Somewhere in a recent thread, someone indicated that Quakers
shunned people. I think this to be quite incorrect. The Amish
and some related sects do shun people. It is both a community
and social sanction. Those shunned are expelled from the
community, and socially ostracized -- even minor contact with
them is forbidden. It is often an economic sanction as well.
It is harsh orchestrated action directed by elders of a
community to punish behaviors the community frowns upon. The
whole thing is a quite repugnant aspect of a religion that in
many ways I find quite likable.
I cannot imagine Friends doing this, though they might expel
someone from meeting who was disruptive, if the disruption
was serious and persistent. But I can't imagine them trying
to impose social or economic ostracism outside the confines
of a meeting in an attempt to enforce their disapprobation or
punish someone. It has none of Chrisitan love in it, nor
would it be in any manner consistent with recognizing that of
God in everyone -- even people you don't like.
In my opinion, this is a good example of where this group
lacks both discernment and Quaker presence. If Quakers and
Friends do shun and condone shunning in the sense of the
Amish, then I lose much respect for them as a collective
religious group. If I am right that Quakers do not shun in
the Amish sense, then the lack of Friends presence has
allowed a very nasty practice to remain as a unchallenged
notion of how Quakers behave and who they are.
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