ASA/CES/ACE & ASME?
Joseph Carson (73530.2350@CompuServe.COM)
05 Dec 96 19:06:17 EST
I invite comments on Dr. Belden's letter to send to me or post to the
mailing list. I appreciate his reasonable and reasoned letter, but there
are significant counterarguments I think.
Joe Carson, P.E.
David L. Belden, Ph.D., P.E.
345 East 47th Street
New York. NY 10017-2392
(212) 705-7730; email@example.com
Mr. Joseph Carson, P.E.
10953 Twin Harbour Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922
Dear Mr. Carson:
We very much appreciate receivinq your correspondence about
American Scientific Affiliation ("ASA") in which you have asked
whether it would be appropriate to form an ASA "special interest
group," or ASA SIG, within ASME, self-funded and with "some type
of official standing/recognition from ASME." The description of
ASA in the Encyclopedia of Associations (31st Edition) is as
Industrial and academic scientists subscribing to the
Christian faith. Seeks to investigate issues relating to
Christian faith and science and to make known the results of
such investigation for comment and criticism by the
Christian and scientific community. Provides advice and
direction to the church and society on how to best use the
results of science and technology while preserving the
"integrity of God's creation."
It seems clear that the primary purpose of ASA is religious and
that its religious purposes are confined to Christians.
Membership, according to your letter, is apparently limited to
those "who can give assent to [ASA's] statement of faith."
ASME's primary purpose, as set forth in its Certificate of
Incorporation and Constitution, is to "promote the arts and
sciences connected with engineering and mechanical construction
for scientific purposes...." and, in doing so, to "encourage
original research," "foster engineering education," and "broaden
the usefulness of the engineering profession in cooperation with
other engineering and technical societies," among other similar
activities. None of ASME's Certificate of Incorporation,
Constitution or By-Laws (nor any of its Policies) includes
religious activities, the promotion of religion in general or the
promotion oF any particular religious sect among the purposes or
activities of ASME. That, of course, does not mean that ASME
discriminates against any individual or group based upon
religious beliefs. But ASME does not promote or encourage one
religious set of beliefs either by itself or at the expense of
For affiliations between ASME and other organizations to be
permissible under its Policies, they must "further the purposes
of the Society," and "be limited to other not-for-profit
organizations whose purposes and objectives are compatible with
those of the Society," and, in the case of membership societies
(which we believe would include ASA), "be limited to those with
reasonably equivalent and compatible membership qualifications."
Furthermore, the affiliation document must include a provision
that "[a]ll ASME members shall be treated alike, independent of
gender, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, religious or
Thus, if in order to be a participant in the proposed ASA SIG
"within ASME," an ASME member would have to become an ASA member
or otherwise subscribe to ASA's "statement of faith," your
proposal would be clearly inconsistent with the applicable ASME
Policy. If on the other hand, your proposed ASA SIG were not
"within ASME" but were to consist of a proposed agreement of
affiliation between ASME and ASA, it would not meet either the
requirement that ASA's and ASME's membership gualifications be
"reasonably equivalent and compatible" (in that ASA membership is
limited to Christians or at least to those who assent to its
statement of faith) or the requirement that it further the
purposes of ASME (which relate to engineering, not religion.)
In your letter to the Rutherford Institute, you assert that ASME
gives "official standing" to significant interest groups "within"
ASME, based on age, race and sex, but apparently refuses to do so
based on "creed om metaphysical principles." While ASME has
student sections (although age is no barrier to membership),
gives discounts to younger people, supports its Auxiliary and has
a Board on Minorities and Women, the purpose of all of them is to
promote engineering and broader participation in the profession.
It seems clear that the primary purpose of the proposed ASA SIG
would be to promote religion, which is not consistent with ASME's
ASME encourages the participation in its activities of engineers
and other individuals of all faiths, but does not believe it is
appropriate to promote or give official standing or recognition
to the ASA SIG which you propose. Your continued interest as an
ASME member in its activities is welcome.
David L. Belden