1. Background

The World We Seek

FCNL's Statement of Legislative Policy

By General Committee, November 14, 2014


Our legislative policy rises out of our belief that there is that of God in every person and that all creation has worth and dignity. Facing profound global challenges and great opportunity, we speak from our faith for a new vision of how the world community can live together more peacefully and justly and with greater care for each other and our shared world.

Preamble

Since the early days of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), God’s spirit has led Friends to take action in the world. This Spirit has called Friends to recognize the equality of women and men, challenge hereditary privilege, help end legal slavery, struggle against oppression and reduce suffering inflicted by violent conflict. Since 1943, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has carried on this witness of the Spirit through action on Capitol Hill. Governed by members of the Religious Society of Friends, FCNL acts in faith to create a world free from war, a society with equity and justice for all, a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled and an earth restored.

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war. We seek a society with equity and justice for all. We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled. We seek an earth restored.

Our legislative policy rises out of our belief that there is that of God in every person and that all creation has worth and dignity. Acknowledging and honoring a spectrum of religious and ethical traditions, we try to be open to the will of God and to embody Jesus’ teachings in our personal, national and global relationships. Facing profound global challenges and great opportunity, we speak from our faith for a new vision of how the world community can live together more peacefully and justly and with greater care for each other and our shared world.

FCNL supports and influences legislation and government action by engagement with others, conveying our beliefs and urging leaders in government to embrace specific policies and actions. We educate and empower Friends and those who share our concerns to participate in the political process as voters, advocates and elected officials.

This statement of policy embodies our beliefs and provides the foundation for our work. It derives from careful discernment by Friends throughout the nation who have identified the fundamental vision that underlies our legislative actions. The issues we strive to address are inextricably linked, leading us to focus on the root causes and long-term consequences of injustice, inequality, economic disparity, disproportionate power and violence.

A better future is possible through dedicated effort, creative cooperation, right relationships and well-directed resources. Change will require personal and material costs that we are prepared to share. We are convinced by our faith and experience to continue building the peaceful, just, equitable and sustainable global community we seek.

Above all, we seek to remain open to where God’s spirit leads us.

Part 1: We Seek a World Free of War and the Threat of War

Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

Friends have long found inspiration in George Fox’s invitation to live “in the virtue of that life and power that [takes] away the occasion of all wars.” We believe that peace throughout the world is God’s will and is attainable. True security results from a culture of peace, including a healthy environment, a fair and sustainable economic life, democratic participation, an educated population, personal well-being and healthy families. Peace and security can be achieved only by peaceful means.

As we seek to remove violence from our lives, we recall the words of John Woolman: “May we look upon our treasures, and the furniture of our houses, and [our] garment[s]...and try whether the seeds of war have any nourishment in these our possessions.” To prevent violence, we seek to address the roots of conflict, particularly political and economic structures that work against social justice, human dignity and ecological integrity. We support efforts to address the suffering caused by past injustices, by repressive regimes and by ethnic and other oppression.

Section 1. Building the Framework for Peace

Friends are called to help build a foundation for world peace. This great undertaking depends on a global framework of law, justice, human rights and nonviolent social change. International cooperation requires strong global and regional institutions, with fair representation of all concerned parties. We recognize the importance of treaties and covenants among nations as instruments of world order. While acknowledging the role of official dialogue and the efforts of regional bodies, we also call for inclusion of the institutions and organizations of civil society and community-based groups in peacemaking initiatives. FCNL supports efforts to integrate and strengthen peace-building capacities throughout the U.S. government.

We support the United Nations (U.N.) and its role in pursuing world peace and justice. We urge the United States to participate fully and in good faith in the work of the U.N., as well as its programs and agencies, and to demonstrate respect for the rule of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We advocate for the equitable sharing of power within the U.N.

Section 2. Reducing Militarization and Armaments

Militarization has permeated our society, skewing our national budget toward support for the military and its attendant industries and forcing our local economies increasingly to depend on them. Although national security is widely perceived to depend on military strength, more weapons do not provide more security. Military expansion provokes fear, resentment and potential retaliation. Threats tend to increase the hostility and distrust that lead to war.

