I told them that I lived in that life and power that takes away the occasion for all war.
– George Fox, Journal, 1694
We repudiate war because it violates the primacy of love, destroys lives that God has given, and tears the fabric of society. War is a test of power, not a search for truth or justice. We thus urge the use of peaceful methods, consistent with the ends we seek, which may heal the hates and hurts of individuals and nations. We support all who take the stand of conscientious objection to war and violence. While we do not question the bravery and commitment of people who fight, the question that sets us apart from them is, “Can any war truly be the will of God?”
We hold that it is inconsistent with our religious principles to participate in military service. There are and have been among us those who have accepted imprisonment or alternative service on the grounds of conscience and religious conviction. New York Yearly Meeting in 1960 and again in 1990 reaffirmed the traditional testimony against war of the Declaration of Friends to Charles II in 1660:
We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
Resistance to the war system is vital. We support the testimony of those who have refused to pay war taxes. The world’s governmental investment in the technology of war dwarfs any similar investment in the technology of peace. We also continue to work for disarmament, and to root out the seeds of war in unjust economic and social practices. Building a peace system calls for us to educate ourselves and others and to be part of efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology of peace.