Earlier this year I posted about a controversy at Friends Central School in Philadelphia, where a Palestinian Quaker, Sa’ed Atshan, was invited to visit and speak, then abruptly disinvited & the two teachers who invited him, Ariel Eure and Layla Helwa, were suspended.
The news site philly.com reported on May 10 that the two teachers have now been terminated effective June 30. Along with that decision came an invitation from the school to Sa’ed Atshan to speak at Friends Central sometime in the future, on “his personal experiences and path to peace education.”
The report added that
[The suspended teachers] were offered severance pay of $5,500, but that is contingent on their dropping a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit, said Mark Schwartz, their lawyer.
“This is a ridiculous offer,” he said. “I’d be surprised if they took it. Unlike the school, these two have some principles.”
School representatives on Tuesday declined to give a reason for the terminations.
The Handmaid’s Taleis a novel. The story below is not. It is true, and it happened in 1990, but its reverberations are still being felt, and are maybe stronger and deeper now than when they burst into view. Margaret Atwood’s fictional vision was directly relevant to it — as well as that of another novel which became its mirror image. Read on to understand why.
It begins with a showdown at Silver Bay, involving witches versus demons.
I. Gilead Meets the Goddess
New York Yearly Meeting gathers at Silver Bay, a resort complex on Lake George, north of Albany. Silver Bay is a lovely and peaceful setting, to which many New York Quakers return as pilgrims each summer seeking rest and renewal among Friends.
When the yearly meeting gathered in July of 1990, rest and renewal seemed in short supply. The 1980s had not been easy for New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM).
While many other unprogrammed yearly meetings were growing, New York’s membership declined by about ten per cent; the body struggled to meet its budget; and worst of all, its annual sessions were wracked by chronic wrangling, over doctrine and morals. An effort to rewrite its Faith and Practice, pending since 1977, dragged on abrasively throughout the decade; by 1990, this process had become so acrimonious that the Yearly Meeting put it on hold for a year.
In its travail, New York had become a kind of field laboratory for an ongoing experiment in institutional Quaker ecumenism. Unfortunately, by the latter years of the 1980s, many of the results of this test had not been promising, and never more so than at its 1990 session.
Northwest Yearly Meeting is notorious for its institutional culture of secrecy; indeed, I think they could teach the CIA some tricks.
So imagine my surprise when a clandestine collective which can be called “Quaki-Leaks” passed along some emails hacked from the listserve for NWYM pastors. There were other posts,but these offer an illuminating glimpse of what goes on behind one of the numerous veils that shroud much (too much, in my view) of NWYM’s proceedings. It is a useful followup to yesterday’s post regarding the ‘Way Forward” ultimatum letter.
The posts dealt with the impending midyear sessions that begin this weekend, and the hot issue of what to do about LGBT-friendly meetings. The samples presented here offer three distinct views of the situation, with some qualifying comments by the NWYM Superintendent. We’ll finish with some brief comments of our own. Continue reading Push & Pushback in the Northwest “Showdown”→
The news articles and media commentary sampled here are part of the ongoing international fallout from the NC Legislature’s legislative fiasco of December 21. That was when, after announcing a deal with the Charlotte City Council to repeal the notorious Bathroom Bill, the GOP-dominated chamber double-crossed Charlotte and let the law stand.
The original idea was this: Wednesday morning, on the solstice, I’d drive into Raleigh, and watch the North Carolina Legislature repeal HB2, that awful bathroom Bill. It shouldn’t take long, I figured. A repeal bill could be as short as one sentence.
Then I’d hop back on the highway, and head out to the country to meet my friend, a trans woman I’ll call Penelope. Living under HB2 has been hard for her. So we’d have a quiet victory lunch somewhere — she’d mentioned a Greek place in the county seat that sounded good.
The Rainbow Toilet vs. HB2: Wiped from The Headlines in NC
Law & Order’s Special Victims Unit had nothing on Genevieve “Gigi” Burkhalter of Durham NC; but that wasn’t going to stop the North Carolina state troopers who do security at the governor’s mansion in Raleigh. The mansion is currently occupied by governor Pat McCrory, known worldwide as the face of HB2, Carolina’s trans-hostile Bathroom Law.
The troopers were sure they saw a crime being committed there under cover of darkness on April 15, 2016, and when they followed up what they saw on a security videocam, there it was, on the green lawn near the mansion.