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Author Topic: anti-theist rally in my community  (Read 1639 times)

Aett of Cups

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anti-theist rally in my community
« on: August 03, 2013, 11:26:33 pm »
Several days ago, I got a facebook invitation to an event that claimed it was going to establish a "positive presence" in my community.  The invitation explained that people were encouraged to come to a public square on August 1st and be part of this positive atmosphere as long as they didn't show any sign of spirituality or politics.  For instance, I, as a pagan, would have been welcome to participate in the positivity so long as I didn't let anyone know that I was pagan.  I respectfully told the people on the invitation board that I would not be attending and that I found the event disrespectful and possibly illegal.  My comment was censored.  I messaged the project leader and was given a bland, one-line response that failed to answer any of my questions or points.  

Then I saw some pictures of the event - including a large Christian cross with a sign saying, "Jesus loves you!" on it standing above all of the other people and their signs.  In fact, this photo was proudly posted by the project leader - who, strangely enough, is a leader at the local UU.  So, as it turned out, some theists were welcome and others were not.

At this point, several local pagans are angry because they think I have no right to speak out against an event that promotes positivity.  Most of you (if you're lucky) don't live in my community and don't know who I am even if you do.  What do you think?  Is it stupid to be upset just because my family and a few friends were hurt by the rejection implied by this event or should I just focus on the fact that someone was trying to be positive and not complain?
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Jenett

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2013, 11:59:53 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;117811
Several days ago, I got a facebook invitation to an event that claimed it was going to establish a "positive presence" in my community.  The invitation explained that people were encouraged to come to a public square on August 1st and be part of this positive atmosphere as long as they didn't show any sign of spirituality or politics.  For instance, I, as a pagan, would have been welcome to participate in the positivity so long as I didn't let anyone know that I was pagan.  I respectfully told the people on the invitation board that I would not be attending and that I found the event disrespectful and possibly illegal.  My comment was censored.  I messaged the project leader and was given a bland, one-line response that failed to answer any of my questions or points.  

Then I saw some pictures of the event - including a large Christian cross with a sign saying, "Jesus loves you!" on it standing above all of the other people and their signs.  In fact, this photo was proudly posted by the project leader - who, strangely enough, is a leader at the local UU.  So, as it turned out, some theists were welcome and others were not.

At this point, several local pagans are angry because they think I have no right to speak out against an event that promotes positivity.  Most of you (if you're lucky) don't live in my community and don't know who I am even if you do.  What do you think?  Is it stupid to be upset just because my family and a few friends were hurt by the rejection implied by this event or should I just focus on the fact that someone was trying to be positive and not complain?

 
I have a tag on my journals and my online bookmark tools that reads : all.communities.have.politics.

Which I use for things that remind me that people in groups do some *weird* things sometimes. Also that, by and large, many of those weird things are not what I might prefer to do, but they're generally allowed to do them. As long as they label their things so that I can decide if I want to be there, we're doing fine.

It's hard to tell based on the information you provide above, but I'm curious why you think it'd be illegal to organise an event where people are asked not to mention religion? People get to organise private gatherings on whatever criteria they want (and even if an event is taking place in a public park or something like that, it's still a private gathering, not a governmental one, f'ex.

(Family reunions at a public park don't have to include non-family members. Group outdoor rituals at a public park don't have to include everyone who wanders by. Obviously, sensible people plan for random curiousity if they host events other people might wander into, but there's lots of ways to do that. Before you say something is illegal, you want to be careful you're right, because it will make people go on the defensive. Which makes them less likely to listen to you about the stuff that concerns you.)

Your approach is also not how I'd personally have handled it. In general, I look at invitations that aren't a good fit for me, and go "Meh, people are allowed to like football" or "Meh, people are allowed to organise events that don't mention religion or politics" or "Meh, people are allowed to be absurdly fannish about [whatever]", that's not my thing, but they get to do it. I don't have to go if I don't want to.

Also, groups get to decide what messages appear on public spaces like Facebook. It is not censorship to remove your comment from, say, their Facebook wall - you have tons of other places, like your comment here, or your own Facebook, to make your own statements. Removing statements is problematic in *other* ways (I am of a generation of being on the 'Net where it makes me wonder what else I'm not seeing and what else people are deleting), but saying 'censorship' is a kind of escalation that may not help your larger concerns.

