1. Find and provide an appropriate definition, discuss your understanding, and provide illustrative examples for each of the following seven terms: morals, values, personal bias, professional boundaries, confidentiality, right and wrong (100 words each minimum, not including definitions)
· Definition: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior
Morals are the guidelines and expectations within a society that defines what should and should not be done. These are the rules that tell us what is appropriate and what is unacceptable. Morals vary from culture to culture and can affect everything from how we interact with our peers on a daily basis to the funerary rites of a culture.
One example of moral differences between cultures lies in the funerary rites of the Wari people of the Brazilian Amazon. The Wari are a tribe that practiced funerary cannibalism, a practice in which they would ingest the cooked flesh of their fellow tribesmen when they passed away. This was done because they believed that “the act of endocannibalism allowed the spirit of the dead to accept death and proceed to the afterlife”
(Galvan 103). This practice continued into the 1960s when
they were contacted by Christian ministries and were forbidden to continue
their practices. In the Wari tribe,
there was nothing morally unacceptable about this type of behavior. However, within most other cultures,
especially in a modern context, cannibalism in any form is morally wrong
· Definition: A person’s principles or standards of behaviors
Values are the building blocks upon which morals are built. They are the standards and beliefs that we find most important in our lives. Typically morals are created in order to protect those things that we value from being damaged or destroyed. These can also be various and diverse between people, even within a single culture.
One example of a value would be honesty. While one person may believe that being honest is typically a good idea, they may instead put more value into caring for others so they may avoid telling someone the truth if they know it will hurt that person. However, someone who values honesty above all else would tell the truth to someone else despite what the outcome may be.
· Definition: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly
Personal bias is when someone allows his or her personal opinions to inappropriately effect the outcome of a decision. This bias can be either positive or negative regarding the subject, but it can still have a strong influence on a decision being made. These biases come into play when we look at our own values and morals, as well as when we try to determine what is right and wrong. Just as every other part of ethics, personal biases may vary a lot from person to person and can be formed from personal experiences, upbringing, education on a subject, or numerous other sources.
One example of a personal bias could be something as simple as a parent’s bias toward his or her own child. For example, if little Susie enters a “beautiful baby” contest, it would probably be in everyone’s best interest that Susie’s parents not be judges for the contest because they would want their own child to win and may allow their own feelings toward their child to influence their decision. This may be quite insignificant in this example, but imagine if this same bias is applied to a much larger scale, such as the national elections within ADF. If the person tallying the votes had a strong personal bias against a particular candidate, they may decide that it is ethical to be dishonest in their count and change the outcome of the election because they believe it is “better” for the organization.
· Definition: define effective and appropriate interaction between professionals and the public they serve
(Professional Boundaries, Inc.)
Professional boundaries are the limitations that we put on our interactions with people in order to maintain a professional relationship with them. These can be used in the workplace and schools as well as within our work as Clergy as a way to keep interactions appropriate and beneficial to both parties that are involved.
One example of a professional boundary would be appropriate greetings in the workplace. For some people, hugging is frequently a way to say hello to people they know and see frequently. However, in a professional work environment this type of greeting could be highly inappropriate and is typically frowned upon. It could also make co-workers really uncomfortable if you greet them with a “full body hug” before each meeting instead of a friendly handshake or nod.
· Definition: containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be prejudicial to the national interest
Confidentiality is the ability to keep private information self-contained by not disclosing it to other people. For many people, confidentiality of clergy is very important in seeking their counsel. Many of the issues that they reach out for are sensitive and they aren’t always ready or interested in letting a large number of people know the circumstances. They expect to be able to speak to a member of clergy without the information being dispersed throughout their social circle or religious group.
One aspect of confidentiality that I am very familiar with is that of the medical field and HIPPA laws. For several years I worked for the University of Nebraska Medical Center where we frequently interacted with patients, patient files, and other bits of confidential information. We had to understand fully that who we were allowed to share information with, and what information could be shared. For example, if John Doe came in to see us, and his brother Tim called to find test results, those records could not be shared with Tim (unless Tim was John’s legal guardian or on John’s list of people approved to receive those details). Unfortunately these laws are not always clear-cut and can be very confusing and complicated to follow.
