We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us rom a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
Our historic peace testimony is a living testimony, as we work to give concrete expression to our ideals, often in opposition to prevailing opinion. We recognize that the peace testimony requires us to honor that of God in every person, and therefore to avoid not only physical violence but also more subtle forms, whether psychological, economic, or systemic.
As part of a class on Quakerism, middle school students at the Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, NY were asked to put the declaration in their own words. Sixth graders Elliot Grant and Catie Colvson-Bucher wrote these:
We totally disagree to all national wars, or battles, and fighting with all weapons. We will not go to war for any reason at all. This is the spirit of the Light which can’t be changed, which will not lead us to evil but will lead us to goodness. And we totally understand and say to the world that since the Light will lead us to do good things, we will never fight against another man.