Anyway. Back to the invite. There are hundreds of events going on near me that I'm not going to go to, and I'm not going to comment about (and I live in a pretty rural area.) I would bring it up only if I were nudged about it, or if not going and not saying something would impact other relationships (for example, if this was a group that I was collaborating on a project with, or where I knew some of the organizers, or whatever.) But in that case, I'd keep it mild, and say "Hey, I just prefer not to go to social events where I have to hide my religion and my commitment to it, so I won't be making it to yours."  

Which, for people who actually know me, is both pretty obvious and pretty non-scary: I don't wear obvious religious jewelry, and I certainly don't bring it up all the time. But I *am* a priestess, and I'm working on getting my stuff together for legal clergy status in my state, and I'm not going to lie about that if it comes up (and since it's sometimes relevant if the conversation turns to things like current reading or TV watching or even cooking, it's not unreasonable to think it might come up.)

Anyway. The thing that'd bother me about this event is seeing the photo *afterwards* - not all the stuff before that. (Because, again, people get to organise what they want) But people saying one thing and then allowing (and promoting via photograph) something that's so clearly against the original guidelines is something I'd see as rather problematic. I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy.

Again, though, not my event, so I'd stick with the mild "I'm a little confused about how you advertised it as X, and now I'm seeing photos of Y that don't seem to fit. How's that work?" But doing that kind of thing pretty much involves *not* having a big fuss up front, and having put people on the defensive already.

I'd also keep your commentary personal (i.e. specific to you and your feelings) as much as posssible. Again, people in groups and group identification do weird things, but you get to disagree with an event or raise concerns, and other people who identify as Pagan get to disagree with you. But you want to be *really* careful when you disagree that you're not coming across as speaking for other people, or they may, in fact, get legitimately cranky with you.

So, saying "I'm not comfortable with X" is highly preferable to "As a Pagan, I am deeply upset because X, and Paganism blah..." because that is going to imply (rightly or wrongly) that you're speaking for other people. Who may get cranky. Again, hard to tell from here exactly what happened, because insufficient detail.

On what to *do* about it - the thing that actually pops into my head is the advice blog Captain Awkward (http://captainawkward.com/) which has lots of scripts for how to have conversations that may go badly (on many many topics: it started out as an advice thing, and has grown from there.)

The blog's posters and comments all do a good job of breaking down why people hear some kinds of statements as problematic, and what you can do to avoid being heard like that (when working with more or less reasonable people: unreasonable people need different tactics.) And from a couple of your posts, I'm wondering if that's a general category of Stuff you might find interesting.
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RandallS

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 08:20:38 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;117811
At this point, several local pagans are angry because they think I have no right to speak out against an event that promotes positivity.  Most of you (if you're lucky) don't live in my community and don't know who I am even if you do.  What do you think?  Is it stupid to be upset just because my family and a few friends were hurt by the rejection implied by this event or should I just focus on the fact that someone was trying to be positive and not complain?

The event sounds silly (to me) and apparently biased in its execution. I'd have no problems saying so if I lived in the community. If some other Pagans in the community don't like that I have an opinion and am excerising my First Amendment right to express it, they'll just have to get over it.
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mlr52

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 09:40:37 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;117811

Then I saw some pictures of the event - including a large Christian cross with a sign saying, "Jesus loves you!" on it standing above all of the other people and their signs.  In fact, this photo was proudly posted by the project leader - who, strangely enough, is a leader at the local UU.  So, as it turned out, some theists were welcome and others were not.

 

 
I am curious what does the UU stand for?
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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 08:04:38 am »
Quote from: mlr52;117834
I am curious what does the UU stand for?

Unitarian Universalism
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ALiteraryLady

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 10:40:48 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;117811


Then I saw some pictures of the event - including a large Christian cross with a sign saying, "Jesus loves you!" on it standing above all of the other people and their signs.  In fact, this photo was proudly posted by the project leader - who, strangely enough, is a leader at the local UU.  So, as it turned out, some theists were welcome and others were not.

