As a Friend (Quaker), I believe in “that of God in Everyone”. As a Friend, I further believe and try to embody in my life the testimonies of Peace, Simplicity, Unity, Community, Integrity, and Equality. As a Friend, I appreciate and try to practice consensus governance that protects and considers the concerns of each and every individual.
Juliet Nail has been a Quaker for nearly 30 years and a libertarian for the last 7 years. A cradle Catholic, she discovered Quakerism as a very young woman and has happily attended ever since. When she began voting in California as a young adult, she did not know people were supposed to pick a political team but often found herself voting with the Peace and Freedom party and/ or the libertarians but never thought much of it. In looking for a peace candidate in 2012, she discovered libertarianism and quickly became quite active in liberty circles. It did not take long to see the consistency in a commitment to peace and equality in both realms. Juliet gardens and lives with her family in Minnesota. She is a member of Minneapolis Friends Meeting.
At Quaker Libertarians, we appreciate the call by Pamela Haines in a recent “QuakerSpeak” video to ask big questions about our economic system, consider our Quaker testimonies, and define what a “mature economy” might look like. Quakers ought to challenge the ways in which our government engages in death and destruction at home and abroad on the one hand and to resist reliance upon legislation rather than moral persuasion on the other. We ought to seek ways to enliven and ennoble two-sided political debates by offering a counter narrative to the endless struggle for political dominance and the imposition of one side’s view upon the other’s. To do so is to recognize that if we truly seek peace, we cannot do so by the sword – even, and perhaps especially, the sword of our own democratic governments.
Our basic principles inform our approach to these queries. We observe in society that:
- the primary means of government action are force and plunder;
- war is the health of the state; and
- class conflict between the ruling and the ruled undermines genuine community.
We choose, therefore, to work toward a different way - supporting one another in seeking and cultivating:
- voluntary exchange;
- peaceful resolution to conflict;
- broad parameters for moral decision-making; and
- healthy communities of faith and practice.
In other words, to the extent that Quakers participate and affirm coercion measures to control the economic behavior of others we participate in and affirm economic, political, and moral immaturity. This violates our testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship – and should violate our consciences. In contrast, we see a mature economy as one not based on violence. Part of what Quakers are called to do, then, is witness to that hoped-for reality.
Unfortunately, many Friends (and many others) see use of state coercion as a valid (even morally laudable) means of achieving their moral ends. Sadly, by yielding to the temptation to employ the violent means of the state to impose a moral vision, they also yield their very morality. The demonization of free markets and the valorization of state control makes coercion and violence palpable to those who otherwise claim the mantle of peacemaking. However noble our cause, though, if we use the state to achieve our ends we are employing the means of dominance and coercion, not relationality, not peace, not equality, and not love.
You can read more of the Quaker Libertarian take on Quakers and economics in our review of the book Quakernomics. You can also learn more about our overall vision and join the conversation by visiting our website, https://quakerlibertarians.weebly.com/, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/QuakerLibertarians and Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/QuakerLiberty.
This message was originally delivered by Jared Warner at Willow Creek Friends Church on February 17, 2019. A video of the message is included below.
Luke 6:17–26 (ESV)
Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude
17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
Jesus Pronounces Woes
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
There is something about the lifestyle of Jesus that always seems to surprise me. When we consider his life, we often think that his audience was always Jewish. This is common since he did speak in the lands of Israel. But in this passage, we get a glimpse into something more. People from all over Judea and Jerusalem and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon came to listen to him. This struck me this week as I was contemplating this passage, so I got out a map. The lands of Tyre and Sidon are north west of Israel. Tyre was an ancient Phoenician city which is now located in Lebanon. Sidon is further north along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, also in Lebanon. These cities currently are currently the third and fourth largest cities in Lebanon. Israel has a long history with the area of Lebanon. At times they were allies and at other times enemies. And between these two cities was Zarephath the city Elijah went during the great famine and was fed by the widow. These were not Jewish people they were of Phoenician ancestry, they were Gentiles, but they were Gentiles whose history had witnessed the power of the God of Israel. Jesus is attracting a following of people that stretches throughout Israel and out into neighboring provinces. Which should remind us that the gospel is not confined to nations of men, that God’s grace and love is for all people.
This message was originally delivered by Jared Warner at Willow Creek Friends Church on February 24, 2019. A video of the message is included below.
