Woolman’s spirituality and ending slavery

John WoolmanJohn Woolman was a Quaker preacher who fought for the abolition of slavery in North America in the 18th Century. Toan Nguyen, parish priest of Ashbury in Sydney, looks at his life and some implications for spirituality today.     

At the first US presidential debate in late September last year, when the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, challenged her political opponent, now President-elect Donald Trump, for refusing to release his tax returns and for boasting that he did not pay federal income taxes, Trump snapped, ‘that makes me smart’.

Smart? Sounds like the ‘Queen of Mean’, Leona Helmsley, who is notoriously remembered for this arrogant statement: We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes. Many Americans quickly sharpened their pens. Someone in Toledo, Ohio, quipped, ‘Toledo is the kind of place where people work hard, look after one another and, yes, pay their taxes’, while another said,
‘If we are ‘smart’ like Trump, we would be billionaires!’

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