We oppose the militarization of U.S. foreign and domestic policy, including the training of foreign military and paramilitary personnel and the use of U.S. military personnel in domestic policing. We affirm our opposition to military conscription and Selective Service registration and our support of legal accommodations for conscientious objection to military service and military taxation.

We urge the elimination of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and restrictions on the production, transfer, marketing and sale of conventional weapons — including small arms. In order for arms control to succeed, it is imperative to stem the proliferation of “loose” nuclear material.

The use of drones, cyberattacks and other new technologies to inflict harm is rapidly increasing. FCNL opposes using any technology for coercion, violence or lethal attacks. We call upon the U.S. to fully consider the moral and legal issues raised while establishing clear oversight and accountability for these new means of warfare and supporting international efforts to curb them.

Nations must move toward comprehensive disarmament. We advocate converting military industries to the production of environmentally sound civilian goods and services and retraining personnel toward that end. We advocate that the United States take unilateral steps toward disarmament, believing that other nations will respond affirmatively to this example. The risks of disarmament are far smaller than the risks involved in the current course of weapons development, proliferation and stockpiling.

We call for our federal government to safely dispose of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and materials in the United States and abroad.

Section 3. Preventing and Resolving Violent Conflicts

We seek federal policies and practices that avoid violence and embrace peaceful forms of managing and resolving conflict. The cycles of violence perpetuated by acts of terror and the armed overthrow of governments serve as warnings against the use of force, while the examples of nonviolent movements for change provide concrete alternatives. No war is justified. We call for our country to renounce doctrines of first-strike war, whether preemptive or preventive. Our government owes its citizens an accurate public accounting of the full costs of war, including veterans’ medical care and benefits and interest on national debt as a result of war.

Diplomacy, responsible development, the rule of law and international cooperation are the most effective and principled means of global conflict prevention and resolution. U.S. diplomacy will become more successful as it includes reaching out to non-state actors and opening talks without preconditions. The United States should participate in and comply with international treaties and tribunals, including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Funds should be redirected from the military budget to support nonviolent methods of conflict resolution. We urge the U.S. to give its full support to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation in areas where the U.S. has waged war.

We envision a U.S. with a stronger capacity for prompt and flexible nonmilitary responses to ongoing conflicts that may escalate into mass atrocities. To be most effective, these efforts will seek to alleviate violence and to protect vulnerable populations.

It is right for the United States to assist in humanitarian and emergency response efforts outside its boundaries. The U.S. should develop and support nonmilitary assistance programs in partnership with appropriate international and independent non-governmental organizations. We support the development of professionally trained international civilian police under U.N. auspices to restore civil order, protect civilians and ensure access to humanitarian relief. In situations where the military is called on to provide such assistance, its participation must be limited to short-term logistical support.

Where genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing are underway and the host nation is unable or unwilling to protect the victims, the U.N. has recognized that the international community has the responsibility to protect vulnerable populations. In these and all situations, FCNL supports constructive, nonviolent responses that are consistent with Quaker values and testimonies.

In some circumstances, sanctions can be constructive tools for furthering negotiations, changing governmental behavior or challenging injustice or aggression. Any proposed sanction must be carefully considered, however, and narrowly focused on the perpetrators of violence. Precautions must be taken to minimize impacts on the daily lives of civilians. The objectives of sanctions must be clear, consistent with international law and proportional to their objective, and the program must be monitored by a neutral international body.

Section 4. Building Mutual Understanding and Trust

Peace within and among nations depends in part on replacing ignorance and unjustified fears with mutual understanding and trust. Educational, cultural, scientific and commercial exchanges among nations and peoples build such mutual understanding. We support civilian programs that promote peace through personal experience with national and international humanitarian organizations.

We call for compassionate solutions to the root causes of hunger, deprivation and conflict, with increasing attention to the damaging effects of climate disruption. Such policies will include greater support for participatory and sustainable development programs, equitable trade, debt relief and fiscal and monetary policies that improve the fair distribution of resources. By relieving extreme economic inequality and enabling self-reliant efforts to satisfy basic human needs, we can increase both national and global security.

