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Offline kevin

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quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« on: July 18, 2010, 08:08:38 PM »
from "catholic question," by leese:

. . . quakers don't use titles because titles have a long history of assigning authority to people who don't deserve it. extreme cases include "your honor," or " your excellency," both of which are still officially used in the united states. this goes against several of the things quakers believe. and in honesty, we have a long history of being considered rude because we don't grease the wheel of etiquette.

i don't call a judge in court anything except "judge," and for the same reason don't stand when he enters the room or take off my hat when i speak to him.

That is interesting... another thing I didn't know about quakers.

I would love to hear more on this (another thread?).   So you don't call a judge 'your honor" because of the history of that position or do you believe he/she himself don't deserve it?    Or is it the phrase itself you have a problem with.   I'm very interested.

jill, formerly quakers died in jail because they wouldn't offer judges the social niceties that the judges considered essential to the honor and dignity of their position. quakers still get in trouble. it once cost me about $1500 not to raise my hand and swear an oath for a judge, and it could have been twice that.

there are several reasons. first quakers are bound by god to speak the truth. this includes not addressing someone by a title that he might not deserve, such as a judge by "your honor," or an ambassador as "your excellency." sometimes the individual deserves it, sometimes he doesn't. observant quakers avoid the titles.

second, quakers also traditionally avoided the complex customs of etiquette that were part and parcel of the hypocritic institutions of their day, as encouraging conceit and social inequality. this included the old ettiquette of bowing and scraping, and the complex wordy greetings called "compliments." sometimes we compromise. when the society of friends received the nobel peace prize in 1948 for its part in creating the united nations, the individual delegated to accept the prize went out and borrowed a suit to wear for the event. had it been me, i would have worn the clothes i 'm wearing now.

third, quakers were enjoined to practice what was called "plain speech," which meant simplifying and distilling communications to the basics and essentials. superfluous titles were considered a contradiction to this.

we also don't participating in oaths, such as legal truth-telling ceremonies or loyalty oaths. my kids don't participate in "pledges of allegiance" at their public schools, for example. they have made this decision on their own.

not all quakers consider these issues important, and some poo-poo them as old fashioned. but not me.
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Offline unkleE

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 09:57:45 PM »
I'm with you in spirit, Kev, though not necessarily in detail. Some trivial examples:

  • I went most of my working life in an office where everyone wore ties as convention, but I didn't, because I think they are silly in Australia's climate.
  • I was once a witness in court (only an industrial court) and I was, to my knowledge, the only christian on our "side", and the only one not to swear on the Bible because I accepted Jesus' statement not to do so. You have to wonder about the efficacy of a practice where the unbelievers can swear on a Bible and the believers can't!
  • I avoid honorifics (e.g. doctor, whether academic or physician, Rev) where I can and try to use first names if I can.

Small cheese compared to you Quakers, but the idea's the same. I remember reading a book when I was younger - Beyond the Rat Race by Art Gish - which made an impression on me in these matters.
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Offline kevin

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 10:09:34 PM »
. . .
Small cheese compared to you Quakers, but the idea's the same. I remember reading a book when I was younger - Beyond the Rat Race by Art Gish - which made an impression on me in these matters.

art gish is a worthy man to pay attention to. he grows great jerusalem artichokes when he isn't standing in front of israeli tanks. i'll tell him you liked his book the next time i see him.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 10:14:16 PM »
To be honest, I don't see that the Quakers conventions are any different in kind to the conventions that they affect to despise. Yeah, let's all treat each others' conventions with contempt, how useful.

OTOH I also would refuse to swear an oath on the Bible, the irony overload would be intolerable, so +1 to Quakers on that point.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2010, 10:38:20 PM »
art gish is a worthy man to pay attention to. he grows great jerusalem artichokes when he isn't standing in front of israeli tanks. i'll tell him you liked his book the next time i see him.

I thought he might have been a Quaker, but wasn't sure. Is he part of your group or meeting or whatever you call it? Yeah, tell him that - it obviously made an impression on me that I remember it 40+ years on - though in the end I conformed in my life more than I would have liked to and certainly more than he would have recommended.

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Offline jill

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 10:51:02 PM »
Thanks for the explanation Kevin.

I feel much the same as you regarding oaths and pledges...................   

