Letters - 24 August 2018

From peace and taxes to planning for humanity

Peace and taxes

I would like to add something to the news report (27 July) about a new peace and disarmament minister. I think Friends might have got the wrong impression.

Fabian Hamilton MP did, indeed, launch the report at the beginning of July, with its author, Tim Street, and others, Diana Francis, Edward Canfor-Dumas and Ryvka Barnard. However, the report was instigated by the Quaker-founded organisation Conscience – Taxes for Peace Not War.

Conscience believes that a minister/ministry for peace is badly needed and just the place to put taxes that would otherwise be used for war. It is, therefore, contiguous with Conscience’s aims to win the right for conscientious objectors to have the part of their taxes that is allocated for the military redirected to a peace fund.

Conscience used crowdfunding to commission a peace researcher to assess the opportunities and pitfalls such a position in government could bring. The report can be downloaded from the Conscience website.

The Labour Party will be publishing its own ‘Peace Doctrine’. Conscience executive and staff look forward to reading it.

Robin Brookes

Welcome hospitality

Whilst in absolute agreement with the sentiments expressed about Donald Trump and his policies (10 August), I have been surprised at the Quaker involvement in the protests against his recent visit to the UK.

Is it really the Quaker way to deny hospitality to those of whom we disapprove? Hospitality is key to much successful behind-the-scenes Quaker peacemaking at the UN, and surely the way Jesus would have approached those who behaved badly.

Could not a visit by someone distasteful be used to show them how we do things differently here? Could we, perhaps, demonstrate how we still welcome them as a child of God despite our horror at what they are doing?

This approach is more likely to be effective than simply refusing hospitality.

Angela Ormrod

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