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In the discussion thread: Spirituality vs the "God" idea. [View all]

Response to Stuart G (Reply #47)

Tue Apr 16, 2013, 02:20 AM

49. Did he or she question the "not religious" claim or the program, other than ask a question about it?

Progree #45>> 45. As long as you don't question the program, especially its "not religious" claim, you'll be fine n/t <<

[font color = blue]Stuart>> Question if you like..here is what happened last Sunday...at a 12 step meeting........... A new member was struggling with the higher power deal.. I was leading the meeting...this member produced a picture of a child, (I will leave it at that) and said basically.."my love for this child is some kind of HP...that is what I can come up with.."
.....Now I am leading the meeting, and there are very few members, this member asks me...."is that ok?" I said..sure..that is ok if that is what you want it to be............." [/font]

That's wonderful Stuart. But she didn't "question the program, especially its 'not religious' claim". She simply asked if she can use the love for a child as a higher power.

I maintain that if one questions the "not religious" claim of the program, and give some examples and points like in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32 , and ask why A.A. -- in keeping with its principle of rigorous honesty -- doesn't drop its claim to being "not religious", given that it is obviously religious to anyone constitutionally capable of acknowledging the obvious -- something that all 4 federal appeals courts and both state supreme courts that have heard these cases agree upon -- one can be sure, with metaphysical certainty, to be attacked, no matter who is running the meeting.

This thread is a perfect example of that, complete with the bold-faced caps and veiled threats and personal condemnations.

Also you yourself said in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144962 :

[font color = blue]Stuart>>...as the leader ... for me, there really is only one requirement... My rule is....."don't talk too long.." that is it.. As long as you keep your talk reasonable, not on and on...I don't care.. (and it can't really condemn the program or be totally disruptive)..Like, "the program sucks...etc." [/font] (emphasis added)

I suppose it depends on what you consider "it can't really condemn the program". If someone makes the case that:

# A.A. should drop its claim to being not religious - see http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32 for all the ways it pushes a deity version of God (proselytization)

# A.A. should discourage the use of the Lord's Prayer (given all the Traditions it violates or at least pushes the boundaries of) -- http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post25

# A.A. should condemn the practice of many intergroups which refuse to list agnostic/freethinker/atheist groups

# A.A. should more explicitely allow groups to use a secular version of the 12 steps if they choose (in keeping with the "not religious" claim).

# The A.A. Big Book needs some re-writing. It needs to re-do the chapter to the agnostic (Chapter 4) so that it is something other than a multi-page attack on agnostics (vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinant -- see post #32 for a longer list), and the "To Wives" chapter so that it isn't such demeaning out-of-date advice, just to name two of many that need to be brought up to date (or were never "in date" to begin with).


Would you consider that "really condemning the program"? Or rather seeking to widen the door so that all may pass through (and stay at least long enough to have a good chance of maintaining sobriety)? I know and have heard of a lot of agnostics / atheists who quit going to meetings after a month or year or two of sobriety because they felt it was initially helpful; but their shares and way of working certain of the steps criticized as "not being spiritual enough" or whatever caused them to leave.

After all, you wrote eloquently how A.A. changed over the years -- by eventually allowing in agnostics, women, blacks, high bottom drunks, youth, dual-addicted, and gays -- in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post29 . Those changes didn't just happen, they were the result of internal struggles in many groups and intergroups and in some cases at the GSO level. Making waves is what got these people through the door.

Many thought it was "really condemning the program" when condemning the discriminatory exclusivity.

I'm also mindful of Tradition 3 in the 12 X 12 (p. 143)
http://www.aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_tradition3.pdf <-link good 4/15/13, but can't copy and paste from.

Not long after the man with the double stigma knocked for admission, A.A.'s other group received into its membership a salesman we shall call Ed. ... He had at least an idea a minute on how to improve A.A. These ideas he sold to fellow members with the same burning enthusiasm with which he distributed automobile polish. But he had one idea that wasn't so salable. Ed was an atheist. His pet obsession was that A.A. could get along better without its 'God nonsense.' He browbeat everybody, and everybody expected that he'd soon get drunk ... Distressingly enough, Ed proceeded to stay sober.

At length the time came for him to speak in a meeting. We shivered, for we knew what was coming. He paid a fine tribute to the Fellowship; he told how his family had been reunited; he extoled the virtue of honesty; he recalled the joys of Twelfth Step work; and then he lowered the boom. Cried Ed, "I can't stand this God stuff! It's a lot of malarkey for weak folks. This group doesn't need it, and I won't have it! To hell with it!"

"... The elders led Ed aside. They said firmly, “You can’t talk like this around here. You’ll have to quit it or get out.” ... {Ed} read aloud, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Relentlessly, Ed went on, “When you guys wrote that sentence, did you mean it, or didn’t you?” Dismayed, the elders looked at one another; for they knew he had them cold. So Ed stayed."


To a lot of people, this is "really condeming the program". But at least in the 12 X 12 Ed stayed. I don't think that would be true in most groups. Oh, he wouldn't get explicitely evicted, at least not for awhile, but he'd get a lot of hostile feedback and even be shunned. But maybe that's a regional difference.

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Stuart G Jan 2012 OP
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #1
Tripod Jan 2012 #2
Old Codger Jan 2012 #3
tavalon Feb 2012 #15
Old Codger Feb 2012 #20
Stuart G Feb 2012 #21
progree Feb 2012 #23
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #27
tavalon Feb 2012 #38
Old Codger Feb 2012 #31
tavalon Feb 2012 #33
tavalon Feb 2012 #36
demosincebirth Feb 2012 #35
tavalon Feb 2012 #37
demosincebirth Feb 2012 #39
progree Jan 2012 #4
Rhiannon12866 Jan 2012 #5
progree Jan 2012 #6
Stuart G Jan 2012 #7
tavalon Feb 2012 #16
progree Feb 2012 #24
tavalon Feb 2012 #26
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #8
progree Jan 2012 #9
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #10
progree Jan 2012 #11
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #12
progree Jan 2012 #14
Stuart G Jan 2012 #13
tavalon Feb 2012 #18
Tripod Feb 2012 #22
progree Feb 2012 #32
tavalon Feb 2012 #17
Rhiannon12866 Feb 2012 #19
progree Feb 2012 #25
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #28
Stuart G Feb 2012 #29
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #30
progree Feb 2012 #34
mrjackshuman Apr 2013 #40
NMDemDist2 Apr 2013 #41
cordelia Apr 2013 #42
Lil Missy Apr 2013 #43
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2013 #44
progree Apr 2013 #45
cordelia Apr 2013 #46
Stuart G Apr 2013 #47
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2013 #48
LineLineLineLineNew Reply Did he or she question the "not religious" claim or the program, other than ask a question about it?
progree Apr 2013 #49
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