We recognize that women and children carry a disproportionate share of the burdens imposed by poverty and war. For a better world community, more attention is necessary to the human rights of women and children, including adequate nutrition, education, health care, voluntary family planning and economic security. We support agreements to eliminate slavery, trafficking in persons, the use of child soldiers and the exploitation of child labor worldwide.

Veterans of military conflict experience unique barriers to health, mental well-being and employment. We support programs that address the specific needs of veterans.

Part 2: We Seek a Society with Equity and Justice for All

What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

Friends’ witness calls for right relationships among people and between individuals and God. Governments are instituted, in part, to promote and protect basic human rights. These are rights, not mere privileges subject to easy denial. Friends acknowledge the indispensable role of government in safeguarding the integrity of our society and the essential dignity of all human beings. Citizens have the responsibility to participate vigorously in making government more responsive, open and accountable.

Section 1. Governmental Institutions

Electoral Processes. Active and informed citizen participation in the political and electoral process is essential to the proper functioning of government. The people of the U.S. deserve government and media policies that shift the emphasis in political campaigns from image-making to an in-depth understanding of a wide range of perspectives on the issues as well as on candidates’ qualifications.

Our democracy can live up to its potential only if it ensures open access to public office and electoral processes, curbs the influence of money and corporate power, safeguards the integrity of the voting process without raising unnecessary barriers and provides full participation for disenfranchised people. Observing that district lines are too often drawn for partisan advantage, we encourage the establishment of nonpartisan processes for redistricting.

District of Columbia. All citizens residing in the District of Columbia are entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other citizens. This may include statehood.

Government Accountability and Transparency. We hold our government institutions and officials to rigorous ethical standards of fairness, honesty, openness and avoidance of even the appearance of conflicts of interest. We expect our government to abide by the U.S. Constitution, national and international law and international treaties. The system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches is central to our form of government and must be strengthened.

Legislative processes should further mutual respect and timely action on substantive issues. The Senate should act on presidential nominees promptly.

Democracy does not work properly if the public does not know what its government is doing. Secrecy erodes the government’s accountability to the people. Strong protections are necessary for whistleblowers, journalists and confidential sources who expose government misconduct. Timely and free access to accurate information enables the constitutional process of checks and balances to function well and allows informed participation by individuals in government activities.

A strong, diverse and independent media is a pillar of democracy. We call on our government to honor the independence of the press, promote diversity of media ownership and protect the privacy and freedom of electronic communications.

Criminal Justice. We call for a transformation of our current system of criminal justice, which today is used principally as an instrument of retribution — a policy contrary to our Quaker beliefs. We need crime prevention that engages the complex and pervasive causes of crime, which often are rooted in social and economic injustice. We support a system that treats juveniles as children, not as adults, and that is not biased by race, immigration status or economic class.

We acknowledge the role of well-trained law enforcement to protect community safety. However, our legitimate needs for safety and security can never excuse such excesses as racial profiling and the undue use of lethal force.

Our communities and families will be strengthened by a system that embraces restorative justice and seeks to return rehabilitated offenders to society with their full rights and obligations. Incarceration of violent and destructive individuals is sometimes necessary for safety, but community-based alternatives to incarceration are often better responses to nonviolent crimes. A well-functioning system will include equitable and prompt adjudication; education, training, and treatment for those convicted and restitution to the victims of crime.

Many crimes are prompted by conditions that can best be addressed outside the criminal justice system. Violent acts that stem from using, selling or transferring drugs or obtaining money to use them should be prosecuted — however, substance abuse itself is fundamentally a health issue requiring prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation. Mental health problems deserve treatment rather than criminalization.

Government must ensure that detention facilities provide humane conditions and basic rights. We stand against the inappropriate use of solitary confinement. Profit-making has no legitimate place in the criminal justice system; we oppose privatized detention facilities.

We seek the abolition of the death penalty because it denies the sacredness of human life.

