that they are spriritually backwards, and in conversations, dismiss them entirely. It is a disquieting rhetoric that is unworthy of the name Friend. That is not an acceptible notion to mainstream Friends. Kenyan Friends would never be discounted in their faith by Friends that are not a part of a socio-political push for gay rights. This whole article is way ahead of it's time, not researched carefully, and not true to what The Society of Friends as a whole has yet to decide. These yearly meetings are being attended by large numbers of gays and lesbians so that these meetings are out of balance when compared to the population of Friends as a whole. It would be fair to say that Friends do not want to discriminate against gays and lesbians, in general, because of the Friends belief in equality in the eyes of God. However, there is a growing number of aetheist attenders at Friends Meetings that are just showing up to push the socio-political agenda. It is to the credit of Friends everywhere that gays and lesbians, and other social agenda promoters are received as well as they are, considering the blatant manipulation and pressuring that is going on, and the desire for censure of the heterosexual Friends that are not yet ready to fully accept homosexual behavior as moral. This article quotes Meetings' quieries and concerns from records yet those alone are misleading as to where and when and how this will all end. The best thing would be to say Friends are seeking clearness as to the concerns of their gay and lesbian members that are seeking equality and recognition, and that some Meetings have made full accomodations for those members, while others still wrestle with the issues. Jackspratfacts (talk) 21:39, 14 June 2009 (UTC)


It seems to me that a link that appears as "Australia Yearly Meeting" should be about 'that' yearly meeting not yearly meetings in general. Buzzilla (talk) 20:15, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Britain YM[edit]

I hope that my amendments have corrected the spin of as previous editor and not introduced more errors. Vernon White . . . Talk 10:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)


Anyone know the stand of the Ohio Yearly Meeting? It may be a valuable addition. Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 03:14, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

If you mean Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative), then their Book of Discipline does not mention the words homosexuality or gay. Ohio Valley YM BoD doesn't mention this topic either.Vernon White . . . Talk 21:26, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, meant the former. The reason why I ask is that the hardcopy of their Book of Discipline didn't mention it specifically. Looks like the latest one doesn't either. If it can be found out either way, it would be a good addition. Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 13:52, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Better ask them, then. There's an email link on their main page. Vernon White . . . Talk 20:02, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
OK, sounds like some research is in order. IIRC, Hamm's Quakers in America has some references to the variance stances of the meetings. I'll take a look. Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 20:13, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Seems a worship group was disowned in-mass for tolerating homosexual members (not at the YM level... and not appealed to the YM either.). There was a request to form a clearness committee to better understand the position of Christian scripture. (i.e. they intend to write a position statement eventually.) Should be an interesting process. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:55, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

"Towards a Quaker View of Sex" has now been fully digitized and is available for everyone to read in conjunction with its 50th anniversary in 2013: http://LeavesOfGrass.Org/vos/frontcover.html. I would have added the link myself, but when I opened the sections to edit it, the editor textarea displayed as blank. Chairease (talk) 15:03, 11 June 2012 (UTC)