Wednesday, January 9, 2008

quakers and chocolate and richard nixon

by Mangesh - January 2, 2008

...Pacifism, abolitionism and tolerance have always seemed like good ideas to me. And I’m a total sucker for Quaker Oats packaging. But the fact is, aside from William Penn and Betsy Ross, I really don’t know that many famous Quakers. So I decided to look ‘em up. Here’s what I found...

John Cadbury

If you love Cadbury’s chocolates, you definitely owe a note of thanks to the Society of Friends. As a young man, Cadbury hoped to pursue a career in medicine or law. But because Quakers were discriminated against by all of the major universities at the time, John decided to focus on business. Believing that alcohol only exacerbated society’s ills, Cadbury decided to focus on a happy alternative: chocolate and drinking cocoas. In addition to his views on temperance, Cadbury was also a bit of an activist. He led a campaign to stop the use of boys as chimney sweeps, and he founded an organization to prevent animal cruelty.

Richard Nixon

With all the nation making such a big deal about Kennedy being a Catholic, it’s interesting to note that old Milhous Nixon was born and raised Quaker. According to the web, his strict mother instilled conservative Quaker values in him (no swearing, drinking or dancing). When he couldn’t afford to go to Harvard (despite earning a scholarship there), he attended Whitter- a local Quaker college where he became class President, started a frat, practiced with the football team, and even spent his Sundays teaching Sunday school to little tykes. The most interesting part of his faith to me, though, isn’t that the non-violent doctrine conflicted with his personal views on Vietnam, but rather that his straightlaced upbringing hindered his ability to communicate as a family lawyer. According to wikipedia, “He later wrote that family law cases caused him particular discomfort, since his reticent Quaker upbringing was severely at odds with the idea of discussing intimate marital details with strangers.”

for more, click here to read Richard Nixon and 12 Other Celebrity Quakers

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