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  #16  
Old 07-02-2020, 09:47 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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I would imagine most groups could adapt rituals to be more inclusive without detracting from the key points. I know that my own organization has overhauled its ritual more than once over the years and when they do, old books are sent back to HQ, where I assume they are destroyed, so the historical record isn't exactly accessible.

That said, if someone is asked to place their hand on a Bible, why not substitute something which is personally meaningful to them? Everyone knows that most of our organizations have a Christian heritage. Our non-Christian members get reminded of that not infrequently. And since there are Christian GLOs which assert their religion as being a bigger part of their identity, why not simply cede that ground and become overall more inclusive?

And of course organizations which are smart are going to do these things on their own or the chapters will modify things on their own.
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  #17  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:02 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Kevin, some our organizations have rituals that would pretty much be gutted without the Christian content. We love that and if someone doesn't, we're not sure why they joined.
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  #18  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:22 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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It should be up to each organization to decide for itself. I'm all for moving beyond the 19th century and more inclusivity. I treasure my fraternal existence and have great relationships with men of different races, nationalities, and orientations as a result. Do I cringe when I look back and remember a Muslim brother being required to interact with a Bible in front of all of his brothers? Why not make reasonable accommodations so that rituals are more meaningful and inclusive for all?

I don't know your individual rituals, and don't expect you'd share, but not addressing these things smacks a bit of Christian/white supremacy, and considering the troubled history of many of our groups in that regard, I'd hope we'd all be moving decisively to address it so that we can continue to be meaningful into the 21st century.

I have been astonished at how quickly and how open my organization has been to being open to members of the trans community who identify as male and how positive my own chapter's approach to that issue was.

I see some of these aspects of ritual as something akin to these Confederate statues coming down--a constant reminder that our organizations roots are thoroughly white and Christian and that while we may welcome many diverse members, we somehow feel a need to continually remind them of that. Is that a good choice to be made in today's climate? Is that the hill we're going to die on?
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  #19  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:28 PM
thetalady thetalady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
I see some of these aspects of ritual as something akin to these Confederate statues coming down--a constant reminder that our organizations roots are thoroughly white and Christian and that while we may welcome many diverse members, we somehow feel a need to continually remind them of that. Is that a good choice to be made in today's climate? Is that the hill we're going to die on?
Yep. You betcha. I am firmly on that hill, no matter the consequences. Changing my organization's ritual would cause me to resign. Ritual is precious to me. We were founded when women were barely allowed to attend college. I refuse to be ashamed that they were all white. It has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.
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  #20  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:37 PM
SWTXBelle SWTXBelle is offline
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Many of our groups incorporate Greek gods and goddesses - but how many of our members are practicing members of an ancient Greek religion? We understand their use metaphorically. Short of a ritual that requires a member to be a Christian, I'd argue that those who aren't might be able to regard inclusion of Christian symbolism, etc. in the same vein. YMMV, and I don't know others ritual, obviously, but just the mere inclusion of Christian symbols and readings shouldn't mean that the whole of it requires our members of any creed to have to BE Christian to understand their meaning within the ritual.
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  #21  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:37 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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I don't think there's anything particularly white about our rituals but yes, many are highly Christian. I have actually seen the rituals of many GLOs because some friends are ritual collectors. Our ritual is not demeaning in any way; it's very...cherishing. I never saw a sorority ritual that wasn't.

But as I've said here before, I wouldn't have pledged AEPhi and demanded soon afterwards that they remove all the Stars of David or sections from their ritual that made me feel uncomfortable. Same with a lot of honor societies I'm in. I remember how distinctly uncomfortable I was 5 minutes into the ceremony. However, I worked hard to get those letters and far be it from me to trash what some people wrote many years ago.

