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In these troubled times, it’s not surprising that people are anxious, gripped with uncertainty.

20,000 flags were set up at the COVID–19 Memorial Project’s Interfaith Memorial.
FCNL / Matthew Paul D'Agostino
20,000 flags were set up at the COVID–19 Memorial Project’s Interfaith Memorial.

Consider this: the COVID-19 pandemic causing over 200,000 deaths in the United States; creating economic hardships and social isolation; tragic wildfires in western states; devastating flooding in southern states fueled by climate change; escalating political tensions; the controversial selection of a new Supreme Court justice; and systemic racism and economic inequality in a sharply divisive campaign season.

As an organization grounded in the faith of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), our policies, priorities, and practices provide a bedrock for these times, a spiritual grounding in God’s fierce love.

For Quakers, the inward Spirit fuels outward action, and for FCNL that means we always have a way to exercise faith, hope, and love.

Each day, we practice hope as we advocate. Each day, we exercise faith as we build relationships to create community. Each day—and especially in these times—we know fierce love as we co-create the world we seek.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Our resolve, our faith to act has never been more important. Democracy in the United States is at stake right now.

The opportunity to pursue the aspirations and values we long for—equality, justice, peace, and an earth restored—requires us to act with fierce love. What does that fierce love look like?

Vote. Talk to people about your values and what candidates you believe comes closest to your values. Tell your story as to why voting matters. Tell how you are making sure your vote counts—whether that is voting by mail, early voting, or taking COVID-19 precautions when you go to the polls on election day.

Reach out to candidates. FCNL’s questions for candidates provide a resource to talk to candidates running for US representative and senator. Ask their positions. Who we elect is critical—not just for the presidency but for the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Be patient and pursue truth. We recognize that the outcome of the Nov. 3, 2020 election may not be known at end of the day. It may take days or weeks to assure that every vote is counted, as some states do not start counting mail-in ballots until election day. If there is uncertainty of election outcomes, the time between Election Day in November 2020 and Inauguration Day in January 2021 will be tumultuous.

The partisanship we see now could become volatile, and our commitment to nonviolence, the rule of law, and truth-telling are ways we exhibit fierce love in the face of lies and extremism.

Advocate with FCNL. At FCNL’s Annual Meeting and Quaker Public Policy Institute, November 14–17, we will discern the legislative priorities for the new, 117th Congress. We will also lobby for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R.7120).

This legislation, which addresses militaristic, racist, and abusive practices by police, is an important bill Congress should pass. Our voices matter in this debate.

Make time for stillness in your life. Pray, or ground your intentions in fierce love. Shut out the daily news for a bit and put aside the anxiety, fear, and despair to allow renewal and hope to flourish for the next step of faith.

This is not the first time that we face the brokenness of our country, of the world. Our spiritual and emotional grounding is essential. In his book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, Quaker author Parker Palmer reminds us:

“For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive … the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation.”

“Now faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Quakers and all people of faith and moral purpose have a unique and vital role in this uncertain time. Our history as the Religious Society of Friends was founded and shaped in a time of turmoil.

The rich legacy of Friends, who through the centuries have confronted injustice and stood for peace, continues to inspire us today as do the voices of millions of people across the country who are standing, marching, praying, and advocating for justice.

We know we are not alone. Millions of people in this country and around the globe are practicing fierce love by embracing the hope of a world at peace, by working with faith for communities that are just.

Diane Randall

Diane Randall

General Secretary (2011-2021)
Diane Randall served as the General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation from 2011-2021. She was the fourth General Secretary and first woman to hold the position.