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)
According to Dictionary.com, “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the
distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.”
When I was an undergraduate taking philosophy and ethics classes, we were taught that” morals” were not the same things as “ethics.” Ethics are the values
or principles which shape morality. I understand morality to be what is generally, subjectively accepted as right behavior by an individual or cultural
group which are based on agreed upon values. This is different from the world of normative ethics which concerns itself with what is objectively right
or wrong outside of the realm of values.
Illustrative example: Quakers, as a religious society, adhere to the principles of nonviolence and pacifism. In times of war, Quakers will not offer military
service that may include combat. The US government allows them to satisfy their moral objection to warfare and violence while still providing military
service by assigning Quakers to non-combat positions.
According to Dictionary.com, “relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess.”
Values, within the study of ethics, may be divided into personal and cultural. In both classifications, “value” is the weight or relative worth/importance of a
thing or concept. A “set of values” may be understood as a framework that allows one to rank and regulate thoughts and behaviors. Individuals, as
they develop psychologically, determine their own sets of values, most commonly heavily influenced by the values of the communities to which they belong.
Cultural values are those held in common within a particular community.
Illustrative examples: Cultural Value: My dance community considers it important to learn the history of various dance cultures. In light of that, a dancer who has spent time, effort, and money to learn the cultural history as well as movement history of her style of dance is considered to be a better dancer and is able to charge more for her services.
Personal Values: As a tribal dancer, I value the interaction between multiple dancers. I believe it is more worthy to dance well and cooperatively with a group
of dancers than to dance by oneself as a solo performer.
According to Merriam-Webster.com, “: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that
usually results in treating some people unfairly :
a strong interest in something or ability to do something”
One’s personal bias is made-up of all of an individual’s cognitive bias’, experiences, values, and beliefs. It is the tendency of a person to see things their
own way, though a sort of filter. The issue of personal bias leads us to question whether human are capable of truly objective judgement.
Illustrative example: The recent Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case is, I believe an excellent example of personal bias. Five justices, all male,
and all Catholic ruled in favor of the ability of a corporation to refuse to provide certain forms of birth control to their employees. Within 24
hours, those same five justices expanded their ruling to include all types of birth control. The Catholic church is in vocal and tenacious opposition to
all contraception and teaches that the use of contraception is a sin. The religious bias of those five justices led them to make a ruling that was in all
other ways completely nonsensical.
professional boundaries: According to Frank Cooper, ”Professional boundaries are a set of guidelines, expectations and rules which set the ethical and technical standards in the social care environment” (Cooper, 11).
Professional boundaries define appropriate interactions between individuals in a non-social setting, such as a classroom or the workplace, as well as appropriate interaction between people involved in a non-social relationship such as teacher-student, doctor-patient, clergy-congregant. Professional
boundaries are the lines one should not cross if one wishes to remain effective in their work. Blurred boundaries can lead to messy entanglements and
misunderstandings that may strain working relationships.
Illustrative Example: The earliest example of professional boundaries that I can think of would be the Hippocratic Oath taken by medical professionals. The oath outlines the standards of their practice including such things as doing no harm (as bounded by their ability and judgement), to not become romantically or sexually involved with patients, and maintaining the confidences of their patients.
According to Dictionary.com, “1. spoken, written, acted on, etc., in strict privacy or secrecy; secret: a confidential remark.
2.indicating confidence or intimacy; imparting private matters: a confidential tone of voice.
3.having another's trust or confidence; entrusted with secrets or private affairs: a confidential secretary.”
Confidentiality refers to things that are to be held in confidence; basically, keeping secrets. When information is not intended for public access, it is confidential. The US has laws about confidentiality in certain professions; namely medical, legal, and in the realm of clinical counselling, as well as within the
Catholic faith and national or state “secrets.”. Individuals may request a communication to be kept confidential; however, one must not expect that
confidentiality to be legally enforceable. In many cases, even legally enforceable confidentiality may be broken when it pertains to the confidant’s
duty to warn or protect, such as in cases of abuse, or premeditated criminal activity.
