Presiding Clerk of Australian Quakers
‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Mark 12:31).
Most Quakers envisage a world in which ‘that of God’ in each of us enables us to recognize and acknowledge ‘that of God’ in our neighbour; a world in which we strive to put into practice our testimonies of Peace, Integrity, Equality, Simplicity, Community and Earthcare.
As well as trying to live by these guiding principles in our personal lives, Quakers, along with many people of goodwill, are committed to changing society, morally and politically, to provide equal opportunity, equal access to health and education, and equal right for all to enjoy a safe, wholesome and fulfilling life.
When we regard all people as equal in the sight of God we cannot exploit or humiliate them. For this reason Quakers everywhere work to make their society more equal, and to make relationships between countries fairer. A good society is one in which people enjoy seeing other people thrive.
In the 19th century Quakers were very active in the anti-slavery movement. Today global slavery and human trafficking are less conspicuous but more widespread globally, and continue to be an appalling abuse of human rights and equality.
Many Quakers try to reduce their participation in human exploitation by purchasing Fair Trade products, but what else can we do, especially for those who are exploited here in Australia? We can also raise public awareness, support organizations that are active in this area, including the Australian Freedom Network, and ‘speak truth to power’.