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2010, 11:23:26 PM »


I thought he might have been a Quaker, but wasn't sure. Is he part of your group or meeting or whatever you call it? Yeah, tell him that - it obviously made an impression on me that I remember it 40+ years on - though in the end I conformed in my life more than I would have liked to and certainly more than he would have recommended.

Growing Jerusalem artichokes is not easily done when you are standing in front of Israeli tanks!


he's an anabaptist, not a quaker, but his commune is down about two hours south of me. he sells vegetables at a farmer's market that i was considering joining, but it's too far away. i first met him at a luddite conference in my meetinghouse nine or ten years ago, before i joined the Conservatrive friends and moved to ohio. he spends part of each year in palestine as an observer for the christian peacemaker teams.

i am not a personal friend, but i speak with him from time to time

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=31425

his "living in christian community" is a challenging book as well.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2010, 11:25:18 PM »
To be honest, I don't see that the Quakers conventions are any different in kind to the conventions that they affect to despise. Yeah, let's all treat each others' conventions with contempt, how useful.

i don't follow you, HE
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2010, 11:28:56 PM »
Thanks for the explanation Kevin.

I feel much the same as you regarding oaths and pledges...................   

all my kids are somewhat bemused at the american "pledge of allegiance." they usually stand in class for it ( i believe) but don't perform any of the hand over the heart stuff and don't recite anything. i'll have to ask them.

i don't stand or take my hat off when i happen to be trapped someplace where the rite is taking place.

formerly i used to have to recite a loyalty oath to obtain an american passport. i got another a year ago, so i know that that has changed, but i can't remember the details of the process.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 01:39:08 AM »
In my experience whenever someone offers an unprovoked oath or swearing to something, it usually isn't true.
I wonder if the Quaker practice also took this into consideration in their decision?
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Offline davdi

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 02:19:09 AM »
To be honest, I don't see that the Quakers conventions are any different in kind to the conventions that they affect to despise. Yeah, let's all treat each others' conventions with contempt, how useful.

i don't follow you, HE

If it is still valid to answer this, Kevin, his meaning is that when you mentioned it cost you $1500 once to keep your "silence" in court they were despising your tradition as much as you were despising theirs.  I think i have the amount of money right but the rest of it may be all hogwash.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 02:23:10 AM »
forgive my stupidity... but what's the hat thing?  you said you don't remove your hat.  do quakers wear special hats?
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 02:35:45 AM »
forgive my stupidity... but what's the hat thing?  you said you don't remove your hat.  do quakers wear special hats?

I imagine he's talking about the standard "etiquette" of removing ones hat when the flag is being presented, or during National Athem,  things like that.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 02:47:44 AM »
forgive my stupidity... but what's the hat thing?  you said you don't remove your hat.  do quakers wear special hats?

I imagine he's talking about the standard "etiquette" of removing ones hat when the flag is being presented, or during National Athem,  things like that.


One of the Quaker ways of thinking is that "ye are not of this world, but you have been sent into the world to be witnesses of me."  They don't owe allegiance to anyone but God.  Kinda makes them a little bit of an outcast.
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Offline leese

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 03:02:02 AM »
Hmmm.. about five years back, I was on jury duty and  there were a couple people outside the courthouse pressing pamphlets on us as we went in. They were about our rights to not take an oath. I didn't read it more than a glance, when the judge addressed all of the jurors by saying that the pamphlets we had received were  in error and to disregard them. I didn't look into it further as the bailiff collected our pamphlets, and I forgot about it until now. I wonder if they were Quaker related handbills.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2010, 03:07:41 AM »

If it is still valid to answer this, Kevin, his meaning is that when you mentioned it cost you $1500 once to keep your "silence" in court they were despising your tradition as much as you were despising theirs.  I think i have the amount of money right but the rest of it may be all hogwash.

i was in an auto accident caused by an elderly and confused man. the cops asked if i would just let him go, and i said yes. he then sued me for the damage to his car. in court, when we were asked to stand and raise our hands for the oath taking ceremony, i explained to the judge that i wouldn't lie, but that as a quaker i could not take part in the ceremony. he explained that if i would not swear, i could not testify in my defense, and then judged against me for a $2500 lawsuit. he then lectured the old man for being a hazard and reduced the judgement by half because it was obviously his own fault, even with me not saying a word. i had already paid $150 so the cop could testify that i had told him not to ticket the old man, but the cop was not allowed to speak either.

i'm not sure where the idea of "despising" anything comes in. i don't swear because christ and james have said not to:

Mat 5:37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jas 5:12  But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

in addition, integrity requires me to adhere to a single standard of truth, and to agree to a truth-taking oath implies that there are some times or places where i take truth more seriously than others. that's not the case-- i don't lie at all, anywhere, oath or not.

