Ethics 2: #3 Situational Review

Provide the following information for each of the situations described below:

    1. Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)
    2. Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)
    3. Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

Situation #1

It is a long-standing tradition within your Grove to pass the Waters of Life using a single vessel for high day celebrations. Your group has always been small and the group at large prefers alcoholic Waters of Life, which is the plan for this high day event. Prior to the beginning the ritual pre-briefing you become aware that several new individuals are in attendance. One of these individuals discusses with a member of your Grove that they learned of your event from a poster in a local Unitarian Universalist Congregation where they attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. What do you do?

Problem-Solving and Effective Resolution:

First, we define the problem: A new participant in the Grove ceremony is from an Alcoholics Anonymous group and there is a tradition of using alcoholic Waters of Life. The potential issue is the discomfort or temptation this may pose to the individual in maintaining their sobriety.

In problem analysis, we realize the importance of inclusivity and respect for all participants. To generate possible solutions, we could consider using a non-alcoholic substitute for this individual, or even consider changing the Waters of Life for all participants to a non-alcoholic version. In analyzing the solutions, the option of using a non-alcoholic substitute for everyone ensures inclusivity and respects the new participant’s needs, while also minimizing the risk of causing discomfort or triggering a relapse.

The chosen solution would be to communicate with the group about the situation (without disclosing personal details of the new participant) and propose using a non-alcoholic substitute for the Waters of Life. The final step would be to implement this decision during the ceremony. In my Grove, CedarLight, we have always provided a non-alcoholic version for all Waters of Life, whether it’s an issue for someone in AA or not. Not everyone who does not want to drink alcohol is a former or current alcoholic. Even more recent, with Covid-19 in past years, almost everyone I know uses separate chalices now for the Waters of Life anyway, lending the an easier ability to customize them for attendees.

This resolution is effective because it maintains the tradition of the Grove while ensuring everyone feels included and respected. It acknowledges that while traditions are important, they can be adapted to be more inclusive and for current times.

(Word Count: 282)

Personal Code of Ethics:

My personal code of ethics puts importance on respect for individuals and their personal journey. It’s also important that everyone feels comfortable and included, and that personal boundaries are well respected no matter what we’re dealing with (like Covid-19). It was critical in this situation to uphold these values by adapting the tradition to accommodate the new participant’s needs. This action demonstrates empathy, inclusivity, and respect for personal struggles, which are all key components of my ethical code. Additionally, it is not (in my opinion) very intrusive at all to have options at all high rites that will accommodate these situations regularly.

(Word Count: 102)

Ethical Dilemma:

This situation can be considered an ethical dilemma as it involves a conflict between maintaining the long-standing tradition of the Grove (alcoholic Waters of Life) and ensuring the comfort and respect for the individual’s personal circumstances (the new participant’s sobriety). It necessitates a decision that could potentially alter tradition, thus raising ethical questions by some about the importance of tradition versus inclusivity and respect for individuals’ personal boundaries, but tradition is meant to be modernized to meet current standards, even if just for medical reasons. However, by choosing a solution that upholds the dignity and comfort of all participants, we can navigate this ethical dilemma effectively.

(Word Count: 106)

Situation #2

While meeting with a couple to plan a hand-fasting ritual you have been asked to facilitate, you notice one of the partners continually makes all of the decisions concerning the ceremony and refuses to let his/her partner participate in the discussion. When you encourage the silent partner to participate the other individual becomes obviously agitated. You notice several bruises on the silent partner legs and arms and he/she appears afraid to express any thoughts and ideas. Following the discussion, you receive a phone call from the silent partner apologizing for the conduct of his/her partner. The wedding is a month away and the couple has written an oath for the ceremony that professes a desire for a healthy relationship and equal partnership. What do you do?

Problem-Solving and Effective Resolution:

The problem definition here is that one partner in a couple planning a hand-fasting ceremony appears to be controlling and possibly abusive, and this contradicts the couple’s written oath for a healthy, equal partnership.

Problem analysis reveals the potential for an abusive relationship, considering the control issues, the visible bruises, and the fear in the silent partner. It’s important to consider the ethical implications of proceeding with a ceremony that contradicts the apparent reality of the relationship.

Possible solutions might include talking privately with the silent partner about the concerns, offering to postpone the ceremony, or contacting a local domestic violence hotline for advice.

