Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Discovery

If you're one of my friends on Facebook, you've seen that my boss has finally decided to take issue with my head covering. Her argument is that it is a hat, and we have a "no hats of any kind" policy - of which I am fully aware. I first attempted to counter that my scarves are not hats, but she maintained it was. I explained it was part of my religious observance, she wanted to know what religion, what part of it requires me to veil, if I would be ejected from the faith if I did not veil, if there were any times when I did not veil. She implied that if I were a member of some faith that she had heard of and knew had a veiling practice, like Muslim or Quaker, than it would be ok, but because I'm a member of a faith she's never heard of and she doesn't understand why I veil or think that it is important to the practice of my faith, she's going to talk with Human Resources and see what they say.

I do not trust her to be unbiased about it, based on our conversation. I believe she will present the matter to HR in such a way as to interject her personal beliefs - it's not important to the practice of my faith, it's not required by my faith, no one has heard about my faith anyway, and a scarf is a hat. She will fish for the answer that she wants by making judgments on the validity of my practice, instead of accepting that exceptions to dress codes for religious observance need to be made. When I told her I could have my clergy write a letter to HR, she said that was not necessary. I suspect because once I get clergy involved it becomes an official matter of religious discrimination, and she won't get the answer that she wants. I have asked for that letter anyway.

I have also asked to meet with someone in HR. Because I can't trust my boss to be unbiased, I have to be able to present my case directly. I will also write a letter for them to have on file officially requesting the accommodation of my religious dress if they're going to argue that a scarf is a hat.

I was speaking to my Plain Quaker friend, Valerie, about it. She has offered to write a letter on my behalf as well, stating why Quakers veil and quoting scripture. But I'm not Quaker. Valerie explained thus:

"In my heart, everyone's good enough to be a Quaker, they just don't know I made'em one

I figured, we have Buddhist Quakers and Jewish Quakers and Muslim Quakers, there's enough room for ever'body in my boat, LOL

We have four types of Quaker meetings--pastoral, non-pastoral, which sounds like one's in the countryside but means with a preacher, or not.

And, we have Conservative, and Liberal. Conservative is me, I'm a Jesus hugger, and Liberal, which fits in other faiths as Quaker and doesn't require a belief in Jesus.

Overall, using society's terms, we are Conservative in that we believe in protecting the environment, being somewhat self-sufficient in caring for ourselves, pretty much against killing in any form (war, death penalty, mercy killing, etc.) But we are all very liberal in that we believe in protest, following what we feel is right rather than what a law says is right, direct line to God without intercessionaries, all men are created equal (to the point we do not use titles, even Judge or Doctor)."

With me so far? It means I could be a Pagan Quaker, or a Wiccan Quaker, and I would be considered a Liberal Quaker. Then she sent me to this site and this site which led me here and here. (Click on these links, dear readers! I'm soooo excited about these!)

Frankly, the more I learn about Quakerism, the more I love it (this is true for me of Sikhism as well, but that's neither here nor there) and I'm fortunate to have such a fantastic resource in Valerie. While I'm fully committed to my pagan path, I am aware that I've had Quaker leanings for years. I'm utterly fascinated by this Quaker Paganism development and I can't wait to do more research on it!

How does this tie into my upcoming discussion with HR? If they decide I need to be a member of some known faith with specific tenets about veiling, I'll have no qualms about claiming Quaker Pagan as it fits my purpose, and I can provide a letter to that end.

But, research! I get to do more research! And I am amazingly elated about what I may find. Something somewhere feels *right* and I need to know more. I'm almost shaking with the excitement of new knowledge and discovery!

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