 
Sounds like the leader of this project is a total dick and lacks an ability to be genuinely accepting of other beliefs, which as someone who knows several UU members and their level of acceptance, that isn't cool at all.

I think you have a right to be ticked off about this, and process the hurt feelings you have, but I sort of agree with the idea that being vocal about it anymore will only bring you more grief that relief. This guy sounds like he isn't being considerate and will only be a drain on you if you try to fight him. Let him have this battle, and focus on the war effort if you will.

mlr52

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 12:56:38 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;117811


Then I saw some pictures of the event - including a large Christian cross with a sign saying, "Jesus loves you!" on it standing above all of the other people and their signs.  In fact, this photo was proudly posted by the project leader - who, strangely enough, is a leader at the local UU.  So, as it turned out, some theists were welcome and others were not.

 

 
Not so strange, unless the leader was a Credentialed UU Minister.  Each UU group has things they do not want to deal with.  Some are liberal with a fundamentalist christian slant.
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Aett of Cups

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 12:48:22 am »
Quote from: Jenett;117816
I have a tag on my journals and my online bookmark tools that reads : all.communities.have.politics.

Which I use for things that remind me that people in groups do some *weird* things sometimes. Also that, by and large, many of those weird things are not what I might prefer to do, but they're generally allowed to do them. As long as they label their things so that I can decide if I want to be there, we're doing fine.

It's hard to tell based on the information you provide above, but I'm curious why you think it'd be illegal to organise an event where people are asked not to mention religion? People get to organise private gatherings on whatever criteria they want (and even if an event is taking place in a public park or something like that, it's still a private gathering, not a governmental one, f'ex.

(Family reunions at a public park don't have to include non-family members. Group outdoor rituals at a public park don't have to include everyone who wanders by. Obviously, sensible people plan for random curiousity if they host events other people might wander into, but there's lots of ways to do that. Before you say something is illegal, you want to be careful you're right, because it will make people go on the defensive. Which makes them less likely to listen to you about the stuff that concerns you.)

Your approach is also not how I'd personally have handled it. In general, I look at invitations that aren't a good fit for me, and go "Meh, people are allowed to like football" or "Meh, people are allowed to organise events that don't mention religion or politics" or "Meh, people are allowed to be absurdly fannish about [whatever]", that's not my thing, but they get to do it. I don't have to go if I don't want to.

Also, groups get to decide what messages appear on public spaces like Facebook. It is not censorship to remove your comment from, say, their Facebook wall - you have tons of other places, like your comment here, or your own Facebook, to make your own statements. Removing statements is problematic in *other* ways (I am of a generation of being on the 'Net where it makes me wonder what else I'm not seeing and what else people are deleting), but saying 'censorship' is a kind of escalation that may not help your larger concerns.

Anyway. Back to the invite. There are hundreds of events going on near me that I'm not going to go to, and I'm not going to comment about (and I live in a pretty rural area.) I would bring it up only if I were nudged about it, or if not going and not saying something would impact other relationships (for example, if this was a group that I was collaborating on a project with, or where I knew some of the organizers, or whatever.) But in that case, I'd keep it mild, and say "Hey, I just prefer not to go to social events where I have to hide my religion and my commitment to it, so I won't be making it to yours."  

Which, for people who actually know me, is both pretty obvious and pretty non-scary: I don't wear obvious religious jewelry, and I certainly don't bring it up all the time. But I *am* a priestess, and I'm working on getting my stuff together for legal clergy status in my state, and I'm not going to lie about that if it comes up (and since it's sometimes relevant if the conversation turns to things like current reading or TV watching or even cooking, it's not unreasonable to think it might come up.)

Anyway. The thing that'd bother me about this event is seeing the photo *afterwards* - not all the stuff before that. (Because, again, people get to organise what they want) But people saying one thing and then allowing (and promoting via photograph) something that's so clearly against the original guidelines is something I'd see as rather problematic. I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy.

Again, though, not my event, so I'd stick with the mild "I'm a little confused about how you advertised it as X, and now I'm seeing photos of Y that don't seem to fit. How's that work?" But doing that kind of thing pretty much involves *not* having a big fuss up front, and having put people on the defensive already.