When analyzing these solutions, discussing privately with the silent partner might provide more insight into the situation and could provide the silent partner with a safe space to talk. Postponing the ceremony might give the couple time to address their issues, but it might also escalate the situation if the controlling partner views it as interference. Contacting a domestic violence hotline could provide experienced advice on the best course of action.

The selected solution would be to first speak privately with the silent partner, expressing concern and offering support. Depending on that conversation, the next steps might include contacting a domestic violence hotline or considering whether it is appropriate to proceed with the ceremony.

This resolution is effective because it prioritizes the safety and well-being of the individuals involved over the event itself, respecting the possible victim’s autonomy while providing support and resources.

(Word Count: 247)

Personal Code of Ethics:

My personal Code of Ethics emphasizes respect for individuals, non-violence, and integrity. By prioritizing the potential victim’s safety and well-being and by seeking to understand the situation more clearly, I am respecting the person’s autonomy and dignity. I am also acting in line with my commitment to non-violence by taking potential signs of abuse seriously. Moreover, by questioning whether it’s ethical to facilitate a ceremony that appears to contradict the reality of the relationship, I am upholding the value of integrity. Afterall, an oath before the Gods built on a lie, especially when facilitated by me as their Priest, marries me to this situation as well.

(Word Count: 106)

Ethical Dilemma:

This situation presents an ethical dilemma as it involves a conflict between my role as a facilitator of the ceremony and my ethical responsibility to respond to or report potential signs of abuse. It’s a dilemma because facilitating the ceremony under the circumstances might indirectly support an abusive relationship, contradicting the values of respect for individuals, non-violence, and integrity. Not to mention, if it is her will to proceed, I am now tied to this Oath as a Priest. However, by addressing the issue directly with the potential victim and offering support, I can navigate this ethical dilemma responsibly and ethically while also maintaining my integrity as a Priest.

(Word Count: 109)

Situation #3

You are facilitating a children’s activity concerning the 9 virtues and the Kindred for your Grove. A ten-year old child approaches you during the activity and says, “Can I tell you a secret?” You let the child talk and he tells you that his stepmother, who is an active member of your Grove, doesn;t follow the virtues or care about the Kindred. You ask him why he believes this and he tells you, “Because if she did she wouldn’t hurt me!” Once more you ask the child what he means and he shows you a horseshoe-shaped belt mark on his back and says, “Don’t tell anyone.” The father and stepmother are in the next room at an adult workshop. What do you do?

Problem-Solving and Effective Resolution:

The problem definition is that a child has confided in you that his stepmother, who is an active member of your Grove, has physically abused him.

The problem analysis includes recognizing that this is a potential case of child abuse. The physical mark on the child’s back corroborates his story. Furthermore, the child has requested that this information be kept a secret, which complicates things due to Clergy confidentiality but also our requirement to report abuse.

Possible solutions might include confronting the stepmother, informing the father, reporting the matter to child protective services, or first having a private conversation with the child to offer support and gather more information.

Analyzing the solutions, directly confronting the stepmother might escalate the situation and potentially expose the child to further harm. Informing the father could be useful if he’s unaware of the situation, but there’s also a risk that he may not believe the child or may react defensively. Reporting the matter to child protective services ensures that professionals will assess the situation, but it may also lead to drastic changes that could be difficult for the child. Talking privately with the child first can provide more context and allow the child to feel heard and supported.

The selected solution should be to first speak privately with the child to let him know that you are there to help and that what’s happening to him is not his fault. Depending on the conversation and review of the legal process of capital punishment, you could then report the incident to child protective services. I think it’s true that most places have laws requiring adults who have custody of or responsibility for children to report any suspect of child abuse. Always prioritize the victim’s safety above all else.

This resolution is effective because it prioritizes the child’s safety and well-being, provides support, and involves professionals who are trained to handle such situations?.

(Word Count: 317)

Personal Code of Ethics:

Respect for people and the obligation to protect those who cannot defend themselves are vital to me. By taking the child’s claim seriously, I am showing respect for his experiences and feelings. By reporting the potential abuse, I am standing against violence and fulfilling my duty to protect the child. Both are equally important, but I will also run into the dilemma of violating the wishes of the child to keep the secret, which is likely the biggest dilemma a Priest will face in this scenario. We want to be trusted and seen as safe spaces, but we also have to make ethical decisions like these.

