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Religion & Politics

Workers & Volunteers in Social Service Who Frown on Their Clients

By Myra St. Clair Baldwin

It really irritates me that some people who seek positions in Social Work, whether as actual social workers or as AmeriCorps volunteers and/or other volunteers FROWN on the people they serve. A fellowette AmeriCorps Vista, who was doing her service at the Hope House women’s shelter, believed that there SHOULD be a religious mandate there, because some of the women “really needed God.” As a Godless person, this really annoyed me. I don’t think it’s right to shove God’s dick down ANYONE’S throat. Neither do I think it’s okay for the workers to judge homeless people as “inferior.” The Union Gospel for Mission also is judgmental towards drug & alcohol addiction and won’t give them a place to stay warm if they don’t pass a UA. People DIE from being stuck out in the cold at night! And an addiction is NOT a character flaw! One guy who helps out at City Gate makes negative comments, like “If you were REALLY hungry, you’d eat that!” Which he said to me because I didn’t want a bologna sandwich because I’m fucking VEGETARIAN! If you’re going to go into service to “help” other people, make sure you unlearn your ignorance first. Which reminds me…in Service-Learning our goal was to get students to volunteer and learn from their volunteering. Well, first they need to be educated to not fucking judge people. And unlearning ignorance is a time-consuming process. There’s no guarantees they will EVER unlearn their ignorance, so maybe we shouldn’t be trying to throw them into service like that! Unfortunately, a lot of social service work is left in the hands of the religious, who place a lot of moral judgements on others. Some of them are NEVER going to unlearn their ignorance! We need adequate government-funded shelter for ALL!