I'd also keep your commentary personal (i.e. specific to you and your feelings) as much as posssible. Again, people in groups and group identification do weird things, but you get to disagree with an event or raise concerns, and other people who identify as Pagan get to disagree with you. But you want to be *really* careful when you disagree that you're not coming across as speaking for other people, or they may, in fact, get legitimately cranky with you.

So, saying "I'm not comfortable with X" is highly preferable to "As a Pagan, I am deeply upset because X, and Paganism blah..." because that is going to imply (rightly or wrongly) that you're speaking for other people. Who may get cranky. Again, hard to tell from here exactly what happened, because insufficient detail.

On what to *do* about it - the thing that actually pops into my head is the advice blog Captain Awkward (http://captainawkward.com/) which has lots of scripts for how to have conversations that may go badly (on many many topics: it started out as an advice thing, and has grown from there.)

The blog's posters and comments all do a good job of breaking down why people hear some kinds of statements as problematic, and what you can do to avoid being heard like that (when working with more or less reasonable people: unreasonable people need different tactics.) And from a couple of your posts, I'm wondering if that's a general category of Stuff you might find interesting.


Sorry it took so long to answer.  I thought I was automatically subscribed to threads I'd made, but I forgot to test the theory.  My bad.

I don't know enough about the law to say for sure, but I would assume that telling people they can't express their spirituality in a public square would constitute a violation of the First Amendment.  The anti-theists have the right to express their opinions if they don't impede anyone, but could they tell someone, for instance, that they have to take off their ankh or Star of David or prayer wheel to pass through the square?

I appreciate learning how other people would handle things; I find people interesting.  But I disagree.  I seldom take a "meh" stance.  I tend to be a very vocal (though also very peaceful) person.

I was addressing censorship as a matter of ethics, not policy.  They may have been allowed to delete my message, but I think it was unethical of them.

Fascinating!  I speak up quite easily, but I'd never discuss my spiritual progress (with titles such as "Priest") in public.  I follow an egalitarian spiritual path and feel it's up to people to determine whether or not I'm qualified for my calling apart from degrees and hierarchies.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your path - just describing mine and noting an interesting difference.

In terms of the seekers who complained to me, all of them know that I have a very strict confidentiality policy regarding any consult or potential consult (or just gossip).  And, even with the being very apparent, I asked if I might mention their concerns so long as I didn't mention any of their names.  I received permission from everyone I asked.  You are, however, quite right to bring up the point.  I've known several ministers who lost trust due to carelessness about privacy issues.  I also never claimed to represent all pagans, even local ones.  In fact, though the reasons confuse me, a number of local pagans are involved in the event and willingly give up their spiritual identities each Friday night to participate.

Captain Awkward sounds cool.  I'll check it out.

I'm assuming you're saying I'm generally tactless.  If so, I'm not 100% about the allusion - just tell me I'm tactless.  You won't bother me.
 
Quote from: ALiteraryLady;117932
Sounds like the leader of this project is a total dick and lacks an ability to be genuinely accepting of other beliefs, which as someone who knows several UU members and their level of acceptance, that isn't cool at all.

I think you have a right to be ticked off about this, and process the hurt feelings you have, but I sort of agree with the idea that being vocal about it anymore will only bring you more grief that relief. This guy sounds like he isn't being considerate and will only be a drain on you if you try to fight him. Let him have this battle, and focus on the war effort if you will.


I wrote a response to a local newspaper article praising the event a few weeks back.  I haven't said anything since then.  I do understand (although I don't always like it) that I've got to pick (or, sometimes, limit) my battles.
 
Quote from: mlr52;117948
Not so strange, unless the leader was a Credentialed UU Minister.  Each UU group has things they do not want to deal with.  Some are liberal with a fundamentalist christian slant.


Actually, the event turned out not to be led by a UU.  I can't say anymore without revealing who the person who originally claimed leadership is to anyone who might live in my community, but I did want to make that clear.  The person who runs it actually began it with mostly young people because she has thirteen children; events like this are easy for her to start.  And I don't care if you know who she is because she's open in public about leading the "positive presence" event.