Section 2. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

We believe in the paramount need to protect and promote human rights, civil liberties and civil rights. Friends seek a society free from discrimination, whether due to race, creed, gender, ethnic or national heritage, age, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, genetic background and gender identification or expression.

We uphold the separation of church and state. We defend guarantees for the free exercise of religion and oppose favoring particular religious beliefs or groups. Freedom from arbitrary or undue governmental intrusion and the equal treatment of all people by the state are inherent to a free society.

Unbridled surveillance of U.S. and foreign citizens undermines civil liberties and erodes trust among nations. Domestic and foreign surveillance programs must be limited, constitutional and monitored within a transparent system of checks and balances. The need for security does not excuse the targeting of free speech and nonviolent protest for surveillance and interference.

We expect our government to uphold the rights and liberties of each person regardless of citizenship status, as set forth in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our government must also comply with the Geneva Conventions and protocols in its conduct of war and other armed conflict and in its responses to terrorism. We urge the United States to ratify and participate fully in international treaties protecting civil and human rights. We oppose torture in all circumstances. We call on law enforcers to adhere to the highest standards of civil liberties and due process.

Section 3. Communities Free of Violence

Friends seek peaceful and nonviolent solutions to personal and societal problems at all levels. The seeds of war are sown when communities tolerate verbal and physical violence in its many forms or the disrespect of ethnic, gender, racial, religious and other differences. We advocate policies that encourage community mediation, conflict resolution and other programs to promote mutual respect. We support efforts to reduce gun violence by limiting gun ownership, possession and use.

Section 4. A Society Free of Racism

The people of the United States continue to live with the legacy of slavery and institutional racism. Many groups experience ongoing discrimination, and we must continue to seek reconciliation and remediation. While each person must examine unintended, unrecognized personal racism, the federal government has a special responsibility to establish policies that acknowledge our history and create genuine equality of opportunity. These include measures to assure voting rights and political voice; to transform our criminal justice system; to protect civil rights; to promote educational, economic, and employment opportunities and to free communities from violence.

Section 5. Relationships with Native Peoples

Federal policies and laws must conform to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognize that Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives retain aboriginal rights. Treaties and trust agreements contain solemn and binding promises that must be honored. Tribal police and courts should have primary authority over all criminal activity on reservation lands.

Section 6. Immigration and Refugees

The United States derives much of its strength and character from the many peoples who have built it. Our immigration policy must honor the human rights and due process rights of all persons, offer fair opportunities to enter or to remain in the country and pursue citizenship and adequately address the needs of communities affected by immigration.

We support openness to refugees, victims of violence and human trafficking and those seeking asylum. The immigration policies we envision will allow people to migrate to the United States regardless of their wealth or skill levels, to preserve their families’ unity, to change their places of employment and to apply for lawful permanent status and eventual citizenship. With the right policies in place, work-related entry to the U.S. can meet the legitimate needs of the economy without undercutting job opportunities, pay or working conditions for workers already in the United States. Fair labor laws and workplace health and safety standards should be firmly enforced regardless of workers’ immigration status.

Immigration is a civil issue, not a criminal one. All persons, regardless of immigration status, deserve due process, including the opportunity to challenge effectively their detention or removal. A good immigration enforcement system will include alternatives to detention. When immigration detention is necessary, it should meet at least the standards required for criminal detention, uphold the human and civil rights of the detainees and be separate from criminal detention.

Immigration laws should be enforced by federal authorities, not local law enforcement. We oppose the militarization of our borders and the excessive use of force in immigration enforcement. Border communities, including tribal governments, must be directly involved in the decision-making processes regarding border enforcement policies.

Part 3: We Seek a Community Where Every Person's Potential May Be Fulfilled

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these … ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

We believe that God dwells in each human soul. Each person has the right to live a life of dignity with access to basic necessities in a safe and sustainable environment. People should have equal opportunity to fulfill their own potential and to contribute to their communities. This challenging vision can be achieved if it is embraced by all: the public, the government and the private sector.

Section 1. Fostering Economic Justice

We seek to eliminate poverty at home and abroad through economic policies that expand opportunities for all people to have adequate resources to maintain health, dignity and economic security. Equitable economies are more productive, sustainable, efficient and fair. To achieve these goals, we call for policies to reduce economic disparities including income and wealth inequality.

