The other day in a Washington Times article there is a discussion about peace church colleges working through questions about whether to employ armed guards for student protection. Two Church of the Brethren schools have recently decided to authorize their guards to carry firearms. Given the catastrophic campus shootings of Virgina Tech and Northern Illinois University, not to mention all the other school shootings in recent years, it’s not hard to see why this is becoming an important question to address (even though statistically these campus crimes have been decreasing in the last ten years). In the article they also mention two Quaker colleges: Guilford and Earlham, both of which do not have armed guards but do have good working relationship with local law enforcement who understand their position on the matter. This is also true for Mennonite Goshen college in Indiana where our former pastor is president. I like what Donald Kraybill had to say about it:
This may be old news for some of you but last week Quaker Wendy Gonaver, an American Studies professor at Cal State Fullerton here in LA, was fired for refusing to sign the loyalty oath.
The LA Times reports:
As a Quaker from Pennsylvania and a lifelong pacifist, Gonaver objected to the California oath as an infringement of her rights of free speech and religious freedom. She offered to sign the pledge if she could attach a brief statement expressing her views, a practice allowed by other state institutions. But Cal State Fullerton rejected her statement and insisted that she sign the oath if she wanted the job.
“I wanted it on record that I am a pacifist,” said Gonaver, 38. “I was really upset. I didn’t expect to be fired. I was so shocked that I had to do this.”
This is the second time in the last year that a Quaker woman has been fired from a teaching Job in California for this reason. I personally am inspired by their witness in this situation, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. But I have reflected on how I would like to respond if I were in their position. I certainly hope to teach someday, and I wonder if I would be able to lay my job on the line for something I too believe it.