Thoughts on discussions on religion, politics, etc.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Estherfromjerusalem, Apr 8, 2008.

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  1. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    I know this is a very sensitive subject, so I will try to keep it as unoffensive as I can.

    I saw the whole thread on Parent Emeritus, in which you Tired Mommy felt you had to delete two messages in one thread because of the religious content. in my humble opinion I think that is a case of being over-cautious. No one was preaching here to anyone else. And if someone wants to wish someone else good wishes using God as a prop, I can't see the harm in it.

    Although I am a religious and practising Jew, it's true that I don't write about it often. And of course, living in Israel, I avoid politics like the plague. However, there is a lot of mentioning of Church and Christmas etc. etc., and I do not find it offensive in any way, so I don't understand how others can be bothered if someone prays for someone else. What is the difference between that and "lighting a candle" or even "doing the chicken liver dance" or "crossing everything." It boils down to the same thing -- that everyone here is listening and helping and reaching out to the others, with the tools that she has. And the tools that she uses are offered in friendship and support.

    I don't really know what to think and I hope this posting hasn't put the cat among the pigeons (animal lovers, don't take offense from that!!!!).

    We all have enough problems with our difficult children and our DHs and our PCs, we don't need unnecessary restraints when we come here to talk to each other.

    OK, that's it for now. Just my two cents worth. I hope I haven't offended anyone. I truly want to say a lot more, but I will restrain myself (story of my life, self-restraint!).

    Love, Esther
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Esther, I understand your point of view. The problem is that the thread was offensive to at least one other member. It's not overly cautious if other members leave the site or don't post because they aren't comfortable with other's views being thrust upon them, particularly if their own views are in the minority of the membership. We have the rule about no religion or politics to protect people from the hurt feelings that ultimately happen when there are disagreements about these sensitive subjects.

    Religious and political discussions are welcome to take part between consenting members in the private messaging section of the board, just not the public sections.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Esther, it is a tightrope that we walk here.
    We share the intimate pain of our lives on a daily basis. Most people are sensitive and balanced as well as understanding. Somehow with prayers and religion it starts out ok and then takes on a life of it's own. I remember well the offense taken with prayer circles from years past. I think we went through it twice.

    This topic has been discussed by many who are wiser than us moderators and not been able to figure out when is too much, too much. Consequently, no religion discussions is the rule as is posted in the faq/board help forum.
    There is no accurate measure so it is asked that it be private between consenting members.
    I would hope that all members would understand the difficult position this puts us mods in. No one wants to be the bad guy or the anti God/religion person but there is no way to measure something so subjective.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Esther - thank you for your self-restraint!! ;)

    Seriously though, speaking not as a moderator but as a long time board member, I think the rules as they are now have evolved over time and been created in an effort to to keep this a soft place to land. I wouldn't swear to it, but I would guess most of them came about due to necessity at one point or another. We've been fortunate to have a relatively calm community for a number of years now in spite of the wide variety of opinions, beliefs, sensibilities, and experiences represented here. It hasn't always been so calm.

    I've always adhered to the "take what you can, leave the rest" philosphy personally. I'm pretty laissez-faire but that's just me. Other people may feel strongly on this subject and I think it makes sense, in order to preserve this as being a safe place for us to share what really are our most painful and personal struggles with our kids, to seek out the lowest common denominator in highly emotional subjects that aren't directly related to parenting a difficult child. I'm not saying that faith isn't important - it's just that your idea of faith and mine might differ and if we (hypothetically) dissolve into a discussion about that, it detracts from the intent and purpose of the board.

    It's an incredibly gray area because culture also comes into it. I would hope that well wishes for Hanukkah or other cultural/religious holidays would be as equally accepted as Christian holidays because we are such a diverse group. I believe whole-heartedly that our diversity is what makes us such a solid community.

    I understand what you're saying about liver dances, rattling beads, etc., versus prayers. It's an incredibly fine line and it's something I've pondered most of the day. I haven't come up with a good answer other than perhaps "liver dances" is open to interpretation whereas a prayer is pretty straightfoward. Probably a lame dilineation but it's the best I've been able to do. I certainly would hate to see liver dances and bead rattling go by the wayside because it is tremendously comforting to know that board members are offering their support, in whatever way they see fit and regardless of whatever my own personal belief system may be.

    I don't believe decisions to edit or delete messages are ever made lightly. It's a delicate balance but when one or members are made uncomfortable by content, that content should be looked at and thoughtfully weighed against the guidelines. Having seen some truly ugly board dust ups in the distant past, I guess I would prefer that we err on the side of caution.

    Just my thoughts on it, Esther, and only as a member who values the safety and diversity of the board.
  5. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Wait a minute, am I understanding correctly that a post was deleted because someone said they would pray for someone else? I really hope that is not the case. Im sorry but if you are offended by that, then you are just looking to be offended. Offering to pray for someone is an act of kindness. Its not saying who or what you are praying to, its saying I care enough about you to put your needs before mine for a moment in time.
    Please someone tell me this is not what this is all about.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    It was more than offering to pray.
  7. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    ok thank you for that tiredmommy...i was about to have a lil panic attack here. i appreciate anyone offering to do that for me, and really i have gained so much comfort from coming here and others offering to pray for me. you just don't know how it has helped me through many very difficult times.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    You're welcome Tina Marie. :)

    I'm going to go ahead and close this topic as the issue has been addressed. I ask anyone with further questions to please PM a moderator or Cheryl for clarification.
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