Mitchell County Press-News, Feb. 2003
by Larry Kershner, Press-News Editor
“Make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union.”
–Prayer of St. Francis
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”
The United States is rushing headlong into a shooting war with Iraq, a conflict that appears to be larger than any single individual. Who can stand up to it?
The prospects of war has this country itself divided between “hawks,” who call for disarming terrorists before they strike this country again; and “doves,” who are staucnchly opposed to war and any type of aggression.
One of those dove-like groups are the Quaker church, of which there is an active group in Mason City.
One of its staunchest local members is Doug Warrington of rural Mitchell. Warrington was instrumental in the recent formation of The Quaker House, a new coffee house and gathering place for Quakers and those interested in the sect, located on Sixth Street in Mason City.
The Quaker position on war and armed aggression is not easy for many to understand, Doug noted, since many mainline churches do not preach a true gospel of total peace and non self-defense.
“People like to say, ‘the end justifies the means,'” Warrington said. “But our Lord teaches us to walk the means and let the end come to its own conclusions.”
The problem with governments stems all the way back to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, Warrington said.
Since the first rebellion against God’s instructions, man has tried many ways to govern himself.
“This has led to all of the many different kinds of governments that have come into existence,” he noted, “which is leading to a one world form of government.
“All of this happens because we are intent on governing ourselves, rather than obeying what our Lord says. It’s all going to fail.”
Using Jesus Christ as an example, Warrington pointed out. “All our Lord could do (while on earth) was to walk the truth. That’s the stand He took and it brought about His end.
“And he never defended Himself. Not once. that’s important to remember.
“We believe in a theocracy, with Jesus Christ as the head of a one world government.
“But the rest of the world doesn’t believe in this. They take up arms rather than trusting Him.”
Instead, he explained, governments adopt views like disarming Saddam Hussein in the name of peace.
“Do you realize the Muslims are referring to us as The Crusaders? We haven’t learned a thing.”
Warrington called back to the early days of the Quaker church in the U.S. In Pennsylvannia, an Indian uprising had led to the massacre of white settlers. But when the Indians arrived at a Quaker church, the defenseless pilgrims there were spared.
“The Indians saw there was no hostility. They understood reverence and respect. They considered us as real human beings.”
But the U.S. has long since become an aggressor nation, Warrington said, without accusation.
“There is no reverence anymore here,’ he added. “No respect for births. No respect for people.”
Quakers see themselves, Doug explained, as “ambassadors for Jesus Christ. We are trying to walk the way He walked.