Right and Wrong
· Definitions: Right - morally or socially correct or acceptable.
Wrong - behavior that is not morally good or correct
Right and wrong are concepts that are the basis our values, ethics, and morals. When we look at a situation, we use our moral judgment to determine whether or not we believe the circumstance is something that should or should not be done. These two extreme are defined by our ideals of “right” and “wrong.” If an action or situation is something that we believe should be done, it is viewed as being “right.” Comparatively, if there is something we believe should not occur, we view that action as being “wrong.”
With right and wrong, I can go back to my very first example that was used for morals, funerary cannibalism. In our culture, the actions of the Wari tribe were “wrong” because our morals tell us that it is inappropriate to eat other humans, no matter what the situation is. However, in their culture, it would have been “wrong” to bury their dead and leave them to rot because their belief was that you couldn’t get to the afterlife without the act of being destroyed through cannibalism. It shows just how much our experiences and biases can vary from group to group and person to person.
2. Self-awareness is key to the implementation of professional ethics. Discuss how your personal morals, values, bias and ability to maintain adequate boundaries, confidentiality and determine right from wrong might both positively and negatively impact your professional relationships. (200 words minimum)
Self-awareness is vital in any sort of professional environment, but I believe that it is even more important in a role such as clergy where we are put in a position to provide guidance and assistance to others. We need to be aware of how our actions and interactions can be interpreted by others, both positively and negatively. This includes being aware of our ethics, boundaries, and biases, as well as how we communicate with others.
I would like to believe that I am a morally good person, as I think most people do. I genuinely believe people should be treated equally without any sort of discrimination. I also believe that we should all be open-minded to the ideas and beliefs of others. Some people may view my morals of equality in a negative light, especially if they have a bias against a particular person or group of people, but that is honestly inconsequential to me because I also realize that there are numerous others who appreciate my non-discriminatory approaches.
My values can be viewed in a similar light. I put a lot of value into community, positive interactions, and family. I have already encountered people who were angry with me for holding public rituals in an effort to build the community because they made the person uncomfortable. The same can be said for our family-friendly rituals. There are some people that are not comfortable with children being present during rituals, but others that appreciate that their entire family is welcome. We hope to eventually try to find a balance between these two sides by offering both public and private events, as well as family and adult only events.
Biases definitely exist within me, just like they do everyone else. As someone with a history of abuse, I tend to be incredibly hesitant to interact with anyone who has a history of being an abuser. This bias may make it more challenging for me to interact with someone in my Grove who I learn has this type of history, but it is important to be able to maintain professional boundaries in order to do what is necessary in that type of circumstance.
Confidentiality is an area that I am familiar with and I understand the implications of it from both a positive and negative view. Many people would appreciate being able to discuss situations with someone they know will keep the information to themselves, however, if a second person wanted to know the information they may be upset with me when I tell them that I can’t share any information with them. The counter to that is the fact that Nebraska law says that all people are required to report child and other certain types of abuse, so someone who has shared this type of behavior with me may be very upset that confidentiality was not kept because of the laws that require it not to be.
Within all of these ethical pieces, the ability to maintain professional boundaries is vital. Professional boundaries allow us, as humans, to keep our own personal morals and biases, but also help others who may not have beliefs that line up exactly with our own. While some people may prefer a more personal relationship, I think that maintaining professional boundaries is very important.
3. Discuss how an individual learns to determine right from wrong and explain the factors that influence this determination? (100 words minimum)
The complexity of the human mind makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly why someone believes the things that they believe. However, I do think that there are numerous areas that affect a person and what they believe is right or wrong. Where and when we grow up, and who we are raised by definitely has an influence on our morals and ideas of right and wrong. Someone who is raised in a strong Catholic family may have a very different set of standards for right and wrong from someone who grew up in a traditional Native American setting.
