While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” – Acts 7:59
On this day in 1659, two Quakers, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, were executed (hanged from an elm tree on Boston Common in Boston) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their religious beliefs. They were the first Quakers to be executed in America. They came from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution – ironically. The two had violated a law passed by the Massachusetts General Court the year before, banning Quakers from the colony under penalty of death.
The Christian movement known as The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, was founded by George Fox in England during the early 1650’s. Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings. They supported sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America. Quakers found solace in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and other colonies, and Massachusetts’ anti-Quaker laws were later repealed.
By the mid 18th century, John Woolman, an abolitionist Quaker, was traveling the American colonies, preaching and advancing the anti-slavery cause. He organized boycotts of products made by slave labor and was responsible for convincing many Quaker communities to publicly denounce slavery. Other abolitionist Quaker was Lucretia Mott, who worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, helping lead fugitive slaves to freedom in the Northern states and Canada. She was later a leader in the movement for women’s rights, including the right to vote.
If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive. – American Quaker Saying
Seriously? Can I have a minute to let that one sink in??? Um… no – I’m squishing the spider. 😉
I’m not a Quaker – but I like movies like Friendly Persuasion and Angel and the Badman. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always thought of Quakers as I do the Amish. I was surprised when I read their history and how liberal their beliefs are. They have no central church authority and believe in true equality. They are peace-loving folk that won’t be a part of war.
Now that terrorists are running around beheading people I wonder if that will work – but that’s their belief.
Me – I want to learn how to shoot and carry. Well – maybe not – but I’m tempted.
Christians in America have really not known persecution – yet. So far, we certainly have not had to give our very lives for our faith. I’m so thankful for the sacrifices of the past that ultimately affected changes for the good, aren’t you? They stood strong so that future generations could enjoy freedom and equality and know real joy in the Lord. 😀