"despising" anything isn't something i've ever said-- i simply don't participate in activities that violate my religion. oath taking ceremonies in a court of law violate what i conisder to be the commands of god.

if it costs me money to choose to follow god instead of a california judge, i'll take god and pay the money.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2010, 03:10:06 AM »
duplicate
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 04:09:17 AM by kevin »
"You can learn some things by trial and error. I strongly advise against learning to fly by trial and error. While the trials are free, the errors can be costly, painful, crippling or fatal. "

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2010, 03:16:34 AM »
forgive my stupidity... but what's the hat thing?  you said you don't remove your hat.  do quakers wear special hats?

i wear a hat most all the time. i take it off when i pray, or when somebody else prays. i don't take it off for human beings, because then i have nothing left to offer god that sets him apart. it's a minor point, but an issue of integrity, which means it's non-negotiable

when somebody demands that people take off their hats or perform some other ritual form of respect, it's usually a sign that something is wrong in the system.

remember william tell? he was jailed because he wouldn't bow down to the local government official's hat on a pole.

quakers originally took this very seriously, but modern quakers don't. i didn't either, until i was in court in front of a judge who behaved exactly as judges did in the 17th century, when quakers refused to perform oaths.

that day i asked myself, what else hasn't changed in 350 years? and i don't take off my hat anymore.

besides, i follow the plain witness, which means i dress more or less like the amish every day of my life. it's a religious uniform, and the hat is part of the deal
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2010, 03:23:34 AM »
besides, i follow the plain witness, which means i dress more or less like the amish every day of my life. it's a religious uniform, and the hat is part of the deal

thank you for the answer.  so you do wear a "special" hat... but its not a quaker hat?  (again, excuse my stupidity on this matter)  but what is the hat for? why?
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2010, 03:24:53 AM »
Hmmm.. about five years back, I was on jury duty and  there were a couple people outside the courthouse pressing pamphlets on us as we went in. They were about our rights to not take an oath. I didn't read it more than a glance, when the judge addressed all of the jurors by saying that the pamphlets we had received were  in error and to disregard them. I didn't look into it further as the bailiff collected our pamphlets, and I forgot about it until now. I wonder if they were Quaker related handbills.

the bailiff collected your pamphlets? that's a red flag. rounding up the evidence, so to speak.

you are not required to swear an oath in a court of law. you are required not to lie. you are guilty of perjury whether you swear or not, if you lie to the court.

the presidential oath of office has an exception for quakers who will not "swear," but who will "affirm." it's in the constitution for that ceremony.

they were probably quakers, or maybe radical mennonnites. was this in alaska?

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Offline leese

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2010, 03:31:31 AM »
Hmmm.. about five years back, I was on jury duty and  there were a couple people outside the courthouse pressing pamphlets on us as we went in. They were about our rights to not take an oath. I didn't read it more than a glance, when the judge addressed all of the jurors by saying that the pamphlets we had received were  in error and to disregard them. I didn't look into it further as the bailiff collected our pamphlets, and I forgot about it until now. I wonder if they were Quaker related handbills.

the bailiff collected your pamphlets? that's a red flag. rounding up the evidence, so to speak.

you are not required to swear an oath in a court of law. you are required not to lie. you are guilty of perjury whether you swear or not, if you lie to the court.

the presidential oath of office has an exception for quakers who will not "swear," but who will "affirm." it's in the constitution for that ceremony.

they were probably quakers, or maybe radical mennonnites. was this in alaska?


My mind was on other things and it wasn't an issue for me; so not flags were raised. Yes, in Homer, Alaska.  Very Small town with quite an interesting diverse population.

That dispensation should be allowed for anyone adverse to taking an oath or swearing. Not just for religious reasons.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2010, 03:48:57 AM »
I did the "affirm" thingy at a hearing one time years ago. No body had a problem with it. Like Kevin's experience it was about an automobile accident.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2010, 12:18:36 PM »
I won't swear an oath because it is an unneccessary piece of bulls**t. If people don't believe what I say, why should they believe my oath?