Illustrative example: In the catholic confessional one is expected to confess one’s sins, even one’s criminal behavior. The Priest hearing one’s confession cannot be compelled by law to disclose what has been shared or communicated with him.
According to Merriam-Webster.com, “: morally or socially correct or acceptable: agreeing with the facts or truth : accurate or correct speaking, acting, or judging in a way that agrees with the facts or truth”
Something may be considered to be ‘right’ when it is correct, truthful, proper, and/ or morally sound. There is necessarily a large degree of individual
interpretation in the concept. What one considers to be right will be largely based on one’s own background, religion, and society. That which
one person labels as right may well be labelled wrong by another. Much of the conflict in the world is derived from the various interpretations of what is
right held by various peoples.
Illustrative Example: Because I honor the Earth as divine and conscious, it is my firmly held belief that it is right to behave in such a way that will be minimally harmful to her. To that end, I compost, recycle, attempt to reduce my use of fossil fuels, and I offer prayers to her whenever I begin any spiritual work.
According to Merriam-Webster.com,”: behavior that is not morally good or correct : a harmful, unfair, or illegal act”
The concept of “wrong” is the necessary counter to the concept of “right.” If something is right, its opposite will be wrong. The opposition between
right and wrong is powerful and compelling. Children break the world firmly and cleanly into these two camps. This sort of moral dualism was
codified in the religious current of Zoroastrianism and is mirrored in the dualistic religions of today’s world. In my opinion, things that I define
as wrong are things outside of the natural order and acts that defy compassion and reason.
Illustrative example: Because I honor the earth as divine and conscious, it is my firmly held belief that it is wrong to pollute her soils, air, and waterways. I
believe that is is wrong to value the health of a profit margin above the health of an environment.
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
I believe that living things should be treated with respect and their dignity should be honored. This is the cornerstone of my value system and personal
morals. Compassion and honesty, in words and deeds, are the ideals toward which I aspire. I believe firmly is speaking the truth as I see it, I
believe in plain speech, and in equality. It is perhaps an understatement to say that I can, at times, have an acerbic tongue.
For a period of time between college and graduate school I lived and worked in a village in Guatemala. I worked as a volunteer with the Catholic diocese
there. As such, I came to know a couple of the priests fairly well. As one of the longer-term volunteers, the priests had plenty of experiences with me.
After my time there, I asked one of the Fathers for a letter of recommendation. In the letter he said, “Nancy is well-spoken and, at times, outspoken.” I have always taken that as a compliment, though I know full-well that that propensity can be as much a failure as a triumph.
I tend toward sarcasm and I do, unfortunately, enjoy talking about people. This can be painful to others. After a terrible incident with my kindred, I had to sit in contemplation of my own gossipiness. My careless words caused unnecessary pain to those I cared about. I needed to curb my propensity to gossip and to train myself to be more mindful of how my words could affect others. As part of process to change, I made a point of admitting the part I had played in the gossip-induced drama to those affected. I apologized and made what repairs I could to the friendships.
Since that time, I cultivated an intense respect the privacy of other people. Sharing information that is not mine to share leads to trouble. This hard-won understanding informs my sense of confidentiality.
I said above that I believe in speaking the truth as i see it. Obviously, my personal bias and perspective will not allow me to understand all aspect of all
things. With this in mind, I try to see things for the point of view of others. Often I am quick to judgement and I struggle knowing when it is right to speak out and when I should hold my tongue. I know that to some types of people I can come off as gruff, or rude, or downright bitchy. In interpersonal communication I attempt to weigh my words and avoid unintended connotations.