There are numerous psychological theories on where morals and the idea of right and wrong come from. One psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg, said that this development worked in three separate stages: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional
(Cherry). Pre-conventional development started in very
young children through the ideas of obedience and punishment, where children
follow the rules of their parents in order to avoid being punished for “wrong”
actions, as well as the development of individualism. Conventional morality begins with the
building of interpersonal relationship and includes maintaining social
order. This level of moral development
tends to focus on setting up social expectations. The final stage is post-conventional, in
which children begin to understand individual rights and universal ethical
principles. This is the theory of just
one psychologist in an enormous field of study.
I believe that the influence of friends, family, community, education, and experiences all play a part in the development of our morals. I also believe that every person we encounter, every interaction, and every activity has an influence on our thought processes and can directly affect the way we view the world. This allows for people’s ideas of right and wrong to be constantly developing and adapting to the world around them.
4 Describe several reasons why an individual would strive to "do the right thing"? (100 words minimum)
I once again find myself looking at the stages of development to answer this question. The reason a small child does the “right” thing may be very different than that of an adult. As children, we are often taught which behaviors we should and shouldn’t do, and we begin following those rules to avoid punishment from our parents and caregivers. However, as they begin to grow older, children may do the right thing, not so much to avoid punishment, but instead to gain favor of someone who they respect or look up to. For example, they may choose to pick up their toys in their bedroom without prompting to gain favor with their parents.
Eventually, we begin to develop a sense of what society thinks of us, so the reasons for our actions again begin to shift. We may begin to perform in a certain way in order to have a positive reputation for our peers, or even in an effort to help our peers with something that they need. There will be circumstances that people do the “right” thing because it benefits them most. However, there will also be circumstances where someone does what is “right” because it benefits the community as a whole, such as picking up litter at a local park.
5. Discuss how an individual's values relate to the decision making process. (100 words minimum)
Values play a huge role in our ability to make decisions. Our personal values influence what we believe is right and wrong, and lead us to make decisions in an effort to continue to do what we believe is “good”. Typically, as productive members of society, we do try to do what we believe is “right” but even our idea of right and wrong is based upon our values. Essentially, our values determine our ethics, and ethics work as “the line we draw that articulates what is acceptable in terms of behavior, and what is not from a profoundly personal and individual standpoint”
(Orr). They are what we use to determine how others
should behave, and creates our own ethical framework of standards and
expectations for the world around us.
6. Discuss the importance of ethics to the clergy-lay relationship. Do you believe a clergy person has ethical responsibilities? If so, what are these responsibilities? (300 words minimum)
Ethical behavior is invaluable within a clergy-lay relationship. Members of our society tend to hold clergy members to a higher standard than other people, and expect that they have positive morals that are reflected in their interactions with the public and members of their organization. These ethics range in their purpose, but each of them is important in their own way. The ethics expected from an ADF clergy member are defined in the “ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics.” This document gives a description of the values and core concepts that ADF clergy are expected to fulfill. The primary value that is expected is that of *ghosti. Ghosti is defined as a “Proto-Indo-European word which refers to the reciprocal relationships of hospitality”
(Thomas). Within the expectations of clergy, this
reciprocal relationship applies to both a relationship built with the Kindreds
and a relationship built with the community.
The concept of ghosti also allows clergy to define their own boundaries
and determine which relationships are appropriate for them to work with, and
which ones they can refuse. It also
emphasizes the importance of maintaining confidential communications unless
written consent unless the law states otherwise.
The “Core Concepts” of the code are three that I find very interesting. They are listed as service, competency, and integrity
(ADF Clergy Council ). Service includes the responsibility of
providing service both to the Kindreds and to the community. It emphasizes building a personal
relationship with the Kindreds and also helping others to build these
relationships. It also expresses the
importance of a balanced life for all people and being able to understand your
own limitations. Competency is the idea
of both knowing your limits in knowledge, and continuing your education to be
an asset to both your own path and the community. It includes building ritual skills to provide
services to the community, but it also includes providing training to others
when you have the knowledge and ability to do so. Integrity is the concept that explains how
important it is for members of clergy to be dedicated to the values and mission
of ADF and the nine virtues, while also having a personal code to work
from. This aspect of the code encourages
clergy to promote diversity and inclusivity, while being respectful and
maintaining their dignity. I think that
this code of conduct is a great base for all clergy to base their actions from.