God has nothing to do with it.

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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2010, 12:45:48 PM »
I won't swear an oath

I affirmed an oath of allegiance to your silly queen. I was willing to swear on a bible but I told the person it had no meaning to me. She, the military lady not the queen, accepted that.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2010, 12:57:50 PM »
I won't swear an oath because it is an unneccessary piece of bulls**t. If people don't believe what I say, why should they believe my oath?

God has nothing to do with it.


What is this that i changed to purple.  One part of the Quaker belief is that what you said there is an oath, not in the technical sense, but that it is unnecessary for plain speech.  You say it because God has nothing to do with it for you, we don't because God has everything to do with it for us.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2010, 12:03:48 AM »
besides, i follow the plain witness, which means i dress more or less like the amish every day of my life. it's a religious uniform, and the hat is part of the deal

Kevin,

What do you think about the Mormon's "Magic" underwear? I don't mean this as an insult, but why don't the Quakers have magic underwear too? (I'm asking for reasons against this belief).
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2010, 03:28:08 AM »
I won't swear an oath because it is an unneccessary piece of bulls**t. If people don't believe what I say, why should they believe my oath?

God has nothing to do with it.


that is exactly right. someone who is already planning to lie to a court isn't likely to be worried by lying about the lie.
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2010, 04:08:30 AM »
besides, i follow the plain witness, which means i dress more or less like the amish every day of my life. it's a religious uniform, and the hat is part of the deal


thank you for the answer.  so you do wear a "special" hat... but its not a quaker hat?  (again, excuse my stupidity on this matter)  but what is the hat for? why?





those of us who dress plain wear special hats. most of us do NOT dress plain. it's a matter of being personally led

but there's nothing in the hat that means it has to stay stuck to your head. it's taking it off for what are considered inappropriate reasons that's the problem.

looking different is also a form of self-protection. if i walk into court wearing a plain broadbrim hat, the judge understands what he's dealing with (in this area). if i walked in with a baseball cap on, he might not catch on if i kept it on my head
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2010, 04:12:54 AM »
besides, i follow the plain witness, which means i dress more or less like the amish every day of my life. it's a religious uniform, and the hat is part of the deal

Kevin,

What do you think about the Mormon's "Magic" underwear? I don't mean this as an insult, but why don't the Quakers have magic underwear too? (I'm asking for reasons against this belief).

they won't show me their underwear, and i'm not sure why they wear it. they ALWAYS wear something, because they won't go naked, so they keep one arm out of the shower with a shirt hanging on it, i'm told. but i don't know

there's nothing magic in the clothing i wear. it's just clothing, but a specifically uniform kind
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Re: quakers, hat honor, titles, and oaths
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2010, 04:28:33 AM »

thank you for the answer.  so you do wear a "special" hat... but its not a quaker hat?  (again, excuse my stupidity on this matter)  but what is the hat for? why?

now i see what you mean. i don't think about my clothing much, and i misunderstood

the "plain witness" is a style of living which in the amish and mennonites often means a comprehensive non-electric culture, but among quakers specifically means just a style of clothing.

men wear trousers, plain collarless shirts, suspenders, and broadbrimmed straw or felt hats. women wearlong dresses, often long sleeved, with some versionof a head covering-- either a simple white prayer cap, or a cap underneath a bonnet. clothing is uniform and differences are minor to outsiders.

the purpose is to identify oneself as a participant in a particular form of christian lifestyle, one in which some measure of detachment from the dominant culture is typical, and in which the missing cultural components are supplied more or less completely within the community, if at all possible. extreme plain living is non-electric, non-motorized agriculture, using only animal traction for farming or transportation. some plain people live within the dominant culture and are part of it in most every way except for the dress. computer programmers or teachers

the dress identifies us to each other, helps us to maintain a degree of separated life, and keeps us out of trouble because we are always readily identifiable, even at times and in places where we might not want to be identified. we can't hide, so we can't sneak into the titty bars for a quick drink
"You can learn some things by trial and error. I strongly advise against learning to fly by trial and error. While the trials are free, the errors can be costly, painful, crippling or fatal. "

 

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