We strive to create an economic system that is equitable and that preserves and enhances resources for future generations. Our measures of economic prosperity must take into account the true costs and benefits of all market and non-market activities. Indices of quality of life and ongoing ecological sustainability should supplant measures such as Gross Domestic Product that focus on perpetual economic growth and consumer spending.

Domestic Economic Life. Government policy directly affects our communities and establishes the framework for many economic decisions. We urge that the federal budget allow for spending to meet the actual needs of the nation, including assistance to individuals, communities and states. Resources should be refocused from military spending to human needs and environmental stewardship.

We support progressive taxation so that tax burdens are related to financial resources and ability to pay. Corporations that do business in the United States must pay their fair share of taxes. Federal policy should curtail excessive compensation and encourage more equitable pay.

In general, ongoing federal programs and activities should be paid for with current revenues. However, government borrowing can be appropriate for countering economic recessions and making long-term investments in research, education, health, environmental protections and public infrastructure.

We affirm the right and responsibility of all to contribute to society through paid and unpaid work within their capabilities. It is a public responsibility to ensure that each person has the opportunity to develop skills, to work under nonexploitive conditions and to earn a living wage with adequate benefits. We recognize the roles of both the government and private sector in creating jobs, promoting job training and encouraging sustainable economic development. Employers, educators and government should partner to provide training and connect job seekers to employment needs in the community. We believe in strengthening laws that guarantee all workers, regardless of immigration status, the right to organize unions and to bargain collectively. Public assistance programs are best when they enhance human dignity, promote independence and personal wellbeing and provide support when people have difficulty providing for themselves.

Concentrated corporate wealth exerts excessive control over society, both directly and by influencing federal and local government policy. We seek policies that ensure corporate responsibility, independent and accountable boards of directors and balanced emphases on long-term investment and profits. Effective policies will strengthen job creation, long-term investment and social and environmental responsibility rather than encourage short-term gain. We support cooperative enterprises. We support strong regulation of the financial industry to curb excessive risk-taking, strengthen stewardship of resources used in investing, separate commercial banking from investment banking, increase transparency and accountability and protect consumers. A key role of the federal government is to strengthen and enforce antitrust, fraud and securities oversight laws.

The use of public funds to bail out corporations should be limited and closely scrutinized. Carefully monitored bailout loans may be appropriate to prevent job loss in companies that are integral to community economic viability. Our preference is to promote measures that would prevent the need for bailouts, such as legislation to limit the size, complexity and scope of corporate entities.

Global Economic Interdependence. Due to the size and impact of its economy, the United States has a critical responsibility to conduct its affairs to contribute to the economic security, environmental stability and social well-being of all the world’s peoples. The concentration of wealth in a few countries, corporations, groups or individuals is a destabilizing force on society and its institutions. U.S. policies regarding globalization must not adversely affect the right-sharing of world resources.

As global economic interdependence grows, the terms of international agreements assume greater importance. To assure widely shared benefits from such agreements, negotiations must provide for transparent and democratic participation by the full range of parties affected. Trade policy will serve the world community best by adhering to rigorous environmental and labor standards while being mindful of cultural and socio-economic practices.

Section 2. Supporting People and Building Viable Communities

Safe, thriving, diverse and sustainable communities with healthy, informed people and a broad, resilient economic base must be a major objective of government policy. Education, housing, health care, recreation and access to functioning infrastructure are public goods to which all have a right, including individuals who cannot afford to pay for them. We call for a national commitment to help states and local communities meet the needs of each person. Local residents, businesses and tribal governments must be involved in the design and implementation of community development programs.

Education. Education that provides sound basic knowledge and skills and fosters critical and creative thinking establishes a foundation for individual development, good health, satisfying employment and responsible participation in democratic society. In an environment of increased globalization and advancing technology, our education system must prepare individuals to be innovative, creative, adaptable, collaborative and analytical. A strong public education system depends on substantial resources, equitably distributed. The federal government has an important role to play in addressing the educational needs of underserved areas and disadvantaged populations.