The ADF Leadership Handbook also addresses ethics in leadership both within ADF and in a general sense, which includes those who hold the role of clergy. There are 5 primary guidelines that are listed that should be taken into consideration when in a leadership role. These are:
1. The ability to avoid discrimination in any form
2. Commit to personal care and growth through education and spiritual discovery
3. Managing your personal life
4. Providing support only for those issues within a reasonable limit of your professional competency
5. Establishing and maintaining appropriate professional relationship boundaries
Being clergy is something that is not necessarily an easy job. Often people forget that, while a member of clergy is someone who you can go to for guidance or assistance, they are also humans who have their own wants, needs, and emotions. However, clergy need to be able to keep those personal issues separated from their work, or understand if they are in a situation that they cannot separate from and step away. Being able to maintain yourself is the first thing that has to be done in order to be a successful member of clergy.
7. Discuss the meaning of confidential privilege, the laws in your state that provide for this privilege and the extent to which it applies to clergy-lay communications in your community. (200 words minimum)
Confidential privilege is the right to private conversations with certain professionals. Essentially, it gives people the ability to share information with certain professionals freely without that information being shared with anyone else. In some situations, this information cannot be shared without expressed consent, even in legal matters. This type of communication often applies to doctors, counselors, and members of clergy.
Nebraska has a statute (27-506) regarding communications to clergyman. It states:
27-506. Rule 506. Communications to clergyman; definitions; general rule of privilege; who may claim privilege.
(1) As used in this rule:
(a) A clergyman is a minister, priest, rabbi, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting him; and
(b) A communication is confidential if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.
(2) A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as spiritual advisor.
(3) The privilege may be claimed by the person, by his guardian or conservator, or by his personal representative if he is deceased. The clergyman may claim the privilege on behalf of the person. His authority so to do is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
This law applies to all communications that are made privately with all members of clergy in the state of Nebraska. There is, however, an exception to this rule in the case of child abuse or neglect. Nebraska has a law that states that all people are mandatory reports for child abuse and neglect as listed in the following statute:
28-711. Child subjected to abuse or neglect; report; contents; toll-free number.
(1) When any physician, any medical institution, any nurse, any school employee, any social worker, the Inspector General appointed under section 43-4317, or any other person has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to child abuse or neglect or observes such child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which reasonably would result in child abuse or neglect, he or she shall report such incident or cause a report of child abuse or neglect to be made to the proper law enforcement agency or to the department on the toll-free number established by subsection (2) of this section. Such report may be made orally by telephone with the caller giving his or her name and address, shall be followed by a written report, and to the extent available shall contain the address and age of the abused or neglected child, the address of the person or persons having custody of the abused or neglected child, the nature and extent of the child abuse or neglect or the conditions and circumstances which would reasonably result in such child abuse or neglect, any evidence of previous child abuse or neglect including the nature and extent, and any other information which in the opinion of the person may be helpful in establishing the cause of such child abuse or neglect and the identity of the perpetrator or perpetrators. Law enforcement agencies receiving any reports of child abuse or neglect under this subsection shall notify the department pursuant to section 28-718 on the next working day by telephone or mail.
(2) The department shall establish a statewide toll-free number to be used by any person any hour of the day or night, any day of the week, to make reports of child abuse or neglect. Reports of child abuse or neglect not previously made to or by a law enforcement agency shall be made immediately to such agency by the department.
In the state of Nebraska, these two laws combined show that clergy are able to provide privileged, confidential communication to those who need it, but there are expressed limitations of that. If the clergy comes into information regarding past, present, or future (potential) child abuse or neglect, it is the law that they report those situations to the appropriate agencies.
8. One of the main principles of ethics is to "do no harm". Discuss the meaning of this principle as it applies to the clergy-lay relationship. (100 words minimum)
Clergy have many responsibilities to the community, including being spiritual leaders, ritual guides, and personal advisors. The one thing that all of these things have in common is the desire to help people in need. This intent to help is what makes the idea of doing harm to those we’re trying to help so intimidating. Typically I don’t believe that the harm would be done intentionally, but instead because of a crossed boundary, inaccurate information, or other accidental cause.
