The Religious Society of Friends

Today an obscure saint is remembered by the Church, one of the founders of the Religious Society of Friends: George Fox.

Fox, born in England, left his home at eighteen to follow a religious quest, and reportedly had many visions and spiritual awakenings along the way.

He arrived, in time, to the idea that God speaks to the inner-soul, not through the forms and norms of the established church, which put him at odds with his Puritan surroundings. This inward insight became the plumb-line for guidance and faith, above clergy, doctrine, and even scripture itself.

Because of these stated beliefs, as well as his peculiar habits (he wore leather suits and never took his hat off), he was beaten, stoned, and jailed numerous times. Nonetheless, followers continued to flock to his message, including William Penn and Robert Barclay.

His followers became known as “Quakers,” an unpleasant term used to describe these people who refused to make pledges, pay tithes, or make oaths to authority.

Because of Fox and his message, the state passed the Toleration Act of 1689 which formally outlawed religious discrimination (though it continued informally), and left an impression on courts forcing them to struggle with what it means to be “equal before the law.”

-Summary from Pfatteicher’s “New Book of Festivals & Commemorations”-

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