previous page: 5.1 Christianity
page up: The Religious Society of Friends FAQ
next page: 5.3 Marriage

5.2 Authority


This article is from the The Religious Society of Friends FAQ, by Marc Mengel mengel.nospam@users.sourceforge.net with numerous contributions by others.

5.2 Authority

Friends generally have held that people are people; no one is
more "holy" than anyone else, (except *maybe* Christ,
(See "Christianity")) and that everyone has equal access to the
part of God in all of us. Thus Friends have traditionally
refused to use honorifics like "Your Honor," "Your Eminence,"

The only authority a Meeting has is that its members all agree that
its actions are in keeping with that of God of each of its members.
This is of course the Highest Form of authority to a Friend.

These beliefs about authority have a lot to do with Friends'
beliefs about Marriage, War, etc. (below) and the reason
Friends do not have "priests" that perform blessings,
marriages, etc.

Friends have also traditionally refused to use terms of royalty,
or of office, like "Your Highness" or "Your Honor". As
Barclay writes (from Dean Freiday's edition, on p. 391):

2. It is not lawful for Christians to kneel before or
prostrate themselves to any man, or to bow the body
or uncover the head.

The previous point also makes the same point as to "word
honor" in court, specifically the use of terms including
"Your Honor."

On p. 402 there is a more extensive discussion of Kneeling,
Bowing, and Removing the Hat, with some Biblical references.
A footnote quotes George Fox's Journal, as follows:

"When the Lord sent me forth into the world, he forbade me
to put off my hat to any, high or low...neither might I
bow or scrape with my leg to any one." G. Fox, Journal,
Bi-Centenary Edition, London, Headley, 1902, v. 1, p. 38.

Finally, p. 404 remarks,

"Many of us have been badly beaten and buffeted about, and
we have even been imprisoned for several months for no
other reason except that we would not uncover our heads
or bow our bodies to satisfy the proud and unreasonable
whims of egotistical men. Certainly the innocent practice
of standing still and erect without taking off our hats
any more than our shoes does not show as much rudeness as
the beatings and knocking about we have had because of
our practice."


Continue to:

previous page: 5.1 Christianity
page up: The Religious Society of Friends FAQ
next page: 5.3 Marriage