Spring Series on Quaker Faith & Practice in Easton

Quakers were among the first European settlers in Talbot County and affected the County’s history and development in many ways. Third Haven Friends Meetinghouse, one of the earliest houses of worship in the US, has been in continuous use since 1684. Third Haven is an active community of members who continue to play important roles in the community.

To help explain the history, beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Third Haven Friends Meeting in Easton is offering a 4-part program – Essentials of Quaker Faith and Practice. Guest speakers will make presentations and facilitate discussions on Sundays at noon – March 30, April 6, April 27 and May 4, 2014. The public is invited. Parking is available on site. All 4 programs are free.

• March 30: Linda Chidsey – Worship and the Spiritual Journey. She is a member of Housatonic Friends Meeting in New York and former Clerk (head) of New York Yearly Meeting. Ms. Chidsey is a longtime teacher in the School of the Spirit and leads retreats and workshops on spirituality.

• April 6: John Andrew Gallery – Testimonies, Witness and Action. He is a member of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting in Philadelphia and the author of several articles and pamphlets on Quakerism, among them Reflections from a Prayer Vigil for Peace and Living in the Kingdom of God. Mr. Gallery was formerly the Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. He wrote Sacred Sites of Center City.

• April 27: Patty Levering – Quaker Meeting as a Faith Community. She is a member of Davidson Meeting in North Carolina. Ms. Levering teaches at the School of the Spirit and lectures widely on Quaker topics.

• May 4: Thomas Swain – History and Beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends. He is a member of Middleton Meeting in Lima, Pennsylvania. He studied with the Shakers and taught at a Friends school in New Jersey. Mr Swain has taught and spoken on Quakers throughout Britain and Scandinavia. He and is an Associate Tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center in England. He served as Clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for 6 years.

Third Haven Friends Meeting is located at 405 South Washington Street in Easton. For further information about these programs, please contact Tom Corl, Clerk Worship and Ministry Committee, Third Haven Friends Meeting, at 202.215.1684 or tom.corl@gmail.com

“The House I Live In” Film Screening Announced

It’s easy to make war sound appealing if it’s promoted properly: war on crime; war on obscenity; war on terrorism; or war on drugs. Some such wars, arguably, are even good ideas.

But how long does it make sense to go on fighting a war that we’re clearly losing? Is 40 years too long?

the house i live inThat’s the question addressed by Eugene Jarecki’s revealing 2012 documentary about America’s war on drugs, The House I Live In. Third Haven Friends Meeting (the Quakers) will sponsor a screening of Jarecki’s award-winning film at the Easton Branch of the Talbot County Free Library on Monday, March 31.

The House I Live In debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize. Since then it has been seen in Germany, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Spain, France and Serbia. From the dealer to the vice cop, the inmate to the federal judge, the attorney to the prison guard, this movie takes a penetrating look inside America’s criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy. It explores the political, economic, class and ethnicity issues that have spawned this tragic state of affairs.
Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon called a press conference to tell the American people that “public enemy #1” was drug abuse. He then proceeded to declare an all-out war on drug users and sellers, with resounding repercussions on criminal justice policy and on vast numbers of Americans.

Subsequent presidents, drug czars and local politicians have followed Nixon’s lead, fueling an unprecedented boom in the country’s prison population and waging an ever-escalating campaign against what many consider to be, in the words of entrepreneur Richard Branson, “a health problem, not a criminal problem.”

The war on drugs has been a failure practically, morally, and economically. The result of this law enforcement approach are stark: today, there are more than 500,000 people incarcerated for drug offenses; billions of dollars are spent annually on narcotics enforcement; treatment is still out of reach for millions of people; and drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before.

But there is also a growing recognition that the course of the past 40 years must change, and there is increasing momentum for drug policy reform from all levels of government and civil society. Every day more people agree the war on drugs has failed and must change.
“You have never had so many people on the same side in this issue,” according to Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree. “Because we’ve fought a war and we’ve been unsuccessful.”

“This approach has not worked,” declares former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, “just as our national experiment with the prohibition of alcohol failed.”

Michelle Alexander, the Ohio State University law professor who wrote The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, puts the effects of the drug war on black America into disturbing perspective: “There are more African Americans under correctional control, in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the civil war began.”

America’s public drug policy is due for an overhaul, according to Columbia University Professor Carl Hart, “so people will have more respect for a policy they know is not capricious.”
While many of the usual liberal suspects, like Bill Maher and Tommy Chong, are critical of the war on drugs, criticism has also come from people who are not known for coddling criminals.
“Let’s return to the focus on prevention of crime,” suggests New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “How do we prevent people from becoming drug addicts? How do we prevent people from being incarcerated?”

“It’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance,” says televangelist Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network.” The whole thing is crazy.”

“After 40 years of concentrating on one approach that has been unsuccessful,” says former Secretary of Labor and Secretary of State George Shultz, “we should be willing to take a look at other ways of working to solve this pressing problem.”

“We have not been very successful in incarcerating our way out of the drug problem,” says former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. “We’ve created a bigger problem.”

“The war on drugs, while well-intentioned,” says Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, “has been a failure.”

Admission to The House I Live In is free. The house lights will go down at at 5:30 p.m. on the 31st, and everyone is welcome.