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Need some input please!! So, one of the instructors in my Instructional Technology grad program asked us to design instruction for new ushers for a local church. It's worth a good portion of my final grade. It is a public university, with no religious affiliation, and I want to be assigned a different project. Am I being reasonable, in your opinions??

ReadyforaChange 7 Sep 18

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Yes, you are being unreasonable. Imagine you work for a firm and are assigned random jobs by management. You do the job to the best of your ability as it is your job. Your personal belief system shouldn't even become involved at that point. You are acting like those religious whack-jobs that won't bake a cake for a gay couple, or issue a marriage certificate. Just do the assignment, do your job, and go home and then do your own life. It's not as if you are being asked to convert, or spread the gospel, you are asking to design instruction for new ushers of a community based organization that happens to be a church. Suck it up.

Hordo Level 6 Sep 18, 2018

Thanks so much for your response..trying hard to weed out the wackos and you are definitely one them. I asked for input, not insults.


Afraid I have to go with the wedding cake for a gay couple analogy here. Just concentrate on the content instead of the context.

Yeah, nope. It is a public university, receiving federal funds. No pass.


If you treat it as an assignment it is not a big deal. Do the research and write the paper. He isn't asking you to join a church. What if you had to write on say, an usher at a broadway play, or a waiter at a restaurant?

Thanks for your input but you are comparing apples to eggplants. I don't want to read scripture or gaze upon a cross IN AN ASSIGMENT in a STEM FIELD class taking place in a PUBLIC UNIVERSITY. I pay a lot of money for the tuition in that place. I resent the intrusion.

@ReadyforaChange i understand your discomfort but i am not sure it's a reason to dump the assignment. gazing at a cross without being asked to gaze at it reverently isn't weird. it's an artifact. i could write all kinds of papers about greek mythology and my atheism extends to that as well as to modern religions. i am not sure what instructions for ushers even MEANS, but i would consider it a challenge.


@ReadyforaChange I guess at my age I don't get as offended by religion as you seem to be about this assignment. If you don't want to do it, ask the prof for an alternative assignment. If he won't capitulate, then go to the Dean. Just be respectful about it and it should work out. btw, you asked for an opinion. Don't get upset at someone for giving you what you requested, even if it isn't what you want to hear.

@ReadyforaChange Have you discussed this assignment with your classmates? Perhaps others feel as strongly as you do (I think the assignment is highly problematic, by the way...and not just the religious aspect, but the students doing work for free). You could start a petition to take "higher up," but it depends on how far you want to take it.

@Al-Bundy_59 Thanks Al, that's reasonable.

@Al-Bundy_59, @orange_girl Thanks orange_girl...hard to discuss, distance class.

@Al-Bundy_59, @orange_girl, @genessa genessa sorry so reactive...crosses give me the heebie-jeebies, for personal reasons.

@ReadyforaChange me to, to an extent, but the only time they really freaked me out was when i visited a cemetary in western france. the crosses on the tombstones were IMMENSE!



I agree with those who recommend you "do the job."

IF you feel like you are at a disadvantage because you don't have experience with "the church system," then talk to your professor directly. I would not recommend going above her/his head without talking directly to her/him first.

With that being said, I find this assignment quite odd given that it's a public university. You may want to consider the implications of your actions. If you offend the professor, you may get grief along the way.

Many years ago when I first started teaching on the college level, I had a young woman in a Composition class who refused to watch a documentary that was rated "R," because it went against her religious beliefs. I was too young and inexperienced to stand my ground then, so I gave her an alternate assignment. (It was Michael Moore I think she had a problem with and not the rating). At any rate, I think what you would be doing is MUCH different; however, it could put your professor off.

Edited to add: This past summer I had a temp job at a non-religious uni and I was shocked and offended by one woman's office cluttered with religious sayings everywhere. I don't think it has any place in the workplace. Be careful, because if your professor is religious, you may face a backlash.


Can you more narrowly focus, on perhaps ushers at a wedding or funeral? (That Might take place anywhere, not just a church). I think their duties there are much more elaborate...for example, seating the "dignitaries" properly, so it might be a more interesting read.


Why not do the project? After all, there is little religious significance in writing up instructions for church ushers. Their duties include nothing more than seating people and maintaining proper decorum and security during services. If they were asking you to put together a sermon about ushering, that would be another matter.

Actually, several of those who elected to participate in the activity as it was assigned were happy to do it..they even included nice little nuggets of wisdom from the bible. NO THANKS.

@ReadyforaChange -- I get the feeling you are sort of new to this atheism thing. Either that or you are far too rigid for your own good.


