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Author Topic: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??  (Read 1226 times)

goblin-queen

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Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« on: December 03, 2020, 11:43:22 am »
Ok this is gonna be a wild ride, so buckle in.

Some background; I've been interesting in writing letters to inmates for a while, after some research I came across Prison Fellowship. I did some digging on their website to find out what they're all about, so I knew from the get-go that it was a Christian-run charity. Fair enough. They offer a range of services that run the gamete of secular to religious. At least so I thought.

I decided they seemed like a sound place to volunteer for so I had a look at the application form and hoo boy they really lean hard into their faith.

The form starts off innocently enough then suddenly bam!! in busts Jesus.

The About Me section says: 'Tell us about yourself! What gifts, skills and experiences do you feel God has given you that you would bring to your volunteering role?'

It actually says that.

But wait, it gets better. There is an entire section on personal faith alone. Or more specifically they want to know just how Christian you are.

It asks:
- Why you became a Christian. Not remotely personal or anything.
- What Jesus means to you. Again not at all personal.
- Your church's address.
- Your denomination.

I understand if your local church is working in tandem with Prison Fellowship they would need the address so that they had a point of contact. Similarly, if you're volunteering as a Chaplain I understand why listing your denomination may be important.

However, there is no mention of any other faith, or an option to identify as non-religious. It also beggars belief that be a prison pen-pal requires a faith at all.

But the cherry on top is the statement at the very end that all volunteers have to agree to.

'We ask all volunteers to sign up to a mainstream Christian statement of faith, the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*the true Christian church of all times and all places (catholic meaning universal)'


I even emailed them to express my confusion, quite a lengthy email at that, and all I got back was 'why don't you try a different charity?'

Like how is it possible that a registered charity is able to so blatantly display a religious preference?? How is it any different to implying preference to a certain age group or ethnicity. I mean they don't outright say it, but the subtext is there- Christians only.
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Re: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2020, 11:54:45 am »
Ok this is gonna be a wild ride, so buckle in.

Some background; I've been interesting in writing letters to inmates for a while, after some research I came across Prison Fellowship. I did some digging on their website to find out what they're all about, so I knew from the get-go that it was a Christian-run charity. Fair enough. They offer a range of services that run the gamete of secular to religious. At least so I thought.

I decided they seemed like a sound place to volunteer for so I had a look at the application form and hoo boy they really lean hard into their faith.

The form starts off innocently enough then suddenly bam!! in busts Jesus.

The About Me section says: 'Tell us about yourself! What gifts, skills and experiences do you feel God has given you that you would bring to your volunteering role?'

It actually says that.

But wait, it gets better. There is an entire section on personal faith alone. Or more specifically they want to know just how Christian you are.

It asks:
- Why you became a Christian. Not remotely personal or anything.
- What Jesus means to you. Again not at all personal.
- Your church's address.
- Your denomination.

I understand if your local church is working in tandem with Prison Fellowship they would need the address so that they had a point of contact. Similarly, if you're volunteering as a Chaplain I understand why listing your denomination may be important.

However, there is no mention of any other faith, or an option to identify as non-religious. It also beggars belief that be a prison pen-pal requires a faith at all.

But the cherry on top is the statement at the very end that all volunteers have to agree to.

'We ask all volunteers to sign up to a mainstream Christian statement of faith, the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*the true Christian church of all times and all places (catholic meaning universal)'


I even emailed them to express my confusion, quite a lengthy email at that, and all I got back was 'why don't you try a different charity?'

Like how is it possible that a registered charity is able to so blatantly display a religious preference?? How is it any different to implying preference to a certain age group or ethnicity. I mean they don't outright say it, but the subtext is there- Christians only.

It's unfortunate, but not at all surprising, to me anyway.  Years ago, I was head of a group wherein our local goth scene got together to fundraise for charity, and the largest battered women's shelter in town refused to work with us or accept any donations to us because in their view, the goth subculture "Proposed an alternative to a good Christian lifestyle".  I made sure to tell them that when they accosted me for donations outside the grocery store a few months later---if my money wasn't good enough for them when combined with my religiously diverse friends-group, they sure had no business accepting it from me alone.  Sad that victims in need should suffer for their arrogance, though.

Anon100

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Re: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2020, 02:43:26 pm »
Like how is it possible that a registered charity is able to so blatantly display a religious preference?? How is it any different to implying preference to a certain age group or ethnicity. I mean they don't outright say it, but the subtext is there- Christians only.

I'm not sure but I'd hope that, that would be seriously illegal here ( in the Uk ), what with the Data Protection Act.
It strikes me as seriously wrong. I recall the parable of the good samaritan as being about how being kind shouldn't be defined by any outward traits but, rather, how they act, so it feels ( to someone who's not Catholic or Christian ) like an unChristian thing too.

Also, that last item seems to block CofE and other nonCatholic Chrislians as well.

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Re: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2020, 05:28:00 pm »
Also, that last item seems to block CofE and other nonCatholic Chrislians as well.

Not at all. As noted in the quote itself, this is small-c catholic (meaning 'universal'), not capital-C Catholic; the word is part of the Apostles' Creed as used by CofE and other denominations.

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Re: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2020, 08:16:33 pm »
I'm not sure but I'd hope that, that would be seriously illegal here ( in the Uk )

On the face of it yeah I'd say that this'd be unlawful here under the Equality Act 2010, with religion/belief being firmly there as one of the nine protected characteristics.  (However there are a whole lot of subsections, clauses & caveats and I've no legal training so I don't like to say for certain, as someone with a legal background might be able to read more into it and espy loophole potential.)  And of course that is just here in the UK, I've no idea about other parts of the world.

Sure sounds unreasonable to me, though.

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Re: Religious Discrimination From a Charity??
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2021, 12:13:16 pm »

However, there is no mention of any other faith, or an option to identify as non-religious. It also beggars belief that be a prison pen-pal requires a faith at all.

I mean, it's because they're not a charity - they're a proslytising organisation, and they want you to be Christian because the idea is that people languishing in prison are ripe for conversion. Just like those lovely "make a box of presents for deprived children" charities you get round here, that put religious literature in the boxes. Shudder.

Look for another prison penpal charity, I would...
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