We support lifelong access to high quality, affordable education, including early childhood programs, public universities and community colleges, skilled trade apprenticeships and opportunities for paid community service. We encourage the development and expansion of high-quality educational and vocational programs accessible without burdensome debt. We support programs that promote peace, conflict resolution and global awareness. We oppose military recruitment in schools and military training of minors.

Food. No person should go hungry or experience food insecurity. Full and equitable access to safe, affordable, nutritious food and clean water is essential and can be enhanced by education and information to help people make wise food choices. Agricultural policies must be designed to support healthy and diverse foods, not to provide disproportionate profits or degrade the environment. We discourage the diversion of food crops away from nutritional purposes, if such diversion has an impact on the availability of basic food.

Housing. A home that is affordable and safe is essential for the well-being of every person. Housing that is affordable, energy-efficient and located in healthy and diverse neighborhoods, coupled with supportive services for those who need them, is the right of all.

Health Care. Universal access to affordable, effective, comprehensive health care is necessary to allow all people to fulfill their potential. Comprehensive health care includes primary, acute and long-term care as well as mental health and substance abuse treatment. To ensure access, health services should be provided where an individual’s needs can best be met. Our country can only maintain and improve the physical and mental health of its population with affordable health care that covers the entire life span, from prenatal to end-of-life care. Public health services, which protect us all, require robust federal support.

NOTE: Members of the Society of Friends are not in unity on abortion issues. Therefore, FCNL takes no position and does not act either for or against abortion legislation. On occasion, FCNL may appeal to lawmakers not to use the abortion debate to paralyze action on other legislation.

Families and Homes with Children. All children have the right to adequate food; housing; health care and an environment free from violence, poverty and health hazards. Well-designed tax policies, social welfare policies and flexible employment policies are critical to assuring adequate care for children. We must pursue an expansion of high-quality, affordable, safe childcare and early childhood education. We encourage increased funding for programs to prevent and address substance abuse, child abuse and other domestic abuse.

Access and Transportation. Affordable, reliable and accessible transportation connects people to people, jobs, schools and resources. To build viable communities and regions, more energy-efficient public transit services are needed, requiring federal funds and compatible land use policies. Our country needs policies that encourage a range of ecologically sustainable forms of transportation, such as walking, bicycling and car-pooling, as well as energy-efficient vehicles.

Communication. We support the development and maintenance of a communication infrastructure that is readily accessible and secure, fosters equal access to information and promotes both physical and virtual communities.

Part 4: We Seek an Earth Restored

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)

We declare that humankind must respect the ecological integrity and the sacredness of the natural world. All on this earth are interdependent, and we are strongly mindful of the call to be wise stewards of what God has provided. Friends’ testimonies have deep relevance to the global environmental crises we see unfolding around us.

We must make choices that protect, sustain and regenerate the earth’s ecosystems. Environmental degradation and the scarcity and inequitable distribution of resources are underlying causes of large-scale migration, violence and war. To curb excessive and destructive consumption and pollution is an urgent responsibility requiring all humankind to act globally, nationally, locally and individually.

Section 1. Global Climate Disruption and Energy Policy

Responsible use and right sharing of the world’s natural resources are crucial to human survival and welfare. Climate disruption is real and results primarily from human‐caused emissions of greenhouse gases. Increasingly frequent extreme weather events warn us that our ecosystems are undergoing profound changes that threaten our civilization and ultimately the survival of humanity and other living things.

Current land and energy policies and practices are inextricably linked to greenhouse gas generation and climate disruption. All people need equitable access to sources of energy for personal and community needs. Future policies and practices should meet global humanitarian and environmental needs and must favor long-term sustainability over narrow and short‐term interests.

The global community can and must develop fair and effective policies to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, promote energy conservation, reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency in the use of all energy sources. The great risks posed by the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy demand a shift to safe, clean and renewable energy sources. Pricing and policy decisions for all forms of energy extraction, production and use should reflect their true economic, environmental and social costs.