Although my public remarks about this event have ceased, I appreciate the input.  It was helpful to be able to vent a bit at the time and fascinating to see the different opinions that the pagans here (WAY smarter than the average pagan in my community, in my humble opinion) would express.

If I had my way, I'd create a counter-protest that embraced religious and a-religious tolerance.  I'd make signs that say things like, "It doesn't matter what your philosophy or spirituality is, you are worthy of love."  Unfortunately, I can't drive to get to the event, and I'm not sure that I'd feel comfortable in that part of town on a Friday night anyway.  It's pretty despicable that the kids are there, but CPS in Missouri isn't about to give a damn until you bring them a small corpse.
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Jenett

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2013, 03:50:07 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;120583

I don't know enough about the law to say for sure, but I would assume that telling people they can't express their spirituality in a public square would constitute a violation of the First Amendment.  The anti-theists have the right to express their opinions if they don't impede anyone, but could they tell someone, for instance, that they have to take off their ankh or Star of David or prayer wheel to pass through the square?


It's a First Amendment issue, but in the opposite direction you're thinking.

First, the First Amendment is about what the *government* can do - it doesn't cover non-governmental groups. Second, what the First Amendment *also* includes (as determined by various case law) is the freedom of association.

Which is to say: the First Amendment says the government can't (generally) remove your right to say something. They do not have to provide a place for you to say it (except that they can't allow some groups and limit others, except by using the same criteria for everyone - so, say, a permit for a gathering is fine, for safety reasons, but 'we like your topic so you get a permit, but we don't like your topic, so you don't get a permit' is not fine, legally.)

But the First Amendment case law also says "People get to form the groups they want to, and as long as it's not breaking other laws, they can be stupid about it if they want to." (It is worth noting that most of the breakthroughs in civil rights or gender law came about because of government *funding* issues - i.e. the government providing funds or resources to a group - rather than via freedom of association issues.)

Which is to say: if people want to have a group of non-theists, they can. They are not required to be inclusive, and they are not required to provide a platform for speech they do not agree with. (Again, unless government run or funded, etc.)

Quote
I seldom take a "meh" stance.  I tend to be a very vocal (though also very peaceful) person.


I'm wondering how I could have made my examples clearer. My point isn't that I'm not a vocal person (I'm cheerfully vocal about many things!) The point is that there are - even in my rural community - thousands of people in my general area who are spending their time doing things that I don't really care about one way or the other.

(And it was lots and lots more things when I lived in a more densely populated area. If you have discovered some way to get more than 24 hours in your day, or to be in more than one place at exactly the same time, many people would like to know your secret.)

I do not care for football. I am very 'meh' about the idea of football. But if people want to go watch football or play football or talk about football? Sure. They get to do that. I am meh about that, but my being meh should not stop them.

Likewise, if people want to have religious or political gatherings of a kind I am meh about? They get to do that. As long as they're not trying to limit my chance to do the same (or other people's chance to do the same, subject to the usual 'stuff in community affects lots of people' sorts of standards) - well, that's fine.

Which is to say: in a few hours around here, there will be people going to Catholic services and Baptist services and Mormon services and Quaker services, and none of those are the thing I do about my Gods. I am intellectually interested in many of the related topics, but very 'meh' about the idea of going to specific services on my own (or at least more than very occasionally or without some particular reason.) But they get to do that. (And I get to stay home, and do my own stuff. Or go out and do my own stuff. Whatever.)

And if people want to do a gathering that they invite me to, but really is not a thing I can support? A lot of the time, I will probably be 'meh' about it unless it touches on a thing I care about specifically. (Because I've only got 24 hours in my day, and can only be in one place, and a bunch of my time and energy and attention goes to my job - which I am passionate about - and to other projects I'm already committed to and value.)  

Which is why I said that in the case you cited, with the information you provided, I would have gone "This is not a thing I'm interested in and I am clearly not their intended audience", maybe kept an eye out on the hypocrisy (which is a thing I *am* interested in, especially if done by people involved in projects I care about of my own), and gone about the couple of dozen other things I could cheerfully do with that afternoon that I felt more strongly about.

