Volunteer organization requires me to sign a statement of faith

  1. 1
    This is sort of an ethical dilemma, I wonder if I am getting myself into trouble.

    I do not believe in god. I am more spiritual with nature and do not follow the bible. I was raised christian and understand christian values and I remember most of what I was taught, but I am not devout and discontinued going to church in my teens. I'd like to volunteer at this christian based non profit medical clinic because I want to volunteer my nursing skills but in the volunteer packet it requires I sign a statement of faith, that I believe in god and my faith is true, which it is not. I am afraid that if I tell anyone I am a non believer they will tell me to go elsewhere.. but I find that to be unfair. I am not going into a church to worship. I am going into a clinic to provide medical care to under-served and underprivileged individuals (who by the way are not required to be christian in order to receive care). I have not seen any other volunteer opportunities in my area where I can use my nursing skills so this is where I want to go. IF I do sign it, my plan is to cordially talk about the religion if spoken to about it and not tell anyone I am a nonbeliever. I have had many patients in the past of whom I have read scriptures to by their request and even talked about religion with them and they didn't know, nor did I ever tell them that I don't actually share the same faith with them.

    I also wonder, if I do sign it and someone finds out it was a false statement, what will likely happen?

    Thank you, any input is appreciated, and please no bashing on my belief. You will not convert me. I am a good person, with good morals, and I don't need a leader to help me distinguish right from wrong. (In this case, I feel if I sign it, I am part right/ and part wrong - but my desire to help the community is more beneficial)
    laborer likes this.
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  3. 20 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    "I also wonder, if I do sign it and someone finds out it was a false statement, what will likely happen?"

    Well, I'm thinking that you will burn in a fiery pit...just kidding.

    I don't think that they could do anything to you. They would most likely not let you volunteer anymore, but I can't imagine anything else would happen.
    I think that it is a shame that they only want Christian volunteers, they are missing out on a lot of good people who would refuse to sign that statement.
    BlueLightRN, Retired APRN, aTOMicTom, and 1 other like this.
  5. 10
    This clinic is a mission of this group. There is nothing "unfair" about their requirement that their volunteers share that belief. Surely there is some other secular group, such as the Red Cross, for which you can volunteer.
    MariposaLPN, Here.I.Stand, JBudd, and 7 others like this.
  6. 6
    You could be upfront with them, tell them you were raised in the church, respect the beliefs they hold, but have struggled with your own issues of faith. For that reason, you can't sign the statement in its present form. They may be able to come with an alternative affirmation for you to agree to
  7. 1
    Hi Earthworm,

    I imagine that the purpose of the statement of faith is primarily to prevent proselytizing by any volunteers with differing beliefs. You have said that you will respect their beliefs and avoid any mention of the fact that you disagree with them. It sounds like even if you sign this statement knowing that it is not true to the letter, you are not doing so with the intent to deceive or to achieve an end which opposes the group's religioius values. If you are willing to work there conscientiously and promote their values as appropriate (as you did when reading the Bible with your former patients) then you will be, in effect, upholding the statement of faith. If they do somehow find out that you do not share the same beliefs, but you have always acted in accordance with their morals, then I expect that they would realize, as Sharon said, that they are missing out on a lot of good potential volunteers. I doubt they would ask you to leave.

    All that said, after building trust and rapport with the organization, you may choose to voice your concern that the current statement could discourage qualified, caring nurses who share similar morals but have different religious tradition/beliefs. Also, "true faith in God" may not mean the same thing to all who sign the current statement, so a more detailed statement may help all new volunteers understand the expectations. You could suggest that they use a statement of morals/values or a behavior contract, including a non-proselytizing agreement, for new volunteers.

    Good luck with your decision! Let us know how it goes!
    laborer likes this.
  8. 2
    If you knowingly and falsely sign that statement of faith, isn't that dishonest?

    Personally, I couldn't sign it and face myself in the mirror. And like you, I'm not a religious person either. But your integrity at issue here. I understand your desire to volunteer, and you are surely needed.

    Previous poster believes the organization would not ask you to leave, but what if they did? I, too, think you need to talk to them about your concerns. Perhaps, you could develop your own statement and offer it as an alternative to theirs. Kind of like writing your own wedding vows!

    Sincere good wishes for your decision.
    elkpark and sharonp30 like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from Altra
    This clinic is a mission of this group. There is nothing "unfair" about their requirement that their volunteers share that belief. Surely there is some other secular group, such as the Red Cross, for which you can volunteer.
    I have considered volunteering for the red cross, but from what i can see and I could be wrong but, there is no volunteer position where I could utilize nursing skills. Unless passing out cookies and drinks counts as a skill. I suppose I could call and ask, but I'd prefer the clinic setting anyway.
    sharonp30 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from amoLucia
    If you knowingly and falsely sign that statement of faith, isn't that dishonest?

    Personally, I couldn't sign it and face myself in the mirror. And like you, I'm not a religious person either. But your integrity at issue here. I understand your desire to volunteer, and you are surely needed.

    Previous poster believes the organization would not ask you to leave, but what if they did? I, too, think you need to talk to them about your concerns. Perhaps, you could develop your own statement and offer it as an alternative to theirs. Kind of like writing your own wedding vows!

    Sincere good wishes for your decision.

    That is a great idea, I think I will do just that. Thank you!
  11. 0
    Re: other volunteer organizations.

    What about being a 'health advocate' (or something like that) at a homeless shelter or food kitchen. You might be able to troubleshoot some client problems and shoot them in the right direction.
  12. 5
    I would tell them that signing the document is a deal breaker. If they would rather soldier on without you that is their prerogative. It's their organization, their rules. I'd look elsewhere.


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