I have a few different thoughts on it, if you can hang with me. 1. I agree with others that you can just buckle down and do the assignment. A musliim might be part of the design team for a mega-church...and it's just professional to go ahead and do the job (which is somewhat like baking a cake for an LGBTQ wedding if it were against your religion). 2. You might be able to discuss with the professor, and advocate for designing something similar, like ushers at a black-tie gala or some other nonsense. 3. You could do the project, knock it out of the park, then let the prof and upper admins know your opinion (best option in my book). 4. Let upper admins know, and possibly get stonewalled into doing the project anyway just so you can pass. School assiignmeentts are just bullsh*t ways of getting you to think through problems and jump through artificial and theoretical hoops. The prof is trying to connect it to real life, but unfortunately, he's being rather short sighted.


I am a former college instructor and almost all instructors in college are not only very flexible in allowing a student to take specific topics for papers in a different direction but they love it. Perhaps suggest one for a docent in a museum or for a guide for a nature trail. Instructors love it when students want to bring their own interests into a project or a paper and will frequently let you get pretty far from the original topic. It is, of course, advisable to get approval from the instructor in advance. Was it a poor idea to take a project into the religious world, yes but it is not a likely point of conflict if you have an alternative to offer. If the instructor insists that this exercise MUST include a religious institution then you have a problem worthy of taking to the next level but I really doubt that will be necessary.

OCJoe Level 6 Sep 19, 2018

Yes. But be nice about how you ask and don't trash the church.

I am not Christian. I don't trash beliefs with which I don't agree.


You are not unreasonable. If do not have experience with a church, you are at a disadvantage from the majority who do. Can you discuss it with the chair of the department? Then perhaps the provost?


Be reasonable on the job.
A client is a client, probably they are paying for the university or it is a "help the local community" thing and agree you or not, a church is a part of the community, what you can do to test is, send a requisition for a software of the satanic church of your town and see if they accept.
Anyway it is above your level to decide this, the job is in your hands, deal with it.

Actually, not a job...paying lots of tuition to do the work. Asked for a different assignment topic, granted my wish. Tired of playing nice with the fear mongering religious sects. Ain't gonna happen.


Sounds very reasonable to me. I'd certainly ask for alternate topics to choose from.


...How is this assignment even germane to what you're studying? Looks like some church just wants something for free, drafting random students like this.


You're being more than reasonable. I would insist on an alternative assignment.


If you treat it as an assignment it is not a big deal. Do the research and write the paper. He isn't asking you to join a church. What if you had to write on say, an usher at a broadway play, or a waiter at a restaurant?

Thanks for the input, but again...apples and oranges. No restaurant I have ever frequented is a regular oppressor of women and children.


I would just do the assignment. If it bothers you that much speak to your counselor about it.


What do they want from you ? Interactive software for mega churches crowd control ? Blackbaud is a company on Daniel Island Charleston S Carolina that sells ticketing seating alumni software fundraising acquisitions accounting for universities non-profits municipal auditoriums arenae stadiums lecture halls. ...go to their website and see if your school is a client of Blackbaud. ...O-Matic is another company spun off from Blackbaud. ...know your industry and marketplace to steer clear of the enemies of knowledge infiltrating academia


What kind of gawdless community do we have here to piss upon an Atheist professional in a secular ed setting.....I blocked all of you enablers of theocracy. ....feel out all the back grounds of the department and faculty involved. ...ask if this has been done previous semesters. ...creationists are everywhere being liars until they get tenure then file lawsuits to pretend INTELLIGENT DESIGN proves their bibles are true. ...doing a good job to earn your tassel DOES NOT INCLUDE enabling tax exemptions for fraud delusion and incompetence ,


Who defines the objectives and credentials of these ushers ? If religion in any way impacts upon foot traffic seating patterns or
restricting unwelcome attendees. ..THEN NO you should object to such an assignment especially if you're required to make a field trip to an actual sanctuary with a dead body nailed to pieces of wood shoved into your face


You can, but I'd just do it.. I mean, we're talking ushering, not saving souls ?

Right, but I already asked to pick a different topic and he agreed...problem solved. Thanks for the input everyone!!


I think on the job you won't have often have a choice of the job you are assigned. So how would you handle the situation if it was a paid gig?

I would turn it down. I have turned down work in my current field...not everything is about money.

@ReadyforaChange so, given this you know how to proceed with your assignment also.


What's the class?


no idea are requests generally granted? if so go for it at the very least put in a written complaint if its not up for discussion.You say they are not religiously affiliated so how will the course work be judged and marked

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