Here in Indiana we are at a pivotal juncture in our work for peace and social justice. Many years of darkness are now seeing the awakening of interest and concern about social justice and political issues. The attempts to re-start the Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL), and the launch of the Indiana Moral Mondays (IMM) movement last year represent some of our work in responding to this. Other work has involved the Keystone Pledge of Resistance, working with the KI Eco Center, Indianapolis homelessness, and Indy10 (Ferguson/police brutality).
I find the points below from the FWCC Strategic Plan to be interesting in this context.
This work and interest has again revealed the tensions that can occur between spiritual life and social action.
The pivotal moment is related to Indiana Moral Mondays. We are in the middle of the first legislative session since we (IMM) organized. We’ve had a lot of meetings, including meetings and prayers in the Capitol building, work on social media, attended hearings and met with representatives. While we might have had a little influence on a few things, the party in power continues to shut us out of many, many things, like consideration of raising the minimum wage, changes to the Board of Education, etc. Many things clearly at odds with the wishes of most of the people of Indiana.
This is the type of situation Moral Mondays was created to address, using nonviolent civil disobedience as the moral response to these injustices. This past week there have been numerous discussions about this via email with a few of the IMM people concerned about this. I think where we are at is this: having reached the conclusion that civil disobedience is called for, who is going to lead that?
From the discussion:
The only things I know we have not done that may be effective with these folks are:
1 – Get massive support from faith leaders and church goers.
2 – Cite the state constitution and refuse to leave the statehouse until they hear the people. Rev. Barber said this will bring all kinds of media.
A number of us at North Meadow Circle of Friends are involved with IMM. The question is, are we led to take this on? My impression is most of the rest of North Meadow Friends are already uncomfortable with some of this political activity, and I’m pretty sure would not want to be involved in this. This seems to me to be related to the point below about some constituencies we currently serve not being able to embrace the change that is needed. Others with a longer history with the meeting might correct me.
Do we need to reconfigure ourselves into some kind of Quaker action group—not leaving the meeting, but not trying to deal with these issues there?
It is scary to consider where this might lead. That is where our faith comes in. Can we empty our hearts and minds and deeply listen and discern what is really called for at this moment? Can we use this opportunity to be, and help others be, the change we want to see?