Dan Seeger to Speak to Newtown Quakers  About “The U.S. Constitution and the Quaker Quest for a New Jerusalem”

Dan Seeger, Quaker activist and writer, will speak on “The U.S. Constitution and the Quaker Quest for a New Jerusalem” at the Newtown Meetinghouse, at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 10.  Following the presentation, there will be worship in the manner of Friends at 11:00 a.m., with people speaking out of silence as they are moved to do so.  The public is welcome at all events.

Dan Seeger recently found himself installed in the National Constitution Center as part of a new permanent exhibit about the First Amendment.  The new exhibit references the Supreme Court Case of the USA vs Seeger, which resolved a freedom of religion issue related to conscientious objection.

Recalling the early Quaker aspiration for a new, just society, which Quaker founder George Fox often referred to as a “New Jerusalem,” Dan will compare this Quaker vision with the provisions of the U.S, Constitution, drafted approximately 130 years later.

Daniel A. Seeger’s application in the 1960s for conscientious objector status foundered on his inability to assert belief in a Supreme Being.  

As the Selective Service System became more aggressive in its determination to induct him into military service, a college friend suggested: “You should look up the Quakers.  They may be able to help you.”  Dan found his way to the New York office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where he was provided draft counseling. 

Out of this developed the Supreme Court case of the United States of America vs. Daniel A. Seeger where, in a unanimous decision in 1965, the Supreme Court sided with Dan Seeger, and the Supreme Being question was removed from the form for conscientious objectors.

In the course of receiving draft counseling Dan became interested in Friends), abandoned physics, served on the AFSC staff for 29 years and became a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  Dan later served as Executive Director of the Quaker retreat center, Pendle Hill, in Chester County, and served on the AFSC’s Board of Directors and as Interim General Secretary of the AFSC. 

Dan was also active in Friends World Committee for Consultation, serving as Clerk of its Interim Committee and as presiding clerk at the World Conference of Friends held in Kenya in 1991. Dan writes frequently on topics of interest to Friends and has authored two Pendle Hill pamphlets and articles in Friends Journal, Quaker Life, and Quaker Religious Thought.  

Dan has an adopted son, Kevin Sary, a daughter-in-law, Paula Sary, and two grandchildren, Serena and Timothy Sary.  He is married to Tom Goodridge and, with Tom, is a member of Morningside Friends Meeting (New York Yearly Meeting).  He divides his time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Manhattan.

Newtown Friends Meeting, co-founded by the Quaker artist and minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, holds services every First Day (Sunday).  During the school year, First Day classes for children and adults are at 9:45 a.m. and Meeting for Worship is at 11:00 a.m. Professional childcare is provided. All meetings are open to the public and visitors are warmly welcomed.

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