Luke 6:27–38 (ESV)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
When we approach scripture, it is important to remember that each of us bring something with us. We each have lenses or some sort of perspective that we interpreted life through. Although we attempt to read scripture for what it is, we often find our perspective coming through. There are people that believe that the God of the Old Testament and that of the New are different, this difference is largely perspective, because everything taught in the New Testament is found in the Old. Jesus did not teach anything new, even though he said he is giving his disciples a new commandment near the end of his ministry, that new commandment was not necessarily new, but was new to their thinking.
I will continue to mention we each read our own lives into scripture, because it is true. We cannot help it, because we live and experience life. Each of our life experiences give us a perspective that is different. When I read a passage, different words attract my attention than the words that attract yours. Those words are what I meditate on, those are the ones that water and feed my soul, but for you they might carry no meaning at all. I will give you an example. My son, James and I, are reading doing a reading plan together. We are using the YouVersion Bible App, which is free if you have a smart phone. In this app you can add friends and read together and share your thoughts. A couple of weeks ago as I was reading a verse just seemed to grip my attention and would not let it go. I found the verse funny and challenging, it has caused me to stop and rethink many things. The verse was Matthew 15:16, “’Are you still so dull?’ Jesus asked them.”
I told you that Jesus had a sense of humor. I think Jesus had an amazing grasp of sarcasm. He basically called his disciples stupid and guess what I am one of those disciples. Those words that were written are just as much for me as they were for the disciples that walked with Jesus. But why would he call his disciples dull? Because, they like each of us look at scripture from their perspective and were not willing to accept an alternative interpretation. They thought they were right and everyone else was wrong. And the problem with this way of thinking is we will often miss the point.
This message was shared at Richmond First Friends on March 10, 2019.
I’d like to share some thoughts about cheap beer. Bud Dry, to be specific.
Now, to be fair I don’t think I can be called to task for encouraging you to drink this particular brand, because as you may know its production was discontinued in 2010. So, today you can’t even try Bud Dry if you wanted to.
My sermon preparation research might look a bit different than some others, but you’ll be pleased to know I stumbled upon a 1989 Wall Street Journal article that asked if the flood of dry beers entering the market was just a marketing fad, or if they had lasting power. 30 years later, I think we have our answer.
There’s probably a reason that today we’re more likely to remember the advertising slogan of the Bud Dry than its light lager flavor or Anheuser-Busch's then-innovative “DryBrew” process.
The reason I bring up this brief episode in American beer sales is my fascination that Anheuser-Busch actually built a successful advertising campaign around convincing consumers to not overthink choosing to drink their terrible product.
“Just Do It,” as another company might suggest.
So, what are we to make of this slogan, “Why ask why?”
[C]ollective moral disengagement is not simply the aggregation of the moral exonerations of its individual members operating in social detachment. It is an emergent group-level property arising from the interactive, coordinative, and synergistic group dynamics (White, Bandura, & Bero, 2009, p. 43)
Albert Bandura is a psychologist well known for his work on the concept of moral disengagement. Bandura’s research demonstrates the link between the psychological ability to disengage from one’s moral center and the subsequent ability to engage in morally reprehensible action. His work has implications for personal behavior but also behavior at a group level, and there is a relationship between the two in that social pressures can amplify or undermine one’s decision to apply or ignore moral principles.
The desire to maintain a self-perception of righteousness, however, exists either way. There are four primary ways by which one can distance oneself from personal responsibility for one’s actions: “by reconstruing the conduct, obscuring personal causal agency, misrepresenting or disregarding the injurious consequences of one's actions, and vilifying the recipients of maltreatment by blaming and devaluating them” (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996, p. 364).
Bandura’s work helps explain why we can end up hurting one another and feel justified in doing so. It also helps explain the myriad ways in which we find our moral out: It’s for their own good, they brought it upon themselves, it wasn’t really my decision, it’s just not that big of a deal, it could have been much worse, etc.
But what could any of this have to do with Friends? In a fascinating paragraph in Bandura et al.’s 1996 article, “Mechanisms of moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency,” the authors write:
The exercise of moral control is also weakened when personal agency is obscured by diffusion of responsibility for detrimental conduct… Group decision making is another common practice, one that enables otherwise considerate people to behave inhumanely. When everyone is responsible, no one really feels responsible. Group action is still another expedient for weakening moral control. Any harm done by a group can always be attributed largely to the behavior of others. People behave more cruelly under group responsibility than when they hold themselves personally accountable for their actions (p. 365).
