What would happen if Mrs. Bush became a peace-nik while George sent more and more $$ to Halliburton? Or Mrs. Bill Gates started doing commercials for the Mac? Well, my husband, who posts here, has become nearly addicted to online poker this spring, while I have become more involved in The Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, finally joining last month. Let me share why this is ironic.
The Quaker religion, started in England by George Fox in the 1600’s, came to America as part of the wave looking for religious freedom. Common beliefs of Quakers include that God is in every person, that God is actively available to guide your life, and a commitment to peace and simplicity.
What Quakers don’t do is gamble. 100% honesty in communication between people and in business transactions is the goal for Friends. In early America, Quaker businesses were known as stores where every person got the same price for goods – no haggling, or charging more to someone who could afford it – famous for the fact that people could even send their kids, who would be sent home bearing correct change. No lying, no deceit, no trying to get the better of anyone else.
An intrinsic part of poker is deception. And the whole idea of gambling – lotteries, raffles – is to get something “for nothing.” A $1 ticket for the chance to win a car or $100 million is thought to be an unfair exchange.
As well, gambling is thought to take focus away from the spiritual life. Quakers believe that simplicity in life activities, possessions, etc., gives a person time for a spiritual life.
Do you meditate or pray or help the less fortunate for as many hours as you play poker??
Please don’t read that question as judgmental!! Read it as what Quakers call a query – an invitation to consider an issue.