how an individual learns to determine right from wrong and explain the factors
that influence this determination? (100 words minimum)
Humans are born in an a-moral state; we all begin morally neutral, but with the capacity to learn. Initially, our concepts of right and wrong have to do with avoiding punishment and receiving rewards. Much early behavior is based on reciprocity, or if I eat my peas, I get ice cream (eating vegetable = right); if I hit my sister, I get a spanking (hitting my sister = wrong). From such a base, we grow into the ability to intentionally choose right behaviors in order to win favor and meet social or familial expectations. This is often referred to as the “law and order” phase as one’s identity as a “good” girl or boy is connected to following rules. This second stage begins somewhere around the 8th or 9th year and continues into the early teenaged years. The final stage of our moral develop lasts through the teenaged years into young adulthood and ends with moral autonomy. During this time we begin to move away from the morals handed to us by our society and family toward making our own moral judgements. This does not mean that we necessarily reject the moral code of our society and family, but that we choose to support or reject individual aspects of that code (Bennaars, 18 - 21).
several reasons why an individual would strive to "do the right thing"? (100
how an individual's values relate to the decisionmaking process. (100 words
process. One could also employ a virtue-based decision making process. Virtue deals with notions of ultimate good, or perfection--the same things we talk about when we discuss “values.”
When one employs a values-based decision-making process one examines the possible choices using one’s values as a filter. The set of values become the model for good behavior. If, for instance the Nine Virtues embody one’s value system then one would weigh each decision in light of those virtues. For example, when faced with the choice of watching TV all night on August 1, or of attending/performing a Lughnassadh devotional, one would choose to
participate in the devotional as the pious thing to do.
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)
I believe every person has ethical responsibilities, regardless of the role they are currently filling. I believe that each role we fill come with its own set of
ethical responsibilities. So, Hell yes I believe a clergy person has ethical responsibilities and I’m rather concerned that “no” is a possible response to this question.
This question is far too vague to be anything resembling useful. So, for the purposes of ease of communication and clarity and because my reviewer *really* dislikes it when grossly exceed the word count, I will restrict my response to the ADF Clergy-lay relationship. It is worth noting that since the ADF Clergy Council has, to date, failed to define what the role of Clergy is within the context of ADF, there can be no official outline of clerical responsibilities, ethical or otherwise. Additionally, I must state that my views are colored by my own interactions within ADF which could be seen as two-pronged. I have experience within my Grove, a group of people who have almost no connection to the greater ADF community; and my experience with my acquaintances within the greater ADF community, the majority of who are Clergy.
Those who bear the title of “Clergy” in ADF (in my Grove and regional pagan community) seem to be given some measure of respect by the majority of the membership. In my experience, Clergy is looked to as experts on ritual structure, as the person to whom one can go for spiritual advice, and as the person who has the inside skinny on the workings of ADF. Outside of ADF, our Clergy are viewed as the mouthpieces of ADF.
As those who officiate or organize the bulk of the religious activities of the folk, we have a responsibility to construct effective rituals that allow for
meaningful and proper communication between the folk and the Kindreds. This, I believe is our primary ethical responsibility. We must not phone in our rituals, we must never take it lightly for the authentic religious experience and practice of people is mightily influenced by us.
Though we should never present ourselves as counsellors, it does happen that the folk sometimes come to us seeking advice, and in some cases, therapy. I believe that unless we have received some extra-organizational training, we should be exceedingly mindful of our limitations and rely heavily on referrals. ADF Clergy receive no training and have no resources for providing any sort of social or personal counselling and should be clear with the folk about that.
In religious or spiritual matters, we have the responsibility to remind the folk that ADF holds no beliefs nor theology. We cannot speak for the Kindreds,
we cannot interpret what the Kindreds might be saying to someone else. We are not that kind of church and it is unethical to pretend that we are.
Spiritual counselling is, in many ways, outside the purview of ADF clergy. I am aware, however, that the majority of ADF Clergy do consider
themselves qualified to provide this sort of counselling, and many of them are doing just that.
Additionally, Clergy should never use their position to sexually or financially manipulate the folk. The letters “Rev” should never be the means of bullying or used in a threatening manner. In general, it is unethical to demean, take advantage of, or exploit our fellow beings, and this holds true for anyone in any positionof power, whether that power be real or illusory.