This is an aspect of group discernment and consensus decision making rarely discussed among Quakers. Likely this is because the presumption is that in worshipful business meetings decision making is Spirit-led. It is a noble ideal and one that I have seen in action. And yet, it is also a dynamic that can be subject to abuse and as such ought to prompt some self-examination and possibly some intentional safeguards into meeting processes. Particularly considering the divisive schisms among Yearly Meetings in the U.S. in recent years, it may be worth asking whether group decision making serves as an opportunity to invite Divine guidance or rather to facilitate the othering, self-righteousness, euphemistic language (“reconfiguration” instead of “split”), attribution of blame, denial of consequences, and dehumanization characteristic of moral disengagement. Historically, Bandura's work on dehumanizing and ethical self-justification may also help shed light on Friends' horrendous treatment of Native Americans.
As Bandura et al. (1996) state:
Over the years, much reprehensible and destructive conduct has been perpetrated by ordinary, otherwise considerate people in the name of religious principles, righteous ideologies, nationalistic imperatives, and ruthless social policies. There is much to be gained from understanding how the facility for moral disengagement develops and how institutional justificatory strategies are used to enlist people for exploitive and destructive purposes (p. 372).
If there is any sense in which the latter elements are present, in what ways are Friends prepared to deal with the negative aspects of group psychology that enable us to justify the harm we inflict on our fellow Friends? Can the very language of our tradition serve to cloak our psychological naivete and disguise our least holy actions in the guise of spiritual discernment?
Our health and vitality may just be worth the risk of asking such difficult questions.
Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (1996). Mechanisms of moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(2), 364–374. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1684
White, J., Bandura, A., & Bero, L. A. (2009). Moral disengagement in the corporate world. Accountability in Research, 16(1), 41–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/08989620802689847
If you are a libertarian, or if you are a Quaker, or even worse, a libertarian and a Quaker, it can certainly be easy to succumb to either despair over the state of the world and its lack of alignment with the ideological values you hold most dearly, or continual and shrill critique of society from a position of moral superiority. Is there another way to live into the world?
Monica Coleman’s Making a Way Out of No Way offers a vision for a “postmodern womanist theology.” In it, she explains that “womanist theology is a response to sexism in black theology and racism in feminist theology” (p. 6). She goes on to state that “postmodern womanist theology takes salvation away from the exclusive domain of Jesus, Christianity, and institutions” and that salvation is not an individual process directed toward an afterlife but is rather a communal activity in the here and now – “the cooperative working together of the divine and creation” (p. 170).
While in no way denying the specificity that her message is primarily addressed to the experiences of black women (p. 7), Coleman also makes it known that God is “the God of all” (p. 82). It is out of this shared understanding that write.
Part of what I find inspiring in Coleman’s theological vision – and she is clear that we are all theologians (p. 2) – is that while we are called to acknowledge and work against oppression and injustice, our primary function as humans is not critique or despair. Instead, the focus is on building communities of hope that can radiate outward. “We teach and heal so that our communities might be examples for the wider world,” she says. “We want our actions to creatively transform the world outside of our own local contexts” (p. 169).
“Creative transformation involves God’s presentation of unforeseen possibilities; human agency; a telos of justice, survival, and quality of life; and a challenge to the existing order” (p. 93).
While not operating out of an explicitly theological framework, echoes of a similar inspirational and proactive view can be found among some libertarian thinkers. Two of the authors that most clearly embody this ideal to me are Murray Rothbard and Jeffrey Tucker.
“The case for libertarian optimism can be made in a series of what might be called concentric circles, beginning with the broadest and longest-run considerations and moving to the sharpest focus on short-run trends,” writes Rothbard. “In the broadest and longest-run sense, libertarianism will win eventually because it and only it is compatible with the nature of man and of the world. Only liberty can achieve man’s prosperity, fulfillment, and happiness. In short, libertarianism will win because it is true, because it is the correct policy for mankind, and truth will eventually win out.”
In “How to find joy in an unfree world,” Tucker explains, “My whole experience suggests that personal inspiration is the ingredient lacking in the current generation of people who have come to love liberty. They have access to texts, knowledge, and theory as never before in human history. What they lack is a method for using what they know and the personal drive to do so. People are too quick to blame outside forces for failure without realizing that outside forces conspiring against progress are part of the structure of all environments in all times and places… brush away despair and unlock the inner drive to make a difference. Then join me in finding the joys of life and working to make life more joyful for others.”
