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Manasquan Minutes

 

May 12, 2018 Against Gun Violence

   

We, the members of Manasquan Quaker Meeting, are saddened by the loss of so many lives each year in our country through mass shootings, suicides, spousal abuse, and accidents - more than 33,000 each year.

These shootings have become all too commonplace in our nation. In addition to feeling compassion for the suffering of the shooting victims and their families, we are committed as members of the Quaker faith to the practice and promotion of nonviolence. We believe that it is the right of all human beings to be free from the threat of gun violence. Our right to live in a society free from this violence has greater moral weight than any right to possess weapons capable of such destruction.

Thus, we urge our elected representatives to support sensible gun control measures, including:

- a total ban on the sale and possession of military-style automatic weapons, designed solely to kill human beings and on high-capacity magazines and bump stocks;

- comprehensive background checks for all who purchase firearms, whether in a gun store or at a gun show, with reasonable restrictions on access to weapons for those with diagnosed mental illness or with a history of violence, including domestic violence;

- a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms;

- raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.

We also encourage the prevention of gun violence before it happens through community prevention programs that help identify the warning signs and offer mindful intervention.

 

2007 Against the Death Penatly

 

The Manasquan Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends reaffirms its stand along with other people of faith in New Jersey and the United States in calling for an end to the death penalty. The death penalty teaches that the solution to violence is more violence, and that the way to put an end to killing is through more killing. Our belief that there is God in every person unites us in upholding the fundamental value of all human beings and their lifelong potential for spiritual redemption and reconciliation. Criminal justice procedures are inconsistent with the teachings of Christ and weighted against the poor, the powerless, members of minority groups and persons with developmental disabilities. Errors can lead to the punishment and execution of innocent or mentally incompetent people. The death penalty is also costly and unproven as a deterrent. After finding the death penalty indecent and a poor response to crime, the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission recently recommended its abolition. We ask New Jersey state officials and the governments of other states to enact legislation ending the death penalty permanently, and to declare an immediate halt to executions pending this legislative action.

 

November 16, 2008 Against Sexual Discrimination

   

We, the members of Manasquan Monthly Meeting, present this minute on the issue of discrimination within the Friends United Meeting (FUM).

Our commandment from God is to love God and to love one another, a personal policy that discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation ignores the Light of God found equally within all loving persons and their relationships.

Manasquan Meeting is troubled by the personnel policy of FUM. We find it to be contrary to Friend's testimony as to that of God in every person.

Our commitment to Quaker values of integrity and equality leads us to encourage continued and prayerful dialog between New York Yearly Meeting and FUM.

 

 
 

June 14, 2009 Against Torture

   

Manasquan Friends Meeting is saddened by the need to draft a minute condemning torture by the U.S. government. We as Friends reaffirm our belief of that of God in everyone and abhor the torture and abuse of any people, for any reason and in any place. We join other Meetings in support for Friends’ active witness in the effort to end the use of torture.

We believe torture can never be justified as a means of control or of extracting information from those deemed enemies. Torture demeans the humanity of the torturer, the tortured and all the others who are associated, directly or indirectly.  It degrades the moral authority of governments that pursue it.

Our government agencies and military must not train, must not order, and must not allow anyone to inflict pain or humiliation on any prisoner.

The Quaker Initiative to End Torture (QUIT) is a step toward the end of torture as policy.  Manasquan Meeting will hold this Initiative in the Light.

 
 

February 19, 2012 Against Slavery and Racial Discrimnation

   

We, the Manasquan Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, acknowledge and deeply regret any Quaker participation in the terrible enslavement of African people and the destructive effects that those acts have had on succeeding generations of Afro-Descendants* up until the present day.

Slavery is an outrage before God and a crime against humanity. We are sincerely sorry for the suffering caused by Quaker ownership of enslaved people. We mourn the fact that Friends in New York and New Jersey participated in or benefited from slavery, including trafficking in human beings from Africa, capitalizing on the products of their labor and suffering, owning enslaved people, and being enriched by an economy based on chattel slavery.

In addition, we abhor the decades of terror and legalized racial segregation that followed the legal abolition of slavery. We acknowledge in sorrow that those of us who enjoy a high standard of living today are still, to some degree, benefitting from the unpaid and underpaid labor of slaves and their descendants. And we deeply regret that even after emancipation, despite our Testimony of Equality, some Friends practiced segregation in our schools and meetinghouses. We regret the effects that those policies had, and continue to have, on all of us.

Over the centuries, some individual Quakers and Quaker groups have joined efforts to end slavery and eradicate racism and have supported African Americans in their struggle for their civil and human rights. We honor the work of these Quakers and are moved to follow their example.

Thus we recommit ourselves to the Testimony of Equality as regards Afro-Descendants. This work will include challenging our own racist assumptions and educating ourselves about the direct relationship between the past enslavement of Afro-Descendants and current conditions in the United States.

This effort will involve us in keen discernment of ways to witness for racial equality today. And it will lead us to strive, with Divine assistance, to discern what we as Quakers are called to do to bring about justice and reconciliation in our beloved community.

 

*Afro-Descendants is a term now officially in use by the United Nations to identify the more than 250 million descendants of enslaved Africans dwelling in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Slavery Diaspora.

 
 

February 19, 2012 Against Marriage Inequality

   

The Manasquan Friends Monthly Meeting presents this statement of support for the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act.

Our Quaker Testimony of Equality calls us to speak out when there is discrimination.  It is unjust of the State of New Jersey to deny marriage rights to its citizens.  The Marriage Equality Act is a means to an end of a discriminatory practice by our state.
We encourage our elected representatives to override the governor’s veto of this bill to insure all New Jersey citizens may live with integrity and equality.

 
 

January 16, 2016 Against Solitary Confinment

   

Solitary confinement is the practice of isolating prisoners in closed cells for 22-24 hours a day, denied any human contact, for months, years, and even decades. It involves extreme sensory deprivation and stark isolation. Those who have survived the experience describe it as being “buried alive.” Unlike temporary emergency separation, solitary confinement has become a control strategy of first resort in many prisons and jails.

Thousands of prisoners have ended up in solitary (also called segregated housing units) because they have untreated mental illnesses, are children who must be separated from adult prisoners, are gay or transgender, are Muslim, are undocumented immigrants, have unpopular political beliefs, or have reported rape or abuse by prison officials.

Criminologists have demonstrated that solitary confinement is not an effective tool for rehabilitating inmates. It contradicts the correctional goals of promoting institutional and public safety by causing mental illness and high rates of suicide; harming prisoners physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; and creating toxic work environments for correctional staff. The use of solitary confinement has been condemned as torture by the UN Convention Against Torture, Human Rights Watch, the American Friends Service Committee, and numerous other groups.

We, the Manasquan Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, are deeply concerned about the cruel and inhumane practice of involuntary long-term isolation that takes place in prisons in New Jersey, throughout the U.S. and the world. As Quakers, we know that there is that of God in every person and that everyone is entitled to be treated with respect and dignity. We consider the imposition of solitary confinement to be immoral and contrary to God’s intention for all human beings.

Therefore, we stand firmly opposed to solitary confinement. We support the work of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Quaker Initiative to End Torture, faith organizations which both identify solitary confinement as torture. As a step toward ending the excessive use of prisoner isolation in prisons and jails throughout New Jersey, we ask our elected officials to support Senate Bill 2588, the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, sponsored by Senators Ray Lesniak and Peter Barnes III.

   
   
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