Friday, September 4, 2009

Quaker defamation lawsuit

I am dismayed by a Friend who has chosen to pursue (indeed, re-open) a defamation lawsuit, "seeking justice," which sounds very close to seeking retribution. Yes, Friend Scott Savage was unjustly attacked while suggesting books for the first-year reading list at Ohio - Mansfield. The books he suggested certainly would have provided fodder for discussion & opened up learning opportunities, even if he did suggest them "tongue-in-cheek." Yet it has been reported that no one spoke up about academic freedom (a.k.a. the right to free speech) or in opposition to censorship. All lamentable--all of which OSU faculty & staff need to address. Those who wrote the hate-filled emails should apologize publicly & in written form. Yet Savage chose to take a leave of absence and to resign.

As Friends, we are urged to abstain from lawsuits, and to try to settle disputes by arbitration. We strive to live simply, & to reflect on the ways in which we gain our income. Why would a Plain Friend seek $150,000? I pray that Friend Scott will strive to make his yea be yea and his nay be nay, providing an example for his former colleagues who were not able to do so. Many lawsuits are a type of interpersonal violence. Whereas Friends try to overcome the emotions that lie at the root of violence and instead nurture a spirit of reconciliation and love.

Ohio Yearly Meeting's 2nd Query includes: "Do we cherish a forgiving spirit, and strive to 'walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us'? Is each one of us careful for the reputation of others? Are we ever mindful to love our neighbor as ourselves?" []

Reach out to the other parties in the conflict with courage and love, Friend. Seek an apology, not monetary compensation. Seek reconciliation, answer that of God in thy former colleagues.

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