Quote
I was addressing censorship as a matter of ethics, not policy.  They may have been allowed to delete my message, but I think it was unethical of them.


See, this is a thing: censorship is actually a term with specific legal meaning. (And, in the legal term, a private org isn't censoring you by removing your post on online space they manage.) I agree - and said explicitly - that it's problematic.

I point this out, because (hi, this is me being vocal) this is a thing that drives me up a wall: there are *lots* of ways to restrict communication, but most of them aren't actually censorship. Most of them are 'people making stupid decisions about online communication'. If we start calling stuff what it is, we stand a better chance of maybe fixing it.

Above and beyond that, accusing someone of censorship tends to immediately turn the conversation into 'I'm not censoring you, nyah, nyah', rather than a discussion of the actual thing you wish they'd stop doing. (in this case, having an apparently highly hypocritical event.) If you actually want to fix the *event* bit, saying 'censorship' is therefore derailing your own argument. Do you really want to do that?

Quote

Fascinating!  I speak up quite easily, but I'd never discuss my spiritual progress (with titles such as "Priest") in public.  I follow an egalitarian spiritual path and feel it's up to people to determine whether or not I'm qualified for my calling apart from degrees and hierarchies.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your path - just describing mine and noting an interesting difference.


You might be interested to note that the process by which I'm going to be seeking clergy ordination is entirely non-path-specific. My own particular tradition *does* consider me a priestess (and that was a process that involved both my own commitment to the obligations of that role within the tradition *and* other people in the tradition agreeing that I had the skills and experience to reasonably fill those obligations. I also consider myself a priestess of a specific deity, but that's a whole other definition of the word. I do usually use the term about myself ambiguously on purpose, though.)

I moved to Maine two years ago (and you can tell that this is not a *huge* worry in my life, because it's taken me two years to work up the legal part).

Maine used to have some problematic language on the books about having to demonstrate you had a stable congregation to be clergy (and to get state permission to marry people, visit them in hospital as a clergy member, act in prisons as a chaplain, and so on.) They've fixed that, but the Maine Pagan Clergy Association in the meantime built a process that is basically "Explain why you identify as Pagan" and "Explain what clergy means to you, why you want to have legal recognition, and what skills/experiences you have that you think are important to that."

They don't have a set standard of requirements (because they want it to be not path specific, and because they want it to be flexible and not, just, say limited to people who hold public ritual, or run public events, or teach, or any other specific thing.) But they need the explanation to make sense and to have adequate documentation that what you tell them and reality match up sufficiently. (So if I claim specific training, I can expect they might ask me for references about that. If I say I've learned a lot from running sizeable Pagan events, they might ask to talk to people I've worked with.)

(I have been slow to deal with the legal part because mostly I don't care about marrying people or visiting them in prison or hospital. But I do care about having a community of peers, and maybe starting teaching more actively again, and so on, and going through the process makes it easier for other people in the state to get more information about what I might be able to help them with and/or interested in doing. Also, it'll be good for me to lay it out for people unfamiliar with my background.)

Anyway. Being a priestess is part of my identity. I might or might not say it in any given conversation. But it's about as likely that I'll say it as I'll say that I'm a librarian. Or a computer geek. Or generally involved in fandom. Or a musician. Asking me not to bring up an important facet of my internal and external life is not something I do casually. And given that I likely have a couple of dozen other things I could do with that time, it takes a really unusual event for me to agree to limit what I might talk about in that way.

(In practice, I don't talk about religion at work, but it's because of the potential for it to disrupt my actual work in ways that have complicated consequences - being a librarian is like that, sometimes, because of the public service and wide-range-of-possible-interactions parts of the job. But that's my choice, informed by a lot of consideration and reflection, and it's congruent to my larger goals and priorities. I would feel a lot crankier if I was told that I couldn't ever bring it up. Some of my co-workers are vocal about their religious commitments or practices, some aren't. I'm fairly sure the rest are Christian or atheist, though.)

Quote

In terms of the seekers who complained to me, all of them know that I have a very strict confidentiality policy regarding any consult or potential consult (or just gossip).  And, even with the being very apparent, I asked if I might mention their concerns so long as I didn't mention any of their names.