The easiest way for clergy to avoid this type of harm is by maintaining their professional boundaries. This means understanding your own limitations, both in knowledge and abilities, and being able to express those limitations to those you are trying to help. It also means keeping relationships professional and not crossing those emotional and psychological boundaries with the people you are trying to help.
It is also important to be aware of your personal biases in order to avoid showing favoritism to people or applying your personal grudges to someone who may be seeking your advice, as differing your treatment of people may offend or hurt others.
The ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics begins with a preamble that addresses this concern directly. It states that morals should be based upon the ideas of joy and mutual respect while avoiding harm. It goes on to explain how harm can be avoided by stating “We try to balance people's needs for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the impact of each individual's actions on the lives and welfare of others”
9. Compare and contrast the Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path and prominent values in the dominant culture of the country in which you live. (200 words minimum)
The nine virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path are a very important part of my personal approach to spirituality. I try to follow those virtues and apply them to my leadership style as much as I can. All things considered, there are some virtues that are more present in my culture than others.
· Wisdom – Having knowledge and understanding right from wrong. I believe all people in the United States want to be knowledgeable and have the ability to know what is right for different circumstances. Unfortunately, there are still people who are happy in their own ignorance and don’t bother to gain wisdom, but these people do seem to be the minority at this point.
· Piety – Being religious through an active spiritual practice. Piety is a virtue that is not visibly present within the culture that I live in. We live in a country where a majority of the people view Christianity as their personal religion. Many of these people have no actual religious practice, and there are some people who, even if they regularly attend church, do not apply the teachings of their faith to their daily lives.
· Vision – The ability to think about and plan for the future with imagination and wisdom. Vision is a concept that I do believe is appreciated within the United States. As a society, we are consistently looking for new and innovative ways to do things, encouraging sciences to explore the unknown, testing theories, and learning new things. From a young age we are taught to “plan for our future.” While there may be some people who would prefer to keep doing things the same way, overall our society puts an emphasis on moving toward the future.
· Courage – The ability face fears and withstand danger. Courage is a moral that is strongly emphasized in the United States. We show news stories about survivors frequently, praising them for their heroism. We also honor our soldiers, firefighters, and others who face danger in their career. However, we put a lot more emphasis on those who are physically courageous than those who may have faced emotional fears and conquered those. We rarely talk about those people who have battled mental illness and won, or those who managed to fight back after everything was lost. Our focus on courage in this culture seems to emphasize physical danger over all else.
· Integrity – Upholding your morals and ethics when they are challenged. The United States is a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on integrity. We expect people to keep their promises, honor their contracts, and follow through with agreements. However, there are definitely people in our culture who use that assumption as a tool for manipulation, but I’d like to believe that those people are again in the minority.
· Perseverance – Continuing to do what is right when you face difficulty. This is another virtue that I think is strongly present within the culture of the US. We expect people to keep working through their personal battles and issues to become successful.
· Hospitality – Being generous and friendly to visitors and guests. This is a virtue that is not abundantly present in the US culture. However, I grew up in a very small town in Nebraska where hospitality was overwhelmingly clear. People were welcomed into our homes, you waved to people as they drove past you in their car, meals were shared, and people were incredibly friendly overall. It’s very different now that I live in the city where people rarely acknowledge strangers and neighbors don’t even seem to know each other’s names. Hospitality is present in our culture; you just have to know where to look.
· Moderation – Controlling the amount of doing something to avoid excess. Moderation is something that I personally believe the culture of the United States struggles with. While we emphasize the importance of it in our words, the actions of the people often show otherwise. Part of this is fueled by consumerism and the idea that we always need the new and best, but we also eat too much, drink too much, drive too much, and spend too much. The US, especially from the view of other countries, is the culture of excess.
· Fertility – The act of creating something where it didn’t exist before. Fertility is another virtue that I don’t see being overly present in the culture of that I live in, but I believe that this is because of the idea that many people have about what fertility is. For most people, fertility is the idea of procreation. Within an ADF context, fertility is the act of creation and creativity. I think we do desire that people be creative and think outside of the box, but most people don’t view this as fertility.
