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Readings for Reflection: June 2015
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel


Causes Not Yet Won

Raymond Wilson was reared on the family farm near Morning Sun, Iowa, and served in the Navy at the beginning of WW I. He soon became convinced that war was not the way to solve conflict, so he went to work for the American Friends Service Committee. As the country seemed destined to enter yet another global conflict, in 1942 he became a key player in the Friends War Problems Committee, which morphed into the Friends Committee on National Legislation in the following year.

Raymond believed that “there is no use being good without trying to be effective,” so he felt it important that Friends have a long-term voice in Washington. He set the course and tone for FCNL until his retirement in 1962.With the following, he summed up his life and work in the final chapter of his autobiography,
Thus Far on My Journey.
                                                                                                       ~ Thomas Taylor



My life has been spent on controversial questions – the only ones worth investing one’s life in. The resolutions of conflict demand our best endeavors. We can never eliminate conflict in a crowded, competitive, sinful, selfish world but we can improve our methods of solving conflict, and we can abolish war as the method of meeting conflict.

The search for peace must be accelerated. Mankind has to quit destroying the treasures of the past and the prospects of the future by mass mutual suicide. Our allegiances, our institutions, and our loving concerns must be worldwide.

I used to describe myself – with a touch of irony – as a champion of “lost causes.” But a friend of mine interrupted me and said, “No, as a champion of causes not yet won.”

The association with hundreds of colleagues in scores and scores of organizations has been very rewarding. Lobbying has brought me into contact with a great variety of men and women in the House and Senate on a wide range of issues. I regret that I haven’t taken the time to develop much closer personal ties with more elected and appointed officials who were struggling with difficult and far?reaching decisions, and who would disappoint and grieve many people whatever decision they made on a given issue.

Too often I have been given credit for things which my colleagues have done. Too often I have been silent when I should have spoken out. Sometimes I’ve spoken when I should have listened. But I am thankful that my life has been led by God into various crusades for ending war and promoting peace and cooperation, for ministering to the hungry and disadvantaged, for upholding the rights of those discriminated against, and for trying to speak in behalf of men and women and children around the world who have no voice in Washington except that of their concerned fellow men, about the decisions of our government which affect their welfare and may determine their lives. May our minds and hearts be dedicated to those causes not yet won but whose time has come.


E. Raymond Wilson, p. 301, Thus Far on My Journey, Friends United Press, Richmond, IN, 1976

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