Updated: Mar 30, 2022
I was very surprised when I learned that a friend of mine, who is now a retired art teacher in a public high school, successfully "started" a Bible study in her classroom. Was the Freedom From Religion Foundation after her? Was she sued? No, to both.
How then, in this increasingly PC society was she able to accomplish something like this? For one thing, while it was held in her classroom, she was careful to not participate in any way. She was technically the "adviser" but that was in title only. Moreover, the study was held during NON-SCHOOL hours, and of course the participants VOLUNTEERED to join.
What does this have to do with EAPs? Possibly not a lot, except to point out that today's overly sensitive political climate makes many people scared to even try to broach the subject of religion. But my bold friend illustrates how it IS possible to bring up this topic in today's workplaces - if done tactfully and carefully.
A quick lesson in civics also helps, as the separation of church and state in the US is widely misunderstood. Most people are familiar with the establishment clause, which states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...".... while IGNORING the all-important, vital, second part ....."...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Why is this something for EA and other human service professionals to consider? As Leah Szemborski states in the cover story in the December 2019 EAR: "There are many benefits to incorporating spirituality into counseling work. It is to the client’s benefit when the counselor feels equipped and confident in bringing up such matters."
Leah explains how to do just that in the EAR article. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, it is must reading in my view.