10. The Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path are proposed as a starting point for individuals embracing a value system inspired by traditions of the past. Utilizing the ADF nine virtues, develop a Code of Ethics for your use as ADF Clergy. Describe how you derived this code from the Nine Virtues and how you would apply this Code. (No minimum word count for the Code; however the Code must contain a minimum of five principles; 300 words minimum for the description)
Code of Ethics for Amber Doty:
Preamble: This code of conduct is developed in an effort to give a clear and decisive guideline for actions and reactions to circumstances encountered while working as Clergy.
1. Equality – I will ensure the equal treatment of all people no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. I will avoid actions that could be viewed as discrimination to the best of my abilities.
2. Responsibility – I resolve to try to keep my word, maintain my oaths, and accept responsibility for my own actions. I will maintain my integrity and try to persevere in challenging situations.
3. Confidentiality – I will maintain confidential communications for all private discussions between myself and those who seek my guidance
a. Unless disclosure is required by law, such as information about child abuse.
b. Unless sharing the communications can prevent harm from happening to others.
4. Continued Education – As clergy, I strive to continue obtaining information and educating myself through the study of history, spirituality, and other diverse topics to better myself and improve my knowledge of the world around me. This also includes accepting criticism and using it as a tool to improve from.
5. Professional Boundaries – Professional boundaries will be implemented in necessary situations involving my work as clergy. I will also recognize my personal limits and be willing to admit those limitations when needed.
6. Continued Practice – I am motivated to continue my personal and public practices within ADF by honoring the High Days with Core Order rituals and continuing to develop my personal practice.
7. Encouragement - I will encourage others to develop their own spirituality as much as I can and help them to foster growth within a religious, personal, and practical context.
This code of ethics has been developed through my own experiences as a combination of the nine virtues and proper ethical behaviors within the context of clergy.
· Wisdom is shown through this code in two different contexts. First, the idea of continued education shows that I put an emphasis on knowledge and want to continue obtaining wisdom through my journey as clergy. Second, having a code of conduct gives clear guidelines for behavior, which is pre-emptively very wise in case you run into problematic situations in the future.
· Piety is also obvious in my code of conduct as I share that I will continue to build my own practice while also encouraging others in their own path.
· Vision is a concept that is a bit more challenging to see in my code of conduct, but for me vision is the ability to plan for the future and this code has helped me to do that. It gives me a basic structure to base my actions on, and also helps to guide me in the future if I run into problematic situations.
· Courage isn’t something that I directly address in the Code of Conduct, but for me, following through with the code is courageous in itself. In this code I address confidentiality and the fact that some information may be shared if there is child abuse happening or if it may prevent the physical harm of someone else. It will take courage to be able to follow through with that code and actually contact the appropriate people if I find myself in that situation.
· Integrity is something that is very important to me, and I show that through my code in the form of responsibility. I want people to understand that I am responsible for my own actions and that I am true to my word. I don’t want people to believe that I am dishonest or not true to my word, so including those ideas here reinforces that idea.
· Perseverance is also briefly addressed in my section on “Responsibility.” For me, part of maintaining my integrity is also continuing to work on things, even when it’s a challenge. I want people to know that my integrity is in tact, even when the situation is hard to overcome.
· Hospitality in this context is very different for me than it is in my personal life. In this code, my hospitality is shown through my equal treatment of all people, and through the professional boundaries that will be applied to all clergy situations and the expectation that other people will do the same.
· Moderation for me in the perspective of clergy is understanding your own limits and being able to admit to and stand by those limits. It’s understanding when you don’t have the knowledge someone is seeking, or when the help someone needs is beyond your abilities, and being able to admit that.
· Fertility is definitely shown in my code of conduct through the encouragement of development. I hope to be able to grow and better myself over the years, and I definitely want others to be able to do the same thing on their own path. By encouraging others to build their own spirituality and practice instead of blindly following the teachings of someone else, I am allowing them to be creative and helping to foster fertility within the community.
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