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Sunday, July 01, 2007

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Blog Against Theocracy
Recently my employer held a routine staff meeting, a usual occurrence. We were directly informed that an invited speaker was going to discuss Spiritualism, while being assured of a non-religious agenda. You see, I work for a nonprofit that is not religious, has ties to the state and provides services to the public. We are all different in my group, which makes us very respectful of each others private beliefs and private lives.

Never treading upon a coworker's or a client's individual beliefs, our job is to provide a "specific" human service and it is not, never has been, a religious one. Nor has our employer ever forced us to attend a meeting with a religious agenda aimed right at the staff, ever.

Our meetings have been held at a Temple and some of my client meetings have been held in meeting rooms at various churches, among anywhere else I can set up a comfortable atmosphere for my clients....having necessities like restroom facilities, telephones, fax machines and if lucky air conditioning or heat.

Well, you can see where I am going with this....it happened for the first time last week. As soon as the speaker said the word 'Prayer' in the first part of their presentation, the meeting became religious. The word meditation was used a few times, too far into the presentation. And the agenda was to tell us - Staff - how to promote the subject of Spiritualism - Religion in this case -- into a client meeting!

"Thank Goodness" one long time coworker spoke up to share about how we have always approached our clients, with "Separation of church and state" in mind. It is a crucial part of what we do, who we are and how we do it. When asking the speaker how they would suggest use of the materials provided, to an Agnostic or an Atheist, they suggested changing the approach to meditation. Although I found this person to be extremely nice, I sort of felt sorry for them.

The air became stifled in the room and many of us became very guarded. Something that the speaker did while trying to get us flowing in their way of thinking struck me as odd. When we weren't responding to their stories about 9-11, weren't leaning forward and flapping our hands with questions, not making any sound at all, they proceeded to share a story about a plane load of people and how they all could've been killed because of the fuel supply nearby.

With each sentence becoming more inflected with tone of voice. The speakers voice became insistent that people would've died, as if they did die.

So strange. Where have I heard this before? And the speaker emphasized several times how when there was a crisis anywhere that all people wanted to do was Pray, with someone. I got the feeling that I was in a room of POD people, people I have known for years, especially when one of my long time coworkers exclaimed how they try to introduce the subject of Spiritualism -- their interpretation means religion, my interpretation means something else -- into their meeting with clients.

The speaker offered up a mini library of books they brought, at the end of their presentation, including a Bible.

I have always found my agency open and extremely diverse, our speakers have always come to share their experience's with us. This is the first time we were forced (mandatory meeting) to listen to a speaker that told us how to use religious discussion with our clients. This is very different from a client prompting a religious conversation.

As with everyone, we in my field must listen respectfully, hear what's not being said as well as how it is being said and then assist professionally and attentively by referring that individual appropriately. This helps Us as staff to Not become the very thing that would Separate us from all other clients. Just my individual opinion.

"With different beliefs, different backgrounds and diverse lives; it underscores why our nation should always be a nation of United States, Not a Nation of united churches. Churches must only be, always be, a part of the social collage of our nation, never the governing influence of state or state law. I have always believed in... Separation of Church and State."

From Freedom First..... Invite your friends to sign the First Freedom First petition.
Thanks so much for signing the petition -- your support makes a real difference. There is one more critical thing you can do to help right now: send a message to your friends and family asking them to join you in standing up for the first freedom. You can use the message below, or write your own.

First Freedom First website and ask them to sign the petition.


PS...For AOL users or maybe it was just MY IP, if you get "Your IP has been banned from signing this petition" after filling out the petition, go to Mozilla Firefox to complete the petition.


UPDATE...Just got an email message from First Freedom First: Thanks for your message. We have taken note of this error, which has happened to a small number of folks over the weekend, and we hope to correct it soon. Thank you for taking the time to report this issue to us. Sincerely, First Freedom First



Racism IS the Answer ~ "Explain the Inequity" was the Question Saturday, June 30, 2007 By Awakening
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3 Comments:

Blogger Batocchio said...

That's an interesting, troubling story. My reaction is that this speaker was well-intentioned but misguided. That's different from a full-blown theocrat, but it's still something that needs to be addressed, however delicately.

July 06, 2007 7:13 PM  
Blogger Awakening said...

You are right!

We have some pretty telling examples playing out right here in Minnesota. As to how an overtly theocratically minded person in power can topple what was thought to be a solid foundation. One of the most infamous is our recently appointed US Attorney Rachel Paulose.

http://minneapolisconfidential.blogspot.com/2007/05/heffelfinger-paulose-minnesota-us.html

My meeting is probably one of a million subtle examples, as to how the subject is brought into the work place, everyday.

There is one state office where a small group of state employee's use the break room for their bible meeting, that I was assigned to for about one year. The Manager (state employee) has encouraged this activity.

May seem harmless to some, one little state office that serves the public. But to me it is a blurring of that line that separates Church and State.

The church that this small group is associated with is one that is linked to the well known fundamentalists who stand on the bible to preach against anyone who is different.

We, in my agency, filled with advocates and activists for all people, were so taken aback by the meeting that we are still having a difficult time with it.

No one is ready to talk about it in the open, yet.

Thanks for your words of wisdom, I will remember them.

PS...if you are interested in reading the chronicles of Michele Bachmann -- a far right-wing religious extremist from MN, please visit Dump Michele Bachmann at http://dumpbachmann.blogspot.com/

July 06, 2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger Awakening said...

Dump Michele Bachmann

US Attorney Rachel Paulose

July 07, 2007 11:17 AM  

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