AN UNGODLY SILENCE
I sent the email below to Alice, who was also "raised Quaker." I raise the subject of Quakers, because quite literally, while growing up, school and Quaker Meeting were the only times that we kids ever left the house. There were no movies, no restaurants, no miniature golf, no bowling, no visiting, no birthday parties, and no friends were allowed to come over because the great one, the anthropologist, needed to sit in a chair and read and drink beer. Which sums up absolutely everything he did, other than criticize and be cruel to his wife and children at all times. So Quaker Meeting and the members should have played an important role in my childhood.
What are my memories of Quaker Meeting? Well, I guess this email about sums it up. There will be more to follow at a later date. There are, of course, reasons people choose to join certain religions. And I do mean the word choose here, because neither of my parents came from a Quaker background. They chose to join the Lancaster Friends Meeting. People can hide in the Quaker religion.
"I dont like Quakers. Yes, they truly are silent. They go to Meeting and sit for an hour of silence occasionally broken by someone rationally discussing the horrors of war and our need for peace, and leave feeling much better about themselves. They dont laugh. There are no pictures on the walls. There is no music. But they are smarter than most religions (in one of the recent minutes of the Lancaster Monthly meeting they quoted some poll that said next to Jews, Quakers have the highest education level of any religion). And, of course, they are special. They dont say Sunday God, no it is First Day. My mother used to occasionally throw out a thee or a thou and I would just stare at her. People can hide in the Quaker religion. There is no warmth or feeling or compassion or joy. They sit there in silence thinking they are better than everyone else."