Of course, it is not just certain libertarian writers who hold this view of life. In perhaps one of George Fox’s most famous quotes from his Journal, he shares that “I also saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings.”
And how does Fox instruct us to live out our lives? In despair or in hope and joy?
“And this is the word of the Lord God to you all, and a charge to you all in the presence of the living God: be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”
None of this means there isn’t work to do. The task before all of us is great. But it need not be soul-crushing, and we need not be defeatist. In the face of historical and ongoing injustices, violence, and despair, how will you invite others into the joyful work of building communities of hope that have the power to creatively transform the world?
Since my initial post on the possibility of using John Caputo’s weak theology as a way to approach political understanding, I continue to wrestle with the inherent tension between postmodern philosophy and theology on the one hand, and modern political (and denominational) structures. One lifts up the importance of decentralization and destabilization of existing powers and assumptions, of contextuality, and of the minor stories that have always been at work amidst the major narrative. The other is all about centralization of power, control of the narrative, and perpetuation of the existing order.
As I see it, Quakers at their best have been about the work of the former for many years. And postmodernity offers a complementary philosophical and theological lens to Quaker faith and practice, even as it challenges our tradition to the extent that it makes universal claims, builds up its own dominant structures and narratives, and engages in oppression of others in the name of a greater good. I think the same could be said of Christians and libertarians more broadly.
To the extent that we yield to the dominant culture’s focus on the modern structure of the state as the means by which we seek to exert moral influence upon that culture we cheapen our witness and regress from challenging the existing power structures to implicitly and explicitly endorsing and strengthening its prominence and veneration. In so doing we grant the state a salvific power that is corrosive to a core faith and belief which sees that power both beyond us and acting through us in our voluntary response to God’s invitation.
Part of the shift to a politics of weakness comes in making a deliberative choice in how one as a Christian reads Scripture and how we understand the message of Jesus. By no means a libertarian, John Dominic Crossan does offer consistent challenge to the dominance of Empire and suggests the helpful concept of reading all of Scripture through the lens of the nonviolent Jesus. This is a choice. As a recent discussion on the Christian Anarchists page demonstrates, the idea of a Jesus that rejects the sword is far from universally accepted. But once you adopt this position, it is necessary to acknowledge that all laws are backed by the power of the sword. To the extent that we make use of that power we step away from the witness to peace and nonviolence.
This is not to say that one cannot make a utilitarian argument that such tradeoffs are necessary and practical accommodations to the human condition and political realism. In so doing, however, one must by necessity yield claims to pacifism and enter into a political power struggle with all of the other competing interests that seek to control and make use of the authority and power of the state for their ends.
In contrast, a politics of weakness ought instead be one that seeks opportunities to reduce the scope of violence and coercion through political control. To, for instance, challenge the ways in which our government engages in death and destruction at home and abroad on the one hand and to resist the temptation to rely on legislation rather than moral persuasion on the other. To seek ways to enliven and ennoble two-sided political debates by offering a counter narrative to the endless struggle for political dominance and the imposition of one side’s view upon the other’s. It is to recognize that if we truly seek peace, we cannot do so by the sword. This is a political strategy onto which I can sign as a Quaker Libertarian, but it is not one that is part of the dominant political narrative – even among Quaker organizations.
This is the opportunity before us – to work toward creating space whereby new conversations and new voices (even if they have been present for many years) can be injected more fully into the larger political conversation. To be genuine peacemakers engaged in genuine peacebuilding using peaceful means. To be honest about who we are, where we come from, what it is we are about, and where we fail and fall short of the ideals we claim to uphold. I cannot imagine a more worthwhile endeavor.
“The law makes righteousness… more rather than less difficult,” writes Catholic theologian James Alison in his book, The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes (p. 130).
Alison is a prolific writer and speaker whose work revolves around the project of reconciling orthodox Catholicism with some decidedly non-orthodox teachings such as nonviolent atonement and homosexuality, primarily rooted in his interpretation of René Girard’s theory of mimetic desire. In The Joy of Being Wrong, his focus is on reinterpreting the concept of original sin as connected to this idea of that humans “desire according to the desire of the other” (p. 9). To illustrate this, he uses the example of Tarzan not finding Jane interesting until a visiting Hollywood director fancies her. Alison says that this “triangular” or “imitative” desire is at the root of much of our conflict with one another. In other words, I want what you want precisely because you want it. Cain’s murder of Abel is seen as the first instance of such conflict leading to bloodshed, but by no means the last.
