Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Now they've gone too far

I work about 5 hours a week as the Menninger Bible Coordinator for the YWCA. Mrs. Menninger wrote a four year through the Bible course over one hundred years ago and at her death the family bequeathed all of her materials to our local YWCA since she had held classes there for many years. So I am in charge of distributing those materials to groups and individuals interested in going through the course. I keep the records and handle the finances. Today I was in my office there and I caught up on my email. This message appeared in my in box

As we move towards fully living out our mission I hope we will be mindful of the exclusivity of messages about a particular God, Jesus, Christianity, praying, congregations, Sunday worship....etc. in our workplace. Understanding that many of our staff, members, and co-workers around the world, have different values and beliefs, and working hard to be an inclusive organization means it is not appropriate to discuss/articulate our own personal religious or spiritual beliefs in the workplace as it makes others feel uncomfortable, disrespect, or marginalized. Over the past 100 plus years we have become a global organization and our foremothers who started the Young Women's Christian Association, would recognize the legal and ethical reasons we now separate "church and state/workplace". --LH

It had been sent in response to the following email

YWCASubject: RE:
I worked for a small local congregation where we modified the song slightlyÂ…

Red and Yellow, Brown, Black and White Â….

It fits the melody very nicely. There was a sizeable Mexican & Mexican-American representation. The little guys in my Sunday school class thought it was a pretty cool revision. It made me think having grown up singing the original version.

We can so easily make someone feel overlooked even with the best intensions in mind. I am thankful for grace (capacity to accommodate and/or forgive people). I know I need to both give and receive it daily.



I have long endured subtle religious bias from this liberal organization. Frequently, they send emails out and have programs encouraging us to contact political leaders on causes that I feel are in conflict with my values, for example, they wanted us all to contact state legislators to urge them not to enact legislation that would mandate abstinence education because they believe birth control and pro-choice are the way to go. I am left wondering what Mrs. Menninger would say today of this organization. We are bound to this group because of how the bequest was made. I write the checks but they have to sign them and have oversight of us. The email senoriginallyly didn't seem all that religious in nature. Have we proceeded so far that to even mention that we are affiliated with a church or are a Christian is offensive. I bet not. The response email was written by the woman who runs the batterewoman'sns program at the YWCA. Her father is the district attorney and she was appointed to sit on the city council for a while to fill vacancycy but she was not elected to the seat when she ran for it later. She lost mainly because she endorsed a proposal to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. This would have applied to all jobs, housing attitudes etc. I think it was mostly a reaction to the Phelps family and the public was overwhelmingly against it. I am not sure how to respond to these emails, or even if there is a response. I want to be salt but I also don't want to offend. I fall back on the verse in Romans that says we are more than conquerors. At timelikeke these when it seems that the anti-Christian movement is gaining ground, I can take comfort from the knowledge that we rest on the side of victory. We may lose an earthly battle but the Lord has won the eternal war.

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