This is the sixth in a series of Reflections posts about Quaker testimonies.
Like the other Quaker testimonies, the Equality testimony has its foundation in the belief that there is that of God in everyone.
On their website, the Lincoln Quaker Meeting in England says “Equality is the acceptance that everyone is equal and every person has the right to be respected.”
Friends believe this means equality for everyone, regardless of their religion, race, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, or ability.
Another aspect of equality that has long been important to Quakers is the fair and humane treatment of prisoners. Early Quakers were often imprisoned for their beliefs. They knew from firsthand experience that conditions in jails were frequently terrible.
Friends Elizabeth Fry and Richard Wiston were two of the early Quakers who started working for prison reforms. That is a mission that continues today for many Quaker organizations, including the Alternatives to Violence Project, which was started by Quakers.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting sums up equality this way:
treating everyone, everywhere, as equally precious to God; recognizing that everyone has gifts to share.