Joseph Carson (73530.2350@CompuServe.COM)
12 Dec 96 20:27:38 EST

(Janet gave me permission to post her email to me and my response here.)

Dear Janet,

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. With your permission, I'd like to
post it to the group as your perceptions may well be similar to others on
the list-serve.

I do not mean to state that Christians have an exclusive or even privileged
view on the application of ethics or compliance with a Code of Ethics,
in a profession. I will state that the motivations of Christians in
applying or complying with ethics in a profession could be (and likely are)
somewhat different than their secular, non-theistic, or non-Christian

As it happens, I'm now the Chairman of the "Ethics and Professionalism
Committee" of the Technology and Society Division of ASME, and I certainly
am not applying any "confession of faith" criteria within that Committee.
We live in a pluralistic, secular society. That's a given, Janet.

My question is given that, must Christians be proscribed from any collective
discussion or identity under the auspices of their professional society?
And ASME is *MY* professional society, at least according to all the marketing
literature I receive from ASME.

I didn't post my letter to ASME asking about an ASA SIG, but my hopes for an
ASA SIG, as described in the letter are very modest. No funding from ASME,
no official role in ASME
governance, just formal acknowledgement from ASME that some of its Christian
members could associate with each other as both Christians (or even more
limited to members of ASA) and members of ASME. Period.

What's so discriminatory about that? No one's eligibility to ASME is
affected, I'm not requesting that similar arrangements be precluded for
other ASME members of other faiths. In fact, one could argue that this
arrangement could be useful in recognizing the pluralistic, diverse nature
of ASME, which has a growing international membership.

My experiences in DOE has given me first hand knowledge on how
"rights-challenged" employees in Federal Service (and America) generally
are. I can't even report reasonable evidence of contract abuse or,
overwhemlingly conclusive evidence of safety and health violations in
nuclear reactors in DOE, expect at the cost of my career.

Do you think I would dare talk openly about Christianity in such a coercive,
repressive environment, except as I am absolutely certain that I was within
law, regulation, and policy?

When did I become so "rights-challenged" in joining my professional society?

Don't cry for me. The joke is on all of us and our children, now saddled
with at estimated cost of 185 billion dollars to "remediate" DOE's sites
from the legacy of its environmental abuses (a necessary condition of which
is the repressive, coercive culture that exists in DOE).

I'm grateful for this opportunity. Many other Christians have much more
desperate outposts to defend as their lot in faith. In many countries
around world, someone who voiced concerns as I have would be "a prisoner
without a name in a cell without a number" or in an unmarked grave. Here,
all I realistically risk is lose of my job and blacklisting in my career -
in other words, "my nice house and car."

I hope this eases your "dis-ease" about my intentions, Janet. From my
perspective, though, the "dis-ease" many feel is about the dilemma they
would face if there was an active Christian sub-grouping within their
professional society - would it embarrass me? Would I be solicted to join?
Would I be opennly identified as a Christian? Would it hurt me
economically? etc.

Thank you again for your thoughtful post and expressions of support.

Joe Carson