There is a growing need for research, development and deployment of science-based sustainable energy technologies. Incentives for the production and use of renewable energy and support for renewable onsite power generation and distribution are important strategies to pursue. We recognize the role that adaptive technologies and practices may play in the short term, but we continue to focus on policies that emphasize prevention and mitigation of climate disruption and its effects.

We urge an explicit moratorium on the construction of nuclear fission power plants until methods for safe disposal have been demonstrated and adopted. Safe methods for transportation and storage should be developed and adopted promptly.

Section 2. Caring for the Earth

Wise stewardship reflects inherent respect and gratitude for the natural gifts bestowed by God for the well‐being of present and future generations. It is our collective responsibility to meet the needs of human beings without doing violence to the rest of creation.

We call for an end to the degradation of the earth’s land, water, and atmosphere, the decline in biodiversity, the wasteful depletion of nonrenewable resources and practices that lead to deforestation and desertification. We therefore urge the U.S. government to adopt laws, agreements, policies and programs to protect and restore natural ecosystems, farmlands and air and water resources. Both domestic and international partnerships will be necessary for success. Cooperation over shared natural resources is an effective instrument of peace.

The biosphere is finite, and therefore international, national and local bodies must implement environmentally sustainable economic policies. Such policies need to protect open spaces, air and water resources, oceans, wilderness areas and productive farmlands from suburban sprawl and development while supporting the development of sustainable, environmentally friendly communities. We advocate strong and consistently enforced laws, regulations, treaties and agreements to protect and restore ecosystem biodiversity and to ensure clean water for all.

We unite with policies and actions that seek pollution prevention over pollution capture. The federal government must expand research, development and implementation of appropriate technologies and strategies to eliminate waste. We urge the broad application of analytical methods that make explicit the true environmental impact  from raw materials to final product disposal  of manufacturing and purchasing decisions.

Adequate funding for domestic and international environmental protection efforts is essential. Private and public enterprises must obey the same environmental laws and regulations.

The world needs a sound agricultural and aquacultural base to ensure the availability of safe and affordable food, fiber and other essential agricultural and forest products. This base will emphasize support for local, cooperative and independent family farming.

We advocate the prohibition of brutal and inhumane treatment of animals in food production and animal testing. We support the careful evaluation, regulation, monitoring and product labeling of foods, synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms and products.

Section 3. Population and Consumption

Population pressure and unsustainable consumption threaten the finite planet that living things share. We support government policies that address the impacts of global population and of the inequitable consumption and distribution of resources on poor and vulnerable humans and other species. We call for access to effective, universally available, safe and noncoercive family planning resources in the United States and throughout the world.

Truthful measures of economic health will incorporate the nonmaterial factors of our quality of life. Our culture promotes unsustainable, unhealthy and inequitable levels of material consumption, which not only threatens the global environment but also sows the seeds of war and reduces the resources available to meet the rest of the world’s needs. As individuals and as a society we must examine our habits and values and act to ensure right sharing of resources by all.

Section 4. Environmental Restoration and Regeneration

Justice to future generations requires not only that we refrain from impoverishing the earth but also that we protect and restore it. This restoration must include healing the damage caused by the release of nuclear and other toxic substances, extractive practices such as mining and widespread deforestation and desertification.

It is wrong for the consequences of pollution, waste disposal, resource depletion and climate disruption to fall disproportionately on the world’s poor and marginalized peoples. These dangers must be fully disclosed and addressed in consultation with the communities they affect. Cleanup and restoration should not be delayed by litigation over who pays, and the cost must ultimately be borne by the responsible parties.

The use and protection of the earth’s resources are global issues that require mutual respect and cooperation among all people and communities on earth. Many peoples, governments, and organizations are already meeting environmental challenges using the knowledge and capabilities we have today. We have faith that we can continue to build on these efforts.

Impelled by both the sacred and the practical, and inspired by Friends’ testimonies, we seek an earth restored.

General Committee

  • FCNL's Governing Body

FCNL is governed by a General Committee of approximately 180 Friends, the majority of whom have been appointed by 26 Yearly Meetings and seven national Friends' organizations.