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Two Angels to Go
One of the Shakers’ last three members died Monday. The storied sect is verging on extinction.

Quirt Evans (John Wayne): [reads the plaque on the wall] "Each human being has an integrity that can be hurt only by the act of that same human being and not by the act of another human being."

Quirt Evans: Is that Quaker stuff?

Penelope Worth (Gail Russell): Uh huh.

Quirt Evans: You mean nobody can hurt you but yourself?

Penelope Worth: That's a Friend's belief.

Quirt Evans: Well, supposin' someone whacks you over the head with a branding iron? Won't that hurt?

Penelope Worth: Physically, of course. But in reality it would injure only the person doing the act of force of violence. Only the doer can be hurt by a mean or evil act.

Quirt Evans: Are there very many of you Quakers?

Penelope Worth: Very few.

Quirt Evans: I sort of figured that.

Angel and the Badman, 1947

“Contempt for sexuality is a crime against life.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

“The Pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to Humanity as is the most brutal wrong-doer.”

- President Theodore Roosevelt

“The last remaining community is Sabbathday Lake, which now has only two members. This is not a surprise. The Shakers practice celibacy, in addition to pacifism, equality of the sexes and communal ownership of property. As its members didn’t have children, the sect grew both by converting adults and by raising orphaned children and, when they reached the age of 18, giving them the option to remain a member of the sect or to leave the community. This helped it reach its mid-19th century, pre-Civil War height of around 5,000 members. Carr, for example, was taken in by the Shakers when she was 10 years old, because her parents couldn’t care for her, the AP reported. But as the communities ceased this practice — and not many, if any, adults were converting the unique way of life — the religious sect’s numbers began decreasing dramatically.”

Will the Shakers go the way of the Nestorians, the Arians, the Ophites and Catharism? It’s hard to imagine that a religion that preaches celibacy for its lay members would NOT eventually become extinct. It’s a wonder the Shakers lasted this long given that so many people in the country today are looking for ways to be "spiritual” without being “religious”. That is to say they want some way to get to heaven without having to give up fornication, adultery, sodomy, booze, drugs, dancing, swearing, smoking, chewing snuff, gambling, porn, immodest clothing, birth control, divorce, abortion, rock and roll music and/or whatever their favorite vice happens to be. At the same time even believers have grown weary of this silly notion promulgated by sects like the Shakers that you have to be a gullible, pacifist doormat to be considered a good Christian. If that’s the price of admission small wonder people are opting out. However, Jesus said you should love your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t say you had to like him and want to hang out with him. He didn’t say if someone cuts off your left hand you should offer him your right or if someone rapes your wife you should offer him your daughter. The Scriptures don’t support being suicidal, pathologically altruistic and failing to protect the innocent and vulnerable members of your community from criminal attack either. They don’t even say you have to show endless patience to people who make themselves a burden to you (Mathew 18:15-18 KJV; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 NIV; Matthew 15:21-28 NIV). So goodbye Shakers. “Well done, good and faithful servant”, but it would appear God has moved on and it’s a new era with new challenges to overcome.

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