The Intersection between Ethics and Faith

Hello readers,

Thanks to my cool social work friend Jenea for encouraging me to write a blog entry about our after ethics party. I’ll try my best to keep this post short and to the point since I have a HBSE paper due next Tuesday. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about the topic I’m about to write on. First of all I’d like to preface my comments with the statement that these are my opinions, and I would love to read yours. I’m always looking for new ways to have my thoughts challenged, so please chime in. I’m also blessed to have found a profession whose purpose is to give voice to the marginalized, improve society along with numerous other benefits.

Wednesday’s, for our final semester, we have Integrative Seminar which equates to a social work ethics course. It is extremely interesting and informative, since our code of ethics guides our professional practice. Here is a link to our code:

http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

Now, here is where the topic of faith and ethics meet. If your faith informs your personal values and these values or principles may be contrary to the ethical responsibilities of your profession, where does this leave one? Here are a few of my random thoughts. Since I am a practicing Catholic and my faith goes beyond the walls of Mass, for me I am unable to separate my personal and professional values. While I use morals to guide my life, I respect and encourage everyone to find their moral compass to inform your path. If I had to categorize my political/faith beliefs, I’d say I’m moderate to conservative. Now, some may assume I’m just one of those religious minded folks who primarily think with my morals and am unable to see past my narrow-minded perspective. Well, that’s what I used to think about moderates/conservatives when I was a roaring liberal. I say that with love and no inflammatory tone whatsoever. Smile

I’ve been on both sides of party and religious lines, so I have been able to critically assess individual situations along with formulating my personal beliefs. I say this to let you know I’m not just saying I haven’t appraised the hot-button social issues with the guise that I believe such and such because someone told me so.

I proudly say I am prolife and wholeheartedly believe the building blocks of my Christian/Catholic faith and which everyone could share in my peace and joy in these beliefs, however, I know this is unrealistic. I respect and have learned so much from others who may believe differently than me. For instance, my Atheist friends are some of the most caring, open-minded people I have known. Now, here is where I believe it may be problematic in my profession, and here is how I would handle these difficult situations.

I respect the American Constitution and the inalienable rights so many have fought to provide us and am thankful we all have the wright to freely speak and practice our religious beliefs, however, there are times I’ve felt as if “I’m a bad social worker” because I don’t always toe the party lines. I don’t always drink the Coo lade or agree with all the profession says I should. I really do not think I am an unethical professional; rather I know my limits. If I were confronted with a situation in which I could not in good conscience promote a client’s choice, I would have to refer them to another resource who could more adequately assist them.

What I don’t appreciate is being looked down upon for thinking with my morals and allowing them to inform my personal and professional life. I am who I am whether that’s in the therapy room or Public Square. Now, yes I understand we all put on our own personas to fit social situations, and who you are at work may be vastly different from who you are at home, but when it comes to morals and beliefs, we should not be shamed into believing or participating in practices which oppose our conscience. Every night before I go to sleep, I try my best to examine my conscience and identify areas for improvement. I hope and pray our decisions we make, whether personal or professional, are built with the foundation to never work against our God-given conscience.

A thought-provoking question which was pose during class was the following:

Abortion is illegal however if a pregnant Mother is murdered, the killer can be charged with double murder. Why doesn’t our society value the unborn life no matter who abruptly took it?

Even though I realize my ideas are not popular or always the most socially acceptable, I believe God has given us all the ability to make choices with our free will. I cannot live the remainder of my life with the belief that there is a life to come and there is a standard God calls us too without attempting to at least do my best to try and live my life in a pleasing manner to God.

The following link provides more clarification in a more concise form than I could:

http://www.pacatholic.org/bishops-statements/catholic-conscience-and-public-policy/

So, after those rambles, what do you think?

Until next time,

Anjelina

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