Ben Franklin on the Quakers & Lack of Need For Govt. Support of Religion, Etc.

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Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  1. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    The Nonconformist religions are my favorite counterexample to assertions that religion is always and ever a tool of the Powers That Be. I am not a Quaker, I’ve never so much as gone to a single meeting. But I kind of love them anyway.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Their oatmeal is pretty good, too.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I think that the people who argue that religion is the opium of the masses/tools of the powers that be would argue that even non-conformist religions are so because they distract people from the real source of their poverty, misery, and struggles by their focus on the inner light, salvation, freedom from the wheel of reincarnation rather than this world. Plus, all religions are wrong regardless of whether they are official state religions or not.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Well, the abolitionist movement had very deep roots in the Second Great Awakening, and the religious life of many in the NE. I don’t think you could say that they were “distracted” from social problems by their faith. Likewise, the early founders of feminism had deep religious roots.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Yes, like Dr. J said, the Quakers explicitly were about social justice before that thing was even a thing, and explicitly against state religion. It’s the one thing they won on; every other battle of the founding era was won by by either northern merchant plutocrats or southern slave owners.

        edit: heck it’s hard to even describe Quakers as ‘organized religion’ and one the main reasons they’re not around so much anymore.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I owe the Quakers more than life itself.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    The Nonconformist religions are my favorite counterexample to assertions that religion is always and ever a tool of the Powers That Be.

    The Puritans who ruled the Massachusetts Bay colony with an iron hand and persecuted, among others, Quakers were Nonconformists.Report

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