While you may or may not agree with his defense of traditional doctrines of original sin, the trinity, etc., you can glean some interesting insights either way. His arguments regarding the nature of sin in relationship to religious law, for instance, are well worth consideration. Jesus’s “fulfilment of the law is a subversion from within of the current understanding of the law,” he says, “and was rightly seen as subversive by those who regarded themselves as the guardians of the law” (p. 122). This was the basis of the tension between Jesus and the Pharisees. He goes on to say that “being wrong can be forgiven: it is insisting on being right that confirms our being bound in original murderous sin” (p. 125).
Now of course Alison wholly restricts his reflections on the law and sin to Mosaic law. But might it be worth considering whether this same logic is applicable to the ways in which we either use our religious beliefs to exclude others or make use of the legal structure of the state to impose our moral vision? If the two primary drivers for appeal to the state for intervention in the lives of others are either religious zeal (even in its secular form) to protect or control the actions of others, or financial gain, you have your traditional alliance of Baptists and Bootleggers. Combine this with those who seek to gain or maintain power in political office and you have what could very well be described as an unholy triangular relationship of desire.
Read this passage from Alison on the law and reflect on their implications both within religious contexts but also beyond them to how we make use of the legal power of the government:
In fact, not only does the law permit people to become just, but it locks them further into wrath, which is the judgmental attitude of those who think they have a superior knowledge, leading them to involvement in persecution and death… So the Johannine Pharisees are driven deeper into blindness by their pretensions of sight. And of course,…the paradigm for the law being wrong is the death of Christ (p. 129).
Where have we been driven deeper into blindness by our pretensions to sight – either through our churches or through our government? Where have our judgmental attitudes and presumed superior knowledge led us to involve ourselves in persecution and death through participation in the state’s use of coercion and violence to achieve its ends – and ours? Forgive us our desires that lead us to such sinful ends. Let us not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
The following message was delivered by Matt Hisrich at Richmond First Friends on May 28, 2017.
John 18: 15-18, 25-27
15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.
Earlham School of Religion Professor of Old Testament Studies Nancy Bowen is known to say that no theological argument can be resolved by appeal to the Bible.
I tend to agree – because of the contextual nature of the text, the differing styles and approaches of the various books, and the interpretative lenses that we and others apply and have applied to that text it’s essentially impossible to simply say, “The Bible says this” and have it be the end of any conversation.
Now, that might be disconcerting to some, but I think it can be enriching if we allow it to be – to open up dialogue and – in good Quaker fashion – to ask what it is that the text is calling to or asking of that of God within us.
Now, I didn’t always view the Bible this way, and I certainly didn’t always view theology this way. In fact, when I first came to ESR my intent really was to figure out the true Quaker theology so that I could then articulate it to myself and others.
Of course, I have come to realize that Quakers definitely can’t agree on a single theological claim and the reality is that the vast majority of the world simply wouldn’t care even if we were able to.
Part of my education at ESR and among Friends congregations was to help me realize the futility of this quest, and to approach both the Bible and theology with the greater humility it really deserves.
So, I have come to see theology in more fluid terms that can’t be so easily nailed down.
The poet David Whyte gives a powerful illustration of this in his book The Heart Aroused. He tells the story of how one day in 1799 a young Samuel Taylor Coleridge “gazed out of his carriage window and saw in the distance an immense flock of starlings sweep across the sky.”
The birds formed a cohesive whole composed of thousands of living, moving parts, and as a collective entity they shifted and morphed, expanded and contracted in the sky before him. The vision of these birds made an impression on him that lasted his entire life.
If we’re willing to understand theology in this way we can, as Whyte suggests, “stop trying to create permanent order or throw up our hands at the seemingly permanent chaos and instead start paying attention to the swirling patterns rising and disappearing before our eyes.”
I think it’s a beautiful idea, and it’s one that helps me live into a place of having more questions coming out of seminary than I had going in. To react hopefully with more generosity and less kneejerk judgment of views that differ from my own.
I think it’s also a vision suited to our postmodern times – where institutions and authorities face ever more scrutiny and bold faith claims meet with skepticism or derision.
Here’s where things get tricky for me, though.
Quaker and Libertarian