(Word Count: 106)

Ethical Dilemma:

This situation presents an ethical dilemma between respecting the child’s request for secrecy and the moral and potentially legal obligation to report suspected child abuse. It’s a dilemma because maintaining the child’s trust is important, but failing to report the abuse could potentially allow it to continue. By assuring the child that you’re there to help, and then reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities, you can navigate this ethical dilemma responsibly and ethically. It does not take away from the issue of wanting to be someone the child knows they can come to in the future, however, but the hope is that they will one day understand and in the mean time remain safe.

(Word Count: 115)

Situation #4

A young woman from your local Neo-Pagan community contacts you and expresses a desire to attend your Grove’s upcoming high day; however, she explains that she is in a wheel chair and has an uncontrolled seizure disorder. Another local Neo-Pagan group had explained to this individual that they were unable to accommodate her needs at this time. The young woman plans to bring her personal care attendant with her, but the attendant is opposed to Neo-Pagan beliefs and does not want to actually participate in the service and plans to wait outside the ritual area. Your regular outside ritual space is not readily handicap accessible and the ritual is planned for this outdoor space. What do you do?

Problem-Solving and Effective Resolution:

The problem definition is that a young woman with a wheelchair and an uncontrolled seizure disorder wishes to attend your Grove’s upcoming high day, but your regular outside ritual space is not readily handicap accessible. We definitely have this issue at CedarLight because both the front and back doors are up flights of stares and our side door is somewhere we would like to put a ramp but the entranceway indoors is not wide enough really for wheelchairs. Additionally, access to our ritual space is often muddy due to the way the waterways are set up in our immediate area, which could cause transportation issues.

Problem analysis includes identifying that the main issues are accessibility and the accommodation of the personal care attendant’s beliefs.

Possible solutions might include modifying the outdoor space for wheelchair accessibility, moving the event to a more accessible location, or offering a separate but inclusive ritual that the woman can participate in. In our personal situation at CedarLight, we cannot really move our rituals because we own this land and we’re the only Grove to do so, which in a way makes it our obligation to use it.

Analyzing the solutions, modifying the outdoor space may not be feasible due to time, budget, or environmental constraints. Moving the event could disrupt plans and may not be possible due to the significance of the location or other logistical issues. Offering a separate but inclusive ritual may be the most feasible option, but it must be done in a way that does not isolate or stigmatize the woman. Another option we’ve utilized in recent years due to Covid-19 is the ability to zoom in at high rites, which would eliminate both issues (transportation and the comfort of the caretaker).

The selected solution could be to engage in a dialogue with the young woman to understand her needs and preferences. Providing her with several options may empower her to make the choice that suits her best. If a separate but inclusive ritual is chosen, it should be framed as a unique, valuable part of the celebration rather than a ‘second best’ option.

As for the attendant, ensure that she feels comfortable and accommodated. This can be done by giving her a relaxing place outside of the ritual space to wait and reassuring her that she won’t be required to engage in any way that goes against her moral convictions.

This resolution works well because it shows a dedication to tolerance and respect for all people, regardless of their physical characteristics or religious views. It also encourages cooperation and open communication in the search for a solution.

(Word Count: 437)

Personal Code of Ethics:

My own personal code of ethics places a strong emphasis on open communication and respect for all attendees (participating or not). By seeking to accommodate the young woman’s needs and making sure her attendant feels comfortable, I am showing respect and inclusivity. By engaging in open dialogue, I am promoting collaboration and understanding. To accomplish these, as a Priest I would want to provide a safe place for the attendant, but also find ways that the attendee can participate in ritual that does not conflict with her handicap status. Theoretically, as a Grove, we will have come up with these types of scenariors and planned for them ahead of time.

(Word Count: 110)

Ethical Dilemma:

The ethical dilemma here is balancing the accessibility needs of the young woman and her personal care attendant’s opposition to Neo-Pagan beliefs against the disruption that might be caused by changing the location or nature of the event. By discussing the situation openly with the young woman and providing her with options, and by ensuring the attendant feels comfortable, I can navigate this dilemma in a way that respects everyone’s needs and beliefs. This will also set the standard for future handicapped attendees and perhaps even other Groves or groups in the area that wish to provide the same accomodations for their rites.

(Word Count: 103)

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