Christ with a machine gun

Graham Taylor considers an inspiring article by Alfred Salter

Left: Alfred Salter with his daughter Joyce. Right: Alfred Salter with is wife Ada. | Photo: Courtesy of Graham Taylor.

In 1914 Quakers were divided about whether to fight in the war against Germany. In the end about one third of those eligible did so. This may seem surprising to those who value the pacifist tradition for which Quakers are renowned but, compared to all major religious denominations, which were overwhelmingly in favour of the war, the Quaker stand was remarkable. From the start the press dealt in jingoism and hatred, and some of those opposed to war had their houses stoned by so-called patriots, their children hounded out of school, their shops smashed up or their churches set on fire. Those Quakers who opposed the war required physical courage.

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