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)
From the Code of Virginia
§ 8.01-400. Communications between ministers of religion and persons they counsel or advise. No regular minister, priest, rabbi, or accredited practitioner over the age of eighteen years, of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church, shall be required to give testimony as a witness or to relinquish notes, records or any written documentation made by such person, or disclose the contents of any such notes, records or written documentation, in discovery proceedings in any civil action which would disclose any information communicated to him in a confidential manner, properly entrusted to him in his professional capacity and necessary to enable him to discharge the functions of his office according to the usual course of his practice or discipline, wherein such person so communicating such information about himself or another is
seeking spiritual counsel and advice relative to and growing out of the information so imparted.
There is no such thing as “confidential privilege.” Confidentiality and Privilege are two different beasts. Confidentiality may be seen as a duty,
or legal obligation,to which one’s patient/client/congregant has a right. Priviledge is an exemption from a duty. In the case of the above Code of Virginia, the clergy person holds the right of privilege, and the law assumes a general duty of confidentiality, but seems to allow the religious organization to set its own standards for what might be entailed in the duty.
Many churches have systems in place for confidential communication between lay members and clergy. The most obvious of these is the Catholic
confessional. However, the clergy of most faiths engage in some form of counselling and communications made during those sessions could reasonably be considered confidential. In order for the laity to participate in some rites of passage, certain faiths require such counselling.
Within ADF there is no requirement for counselling before participation in any religious activity. As an orthopraxic church whose clergy receive no
training in any form of counselling, any legal expectation of confidentiality on the party of our laity would be misguided, and it is unlikely that a
Clergy person’s right of privilege would be upheld in legal proceedings.
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
circles and with some individuals. We must remember the value of the referral. We ADF Clergy do not receive any real training in any particular field. Any expertise we have we have gained outside of our church.
When a congregant comes to us for some sort of healing work, we must be careful that our magical or spiritual work/advice does not replace needed medical attention. While trained herbalists will be able to help heal many ills, many of us will not. When we learn of sexual abuse, it would be harmful to recommend
prayer at the exclusion of therapy. Bearing this in mind, we must be cognizant of our limitations and cautious in our advice so that we do not make any given situation worse or hurt instead of heal.
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
good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.
In general terms I think the US values Wisdom in this sense. However, increasingly, individual wisdom is being hijacked by partisan hyperbole. I
believe that national decisions are being influence more and more by reactionary politics than by reasoned debate tempered by wisdom. Calm heads do not
make for entertaining news.
correct observance of ritual and social traditions; the maintenance of the agreements, both personal and societal, that we humans have with the Gods and
Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.
Obviously the larger US culture places no value on honoring the agreements humans have with Gods or Spirits. Mainstream culture is secular and the predominant religious current is Christian--so, again, no value is placed on “keeping the Old Ways.”
the ability to broaden one's perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present and future.
Much debate of late has centered on precisely this, what is our nation’s role in the world, what has it been in the past, and what will it be in the future?
The national political dialog is taken up with the examination of our part in the cold war and what responsibility we now have in Iraq and in Ukraine.
Based on our role in Iraq, how should we behave there now and what should we do if and when there is regime change not caused by us? US culture
places great value on the attempt to see the big picture. However, the state of the road construction projects in my town indicate that the visionary
skills of city long-range planning have completely flown out of the window.
the ability to act appropriately in the face of adversity.
I am not sure that we, as a culture, have any clear sense of what courage might be or look like. We talk about honoring our service men and women, but the
medical care provided to them when they return from service is laughable. In my town, the monuments we have erected and preserve are all related to
the Civil War and while the men commemorated did face adversity with bravery and resolve, they were, by and large, the worst sort of racists who acted in
defiance of human decency and compassion. The Occupy current by no means has the support of the mainstream, though it is a surprisingly populist
So, I believe that we have, as a nation, a fractured understanding of what action is appropriate today, but we value highly the courage displayed in our national
Honor; being true to one's self and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect and self-confidence.
Can we be said to value integrity when we do not expect to find it anywhere? As a people, we are not surprised when we learn that our elected officials, our religious leaders, and social visionaries are secretly behaving in monstrous and unethical ways. We expect such news. And while it may temporarily disappoint us, it does not cause outrage and mass condemnation. I will say that we want to value integrity, but we do not, ultimately, believe in it.
Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.
This we value. Perseverance is the cornerstone of our national mythology, it is the bedrock upon which is built the American Dream. Those who receive
social assistance benefits are accused of failing to persevere, it is a commonly held notion that they could succeed if only they tried harder. It is the filter
through which we view the world, this nationally held belief that anyone can do anything if only they try and try, and try.
Acting as both gracious host and appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honoring of a gift for a gift.
I believe the value placed on hospitality differs from region to region. I live in the South where being polite and being a good hostess, are valued
highly. I do not think that, across the nation, hospitality is considered to be an important trait, certainly not at US border crossings where we throw
unaccompanied children into “freezers” until they can be placed.
Cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical) through excess or deficiency.
Our modern culture is driven by excess, indicating no value is placed on moderation. Obesity is rampant, addictions are the stuff of television series, and
consumerism is everywhere valued more highly than happiness. Gluttony in all forms is demonstrated and celebrated from sea to shining sea.
Bounty of mind, body and spirit involving creativity and industry, an appreciation of the physical and sensual, nurturing these qualities in others.
A form of fertility is certainly valued by mainstream US culture. The generation of wealth is quite important. Environmental debates are shaped
by questions of profit-loss. In many ways we are judged by what we are able to produce, by our productivity. On local levels I believe that
fertility is valued--we celebrate hometown artists and flock to farmers markets.
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
As a Druid I will endeavor to honor the Earth and all living things, to respect and protect them as best I am able and to gratefully acknowledge their gifts and
I will endeavor to treat my fellow man with compassion and respect, acknowledging their individual strengths and the legitimacy of their experience and
I will endeavor to advance my understanding of the Kindreds and our relationship with them through study, meditation, and religious observance;
I will endeavor to accept responsibility for my actions and to maintain professional relationships with those whom I serve and/or lead;
I will endeavor to speak plainly and truthfully in all things and will attempt to hear and honor the truths that others speak to me.
In attempted to compose a Code of Ethics for myself as a Clergy person, I reviewed the codes of various other religious organizations and groups. Many
involved more protestations of faith than guidelines for behavior. In writing my own, I have tried to couch each behavioral guideline in a belief structure. I had to examine ADF’s Nine Virtues to determine which were the most instructive in terms of constructing a personal ethical compass. It was also important to me that my own moral absolutes were reflected.
Since this was specifically a code of ethics for clergy, it was important that piety be reflected. All Clergy oath themselves to the service of the Kindreds,
but it was important to me that the Earth be a central focus of my own code. The first clause embodies this.
The second clause deals with my perception of people and situations and is an attempt to define how wisdom should impact that.
Furthering study is the development of the mind and of faith, embodying fertility, but also a reflection of perseverance.
Since clergy find themselves in positions of authority or leadership, integrity seemed very important as a guiding principle. I is all to easy, when one has a
certain amount of power, to act in ways that may not bear up under close scrutiny, because when in power, scrutiny can be easy to avoid. In a
clergy-lay relationship I believe that the maintenance of professional boundaries is part of hospitality. The fourth clause embodies these two things.
Courage and vision are embodied in the final clause--it is not always easy or comfortable to speak the truth. In attempting to hear truths that others share (human and spirit) one may expand one’s understanding of one’s own place in existence.
And all of the above if framed in terms of endeavor--success always in all things is perhaps excessive and I believe that my acceptance that I will not always live up to this code demonstrates moderation.
Bennaars, Gerard. Ethics, Education, and Development: An Introductory Text for Students in Colleges and Universities.
Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1993. Print.
"Confidentiality vs. Privilege: what is the difference?." Clinical Lawyer Confidentiality vs. Privilege what is the difference Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2014. http://clinicallawyer.com/2007/04/confidentiality-vs-privilege-what-is-the-difference/.
Cooper, Frank. Professional Boundaries in Social Work and Social Care: a Practical Guide to Understanding, Maintaining and Managing Your Professional Boundaries. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012. Print.