The members and attenders of Bridge City
Preparative Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) affirm our belief in the
testimonies of Community, Equality, Simplicity, Integrity, and Peace.
These testimonies enable all people to open
their hearts and minds to recognize that of God within each other and to thereby bear witness
on the human rights of all individuals.
This country was founded by individuals who
sought a country in which to live that protected the civil liberties of its citizens and
provided for their protection in the pursuit of life, liberty and religious freedom.
Congressional representatives under pressure
hastily passed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to
Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA Patriot Act). We believe that this act
eroded the civil liberties of our
destabilized the balancing powers between
the branches of our government, and
removed much of the Constitutional
oversight mandated for the protection of our citizens.
Some representatives are now taking steps to
further curtail the rights of American citizens with the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of
2003 (commonly known as Patriot Act II). In addressing these concerns, we look historically to
our elders for wisdom:
In the words of Robert Barclay, "That no
man, by virtue of any power or principality he hath in the government of this world, hath power
over the consciences of men."
In the words of William Penn, "The
temperance I plead for is not only religiously but politically good ... We cannot but loudly
call upon the generality of the times and testify both by our life and doctrine against abuses
if possibly any may be weaned from their folly."
And, finally, in the words of Thomas Merton,
"We do not have to create a conscience for ourselves. We are born with one, and no
matter how much we may ignore it, we cannot silence its insistent demand that we do good and
We feel that all levels of our government
must now take steps to restore, fully, the First Amendment rights afforded by our constitution
and to protect the rights of all individuals throughout our country. We can not redress
violence with injustice.
With the passage of the USA Patriot Act, a
climate of fear and distrust has swept through our government; putting it at odds with the
citizens it is here to represent. We must look past the hysteria that enabled the USA Patriot
Act and move forward with wisdom, community, equality, integrity and peace.
We urge our elected officials at all levels
to repeal the USA Patriot Act and to fully investigate, question and explore alternatives to
any subsequent Acts proposed.