Change is not always necessary or best.
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  #22  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:40 PM
lake lake is offline
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Muslim sororities too

Do you suppose the women of Gamma Gamma Chi, the sorority of Muslim women, are anxious about changing their rituals to be more inclusive and attract a more diverse membership?
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  #23  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:45 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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It's a question of whether you want your organization to be inclusive or not. Gamma Gamma Chi can do what it wants, Gamma Phi Beta can do what it wants. What I'm saying is that choosing to do something and choosing to do nothing is a choice--and having better than average knowledge of my organization's history, we suffered a lot as an organization when we refused to allow chapters to initiate non-whites, and while this is definitely a far cry from that, I wonder whether at some point it won't seem such a far cry?

I'm not saying that I pledged and then demanded changes. I've been around awhile and I see the world moving in a certain direction and wonder whether the discussion is worth having, and I, whose opinion matters to no one in my organization, thinks it is a discussion worth having.
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  #24  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:46 PM
robinseggblue robinseggblue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheerio View Post
How is NPC pressuring/forcing each group to rewrite their ritual? Wouldn't each group choose on their own to do so/not do so? When did changing an NPC Ritual become THE THING to do? And how is it a double standard if NPC isn't mandating/pressuring?
I agree with you, Cheerio.

TriDeltaSallie, I understand that you are disappointed that a pivotal part of your ritual didn't happen during the virtual initiation. However, this seems to be an individual decision on Tri Delta's part. If this wasn't removed due to either time limitations or privacy concerns, I would venture to guess that perhaps a portion Tri Delta members had petitioned the Exec Board to change a part of ritual? I have no idea, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case (or maybe they did remove a part due to time limitations or privacy concerns).

NPC did not put out anything even alluding to sororities changing their rituals. And they would have no right to do so now or in the future. No offense, but I feel like this thread is on the verge of fear mongering. Where is there a shred of proof that NPC had anything to do with this? Any change in ritual would be an organization's individual decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VioletsAreBlue View Post
I hate to be naive, and I am not as involved as others but --

Ritual is sacred. It is meant to be a privelege only to those members. How does NPC even know what religious elements exist in initiation, new member ceremonies, meeting ritual, etc? How can they require something they theoretically are not privvy to?
Not naive, I completely agree with you. We all know our own initiation ceremonies, which are obviously all different. While it is clear that some organizations have religious elements within their rituals, a non-member wouldn't actually know what or how many religious elements a ritual they are not privy to would contain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TriDeltaSallie View Post
"Because of that, the rituals, practices and traditions of sororities were built upon white ideals and perspectives."

Those "white ideals and perspectives" are the Christian and biblical content in the rituals of probably most/all of the NPC groups that were not explicitly formed as Jewish or secular groups.
This seems to be Delta Gamma's position, not NPC's. The quote you are pulling from is a comment that DG HQ made on Facebook. Therefore, what they do along these lines is an individual decision for their organization.

I'm not sure how to break this to you, but the US is an overwhelmingly Christian country and not all Christians are white. Plenty of POC identify as Christian.

In fact, as I'm looking at Pew research data from 2018, 79% of Black Americans identify as Christian, 77% of Latinx Americans identify as Christian, and 70% of white Americans identify as Christian. (Link)

I'm honestly not sure why most posters in this thread are equating increasing membership diversity with loss of "white" Christian ideals.

Last edited by robinseggblue; 07-03-2020 at 01:43 AM.
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  #25  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:48 PM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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Originally Posted by thetalady View Post
Yep. You betcha. I am firmly on that hill, no matter the consequences. Changing my organization's ritual would cause me to resign. Ritual is precious to me. We were founded when women were barely allowed to attend college. I refuse to be ashamed that they were all white. It has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.
Agreed.

This may be where fraternities and sororities differ the most. College and university education were always open to men who could meet the requirements. Women had to develop their own schools, and gradually be accepted into men's schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWTXBelle View Post
Many of our groups incorporate Greek gods and goddesses - but how many of our members are practicing members of an ancient Greek religion? We understand their use metaphorically. Short of a ritual that requires a member to be a Christian, I'd argue that those who aren't might be able to regard inclusion of Christian symbolism, etc. in the same vein. YMMV, and I don't know others ritual, obviously, but just the mere inclusion of Christian symbols and readings shouldn't mean that the whole of it requires our members of any creed to have to BE Christian to understand their meaning within the ritual.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carnation View Post
I don't think there's anything particularly white about our rituals but yes, many are highly Christian. I have actually seen the rituals of many GLOs because some friends are ritual collectors. Our ritual is not demeaning in any way; it's very...cherishing. I never saw a sorority ritual that wasn't.

