There are not a lot of Quakers on the Gulf Coast. It might be because of our gun culture or our overly violent sports metaphors. It may just reflect the way America was settled. William Penn was a Quaker and the founder of Pennsylvania, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, sur de Bienville founded many settlements on the Gulf Coast and was kind of an anti-Quaker. Quakerism started in England and Quakers were early proponents of equality for women, abolition of slavery, and are pacifists. The group in Fairhope Alabama were so strongly anti-war that they emigrated to Costa Rica rather than serve in the Korean war and founded the colony of Monteverde.
I was asked to discuss Obamacare in the time before the Quaker meeting today in Fairhope. The congregation was understandably curious about the law from the standpoint of their personal self-interest. Refreshingly, they were very interested in the impact of the law as it related to social justice and equity. We had a good hour of discussion. I then had the privilege of attending their meeting for worship. The meeting house was built in the early 1900s and was likely in the back of beyond when built. Today, there was someone running an electric saw in the neighborhood for the first 15 minutes. I have to admit, I was expecting the first person moved by the spirit to stand up and say “will some one shut up the d***d saw.” Instead, the speaker reflected on how much he enjoyed the smell of freshly cut wood. Now THAT is a Quaker.
Just to irritate me, my wife forwarded a story from today’s “Daily Caller” which was headlined “Obamacare seeks to segregate patients, doctors by race.” Having read most of the law and spoken on many aspect, I do not remember any passages calling for Colored Waiting Rooms (as was pictured in the article). Still not being able to bring themselves to read the law, the Daily Caller relied on passages from analyses by Families USA and Center for American Progress taken out of context. Where others (including me) see a strong attempt at providing care that is culturally competent and aimed at improving outcomes so that ultimately we will not have a measurable race-based quality chasm, the far right apparently sees (or is asked to see) a plot to create a, well, I can’t even understand where they are trying to take the reader. Does the ACA really include language creating a separate but equal healthcare system for dark-skinned people? You’d think the Supreme Court would have caught it this time.
Both the Friends and the Obama-haters are strong in their conviction. The Friends believe in equality, social justice and peace. The Obama-haters believe in sowing seeds of discord in hopes of disrupting any progress in improving the lives of those less fortunate. One group of Quakers left America rather than be less than true to their beliefs. Here’s hoping the followers of the Daily Caller will do the same.