Minute: Farmington Meeting Youth on Sexual Orientation
Farmington Friends Teens
The teens at Farmington Friends were given a witness from the High School Group of New York Yearly Meeting. This document was a response to FGC's minute on gifts in ministry across a range of sexual orientations. The High School Group of NYYM wished to express their full support in the equality of the entire human race, by affirming Quaker beliefs in equality of people, despite any differences, including differences in belief systems, gender, physical attributes, or sexual orientation. The teens from Farmington respond with the following:
We do not always practice what we preach in our everyday lives. We understand the concept of all people having the same Light within and deserve the same rights and respect. It is a challenge to hold true to this in our day to day lives. Sometimes the friends we hang out with at school exclude kids who are different and it is hard to stand against those friends. We fear rejection by others, so we go along with the crowd. Sometimes, what we believe doesn't coincide with what our parents might believe or teach us. Their attitudes about sexual orientation, lifestyles, and belief systems are different from our own and we might feel confused or hesitant to embrace our own belief in everyday experiences we are faced with.
We as a group also discussed the idea of the "Light within" which is a fundamental Quaker belief. There are times, some of us find it difficult to comprehend that humans can behave so differently, but have the same light within. Some human behavior is so difficult to accept, including: violence toward others, war, and terrorism. What would it mean to fully accept someone who hurts other people or engages in violent behavior? It would seem that there is a difference between accepting the person as a spiritual being, and accepting the behavior that they show. Recognizing this difference and knowing how to act is something we as a group were unable to identify.
Out teen group discussed that we often interact differently with others when we are in a group vs. as an individual. There might be people at school that seem weirdâ but in our hearts we want to accept them. There are situations at school that bring all sorts of people together, like sports and drama club. These situations give us the opportunity to get to know people we don't normally interact with. When we get to know others on an individual basis we are reminded that we are more alike than different.
We asked ourselves why it seems so easy to reject or dislike people who are different from ourselves. People seemed to be afraid of ideas they do not understand. There is fear of things we have not been exposed to nor had experience with, because we might be put into uncomfortable situations.
In our discussion, some of the teens brought up the Sunday that Claude Peters brought the message to the Meeting. They feel that Claude's message was something that everyone should hear, because he identified the ideas of what it means to be a loving and accepting person in the face of violence and terror.
Submitted to Monthly Meeting October 23, 2005