But as I've said here before, I wouldn't have pledged AEPhi and demanded soon afterwards that they remove all the Stars of David or sections from their ritual that made me feel uncomfortable. Same with a lot of honor societies I'm in. I remember how distinctly uncomfortable I was 5 minutes into the ceremony. However, I worked hard to get those letters and far be it from me to trash what some people wrote many years ago.

Change is not always necessary or best.
Agreed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lake View Post
Do you suppose the women of Gamma Gamma Chi, the sorority of Muslim women, are anxious about changing their rituals to be more inclusive and attract a more diverse membership?
Agreed.

As I said above, my feeling is that women in general bring a slightly different past to the table than men. Our feelings are valid, and we do not like to be looked at condescendingly, especially when speaking of something so dear to our hearts.
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  #26  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:50 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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To robinseggblue: Not white, just Christian. Three of my daughters are non-white, Christian, and Greek and they are very angry that people might come into their sororities and then "demand" that the ritual be changed.
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  #27  
Old 07-02-2020, 10:52 PM
robinseggblue robinseggblue is offline
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Originally Posted by carnation View Post
To robinseggblue: Not white, just Christian. Three of my daughters are non-white, Christian, and Greek and they are very angry that people might come into their sororities and then "demand" that the ritual be changed.
I know. I'm baffled that TriDeltaSallie equated Christian ideals with "white ideals and perspectives," which I guess she got from the DG FB comment.

Last edited by robinseggblue; 07-03-2020 at 03:47 AM.
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  #28  
Old 07-02-2020, 11:00 PM
thetalady thetalady is offline
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Originally Posted by robinseggblue View Post
I'm honestly not sure why most posters in this thread are equating increasing membership diversity with loss of "white" Christian ideals.
Personally, I was replying to Kevin's comments....

"I don't know your individual rituals, and don't expect you'd share, but not addressing these things smacks a bit of Christian/white supremacy, and considering the troubled history of many of our groups in that regard..."

"--a constant reminder that our organizations roots are thoroughly white and Christian "
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  #29  
Old 07-02-2020, 11:04 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Robinseggblue, some people who are saying that NPCs should become more diverse aren't just talking about race. Almost all the blacks, Hispanics, and Asians I know are Christian.

What I am saying here is that we shouldn't be pressured to change the Christian parts of our rituals. These are precious and soothing parts of our rituals, almost like the responses my church has at the Eucharist. I know that I could never do ritual again if the New Testament sections were removed. I don't even know if I would want to remain a member if I knew that my sorority caved to pressure to change because of some vocal and vicious women.
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  #30  
Old 07-02-2020, 11:21 PM
GreatGnat GreatGnat is offline
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As a non-Christian member of an NPC organization that has ritual based in Christian ideals, I personally think the ritual could be so much more meaningful and comforting were the New Testament references removed. I served as ritual chair in my college years, and every now and then my chapter would hold ritual "translations" where we thought about our ritual's deeper meaning outside of the Christian context. Each time we created something which we could all connect to and was more beautiful than the official ritual. I know it was deeply unsettling and uncomfortable for myself and other non-Christian members to adjust to the ritual after our initiation, and even now as an alumna I have trouble saying the words which directly mention Jesus or God.

I have nothing against Christians or the Christian faith, but it just felt very disingenuous to be saying these words which have roots in a faith which I do not identify with. I don't imagine that my organization would change its ritual, but I would love to see a version which affirmed the beliefs of all our members and did not ask anyone to proclaim devotion to figures they personally did not follow.
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