Feeling like I don't fit in where I have tenure

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anonynew:
I'm really lucky. I know it. I have tenure. I thank my lucky stars for that regularly.  But, it's at a small Catholic liberal arts college, and I am a secular humanist (raised by Jewish parents). Yet again today I sat through a "diversity" activity with faculty and students in small groups where the faculty member next to me (there were two of us, me and her) expressed how she felt that she hadn't been treated compassionately by students when she expressed the Church's teachings that homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry. After all, she said, "They can't have children, so they CAN'T get married, because that's the point of marriage. A civil union, maybe, but not marriage." And when a student pulled a "discussion card" containing the prompt, "Your best friend is planning to get an abortion and asks you to give her a ride to the abortion clinic. What do you say and do?," and I was the first one who had to respond at our table of five, I put my foot in my mouth (by this time, I was sweating and feeling pretty upset/like a fish out of water) and said, "I say, 'What time should I pick you up?' " Needless to say, the rest of the table was less in tune with that side of the argument. So... 1) I know, if I want to preach tolerance, I should practice it by being tolerant of those who are different from me, for example, people who don't support gay rights or abortion rights 2) If I'm not happy where I am, I should go elsewhere (the institution sure isn't going to change) and 3) I knew the institution was Catholic when I took the job, so what am I griping about? In response, I'm in one of those geographic binds where my spouse is not portable, the kids are in school, and it's not clear that at this point in my career I could get another job anyhow. (I've put out some applications, but no nibbles.) So I know, I should disinvest, keep my nose clean and my mouth shut, and avoid as many meetings as possible where the issue of paying lip service to diversity is going to come up. But I WANT to like where I work- I actually care, and am struggling to find a way to handle this conflict. Help, please?

systeme_d_:
Find the lefty Catholics.  If they haven't been driven out already.

Don't know where to look?  Look for anyone who sponsors a social justice organization, teaches about Dorothy Day, or brings in lecturers to speak about religions other than Christianity.  In terms of priests, look first for Jesuits and Vincentians, but keep in mind that Augustinians, Dominicans and Franciscans have some way lefty members as well.

alleyoxenfree:
Enjoy all the other things about the job and get your social justice fix by volunteering with a likeminded organization off-campus.  Compartmentalize and quit demanding that because you have 99 good things in life, you should have 100.

zuzu_:
Other have given good advice. I have many friends/family who are conservative religious types. When you express your beliefs, such as in the example you gave with the abortion card, it's not going to change any one's beliefs on the spot, but it very likely plants a seed of change and at least causes some people to examine the gray area. The key is conducting yourself in a kind, humble, and tolerant way so people respect you and take your opinions more seriously. Also try to see and understand where they are coming from, even if you disagree. Most of these people are not evil people.

flyingbison:
Quote from: systeme_d_ on January 24, 2013,  9:04:09 PM

Find the lefty Catholics.  If they haven't been driven out already.

Don't know where to look?  Look for anyone who sponsors a social justice organization, teaches about Dorothy Day, or brings in lecturers to speak about religions other than Christianity.  In terms of priests, look first for Jesuits and Vincentians, but keep in mind that Augustinians, Dominicans and Franciscans have some way lefty members as well.


+ 1

There is lots of common ground between a secular humanist and the social justice wing of catholicism (and other religions, as well).  Find areas of agreement and shared interests. 

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