Again, having clarity issues here. It was not at all clear from your original post that - apparently - you brought up issues that had been brought to you by other people. Had you said that, my commentary would have been somewhat different on that point.

You're right that breaking confidentiality is a problem. However, *if you're going to be acting as a confidential repository*, I think you ethically have an obligation to learn about the problems of "the lurkers support me in email" .

Which is to say: "People told me that they have a problem with X" basically never goes over well. (Again: it's like using the word 'censorship'. People will ignore everything else you have to say after that, no matter how much sense you're making or how right you are.)

My experience (over about 15 years, in various community event committee forms) is that if you bring up an issue, you either have to do it as "I heard some confusion about X" or as "I have concerns about this" (owning it entirely yourself) and only adding "I've heard similar concerns from other people: I've encouraged them to bring it up directly, but I'm also glad to share whatever you want to get out about your reasons for [whatever choice] with them." as a supplemental comment.

So, in this case, given the data you've added, I might say "Hey, I have to admit I'm really confused. You invited me to X, and then made it clear that it was for atheists. Only, when I saw it on Facebook, there was [description of photo]. It confused me, and I've heard from a few other people that they couldn't make sense of it either. Is there an explanation I can point people at, or help you get out? And should we expect the same thing from future events? How can people decide whether they're welcome at X/would fit well with the goal of the gathering?"

You notice that this is heavy on "you may have a reason I don't understand", and on "there's confusion, and I wanted to let you know because *of course* you  will want to fix that" and some moderate offers of help and useful stuff. (that more than just you were confused, that it might be an ongoing thing, that people notice the hypocrisy, that you're willing to at least point people with confusion at a public statement/share information back to them. None of which are a particular burden if you're already having conversations.)

However, because it avoids being directly accusatory (and also avoids breaking other people's confidentiality) you stand a better chance of getting your actual goal accomplished (clarification and a less stupid way of going forward with whatever next time.) Again, people get to run events you think (or I think) are stupid. It'd just be good if they made that clear up front so everyone could make accurately informed choices about whether they want to go.

(It appears from your reply here that there's more going on, with why you're not very happy with this event or the person running it, but I do not have sufficient data to talk about that. I have been known to say, I am a witch, and I am marginally psychic, but relying on my mind-reading ability always ends badly: I can only go on what you've actually shared here.)

Quote

I'm assuming you're saying I'm generally tactless.  If so, I'm not 100% about the allusion - just tell me I'm tactless.  You won't bother me.


I have no idea if you're generally tactless. I don't have enough data.

However, I do see that multiple times, you've gone about things in a way that I think might be seriously counterproductive to your stated end goals.

(Sometimes, that's pushing at a thing that will make people touchy - as described above in my comments re: the use of the term 'censorship' or handling specific conversations. Sometimes that's by replying in a way that entirely ignores something I'd thought was fairly clear in my own reply - and  there, I can't tell if it's me, you, or both of the above. Probably both, because communication is often like that. But it's not just once, and that makes me wonder if you're doing it other places too, and whether that's affecting stuff you ask about.)

I assume that you ask about this stuff because you'd like to do it better. And if you do, there's stuff that might help you. (My own experience is that improving communication skills is a never-ending goal, but that it repays the time and energy I invest in it over and over again. I spend a lot more time now *doing* stuff I care about, rather than digging out from stupid communication glitches that are tangential to my actual goal.)

I'm not perfect by any stretch (I've got a list a couple of dozen items long I'd like to improve over time). But the recommendations I made were because of specific stuff you've mentioned as mattering to you, but which seems not to be going the way you'd actually like and/or seems to be at least somewhat confusing to you in terms of why other people respond a certain way.
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Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

mlr52

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Re: anti-theist rally in my community
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2013, 08:22:02 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;120583
 but CPS in Missouri isn't about to give a damn until you bring them a small corpse.

 
I call that the dead body law.
Light Your Candle, In Love and Service, Blessed Be.
I am a Notary Public for The State of New York, - I do not charge for Notary Fee\'s, I Live in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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