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Hermit
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Disownment
« on: 2003-08-19 03:23:13 »
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Disownment

Preamble

In the following, much of the wording relating to Disownment, with relatively minor editing, modernisation and adaptation for on-line use, has been taken from an article about the practices within another self-assertedly non-dogmatic religion, the Society of Friends, or Quakers. The original article many be found at [ Jenny Duskey, Larry Kuenning, Charlotte Kuenning, Licia Kuenning, "Precedent for Disownment As Historically Practiced in the Society of Friends", 1991-08-28 ] . It may be useful to know that rather than a formal structure, the Quakers ran "Meetings" at which there was no formal agenda, but where members in good standing could speak out as they felt needful, and that all actions were taken by a vote of the community.

Introduction

We are not a society but a Church. A community of people who supposedly have a common system of values and interests, who have agreed to come together to provide mutual support and fellowship. As such, all members of the community agree to bind themselves to work together for the common good. We do not have a hierarchical management or system of goverment, but rather like the Society of Friends, have a Meeting Place where any member in good order may take the floor.

Membership

Like the Society of Friends, and in the absense of more particular rules, the only way to determine who is a member of the community is a statement of affiliation by a putative member and the acceptance of the community itself. A community of the willing. A person does not become a member of a community simply by asserting that they are such a member, but also by the community accepting the membership of that person.

Jurisdiction of the Community

If somebody asserts that they are a member of this community, then the opinion and will of the community is binding upon that member, and the will of the community governs that persons acceptance as a member. Further, it is evident that the community has the right to establish and impose rules of conduct for its membership, and responses to infractions of such rules, as well as the right and duty to establish when such rules are broken and enforce the infractions in order to optimise the experience of membership for all of the members and to ensure that the goals of the community ore furthered. In addition, the community has the right and duty to ensure that members do not act contrary to the good of the community, or in such a way as to bring the community into disrepute. As a community of the willing, we cannot judge the acceptability of "any" body but only of those who wish to be members of this community.

Precedent for Disownment

To prove that Disownment is appropriate in some instances, I raise the precedent of the Society of Friends, who dealt with this issue, by calling on the community to make determinations about continued membership as a consequence of actions of members, and when necessary, ejecting people from the community by means of "Disownment".

It should be noted that "Disownmnet" did not require infractions of conduct, but also in instances where they were seen as acting contrary to the interest of the "Society", I'd like to quote, two examples from Appendix B supra, "Some Sample Minutes of Disownment":

    1795 Whereas M.H. hath been guilty of appointing meetings and preaching to the people contrary to the good order used among friends, for which conduct of his we disown him from being a member of our society untill he comes to a sense of his error so as to make suitable satisfaction for the same, which that he may is desired for him. (Hopewell Monthly Meeting)[52]"
    1839 S.W. has neglected the attendance of our religious meetings and attended those of the Hicksites; and having been treated with therefor, manifested no desire to retain her right of membership with friends. We therefore disown her from being a member of our religious society. (Somerset Monthly Meeting)[54]

In modern terminology, in the first case, the member was disowned for continuous unbecoming conduct and the creation of a nuisance, in the other for prefering another belief system and so bringing the society into disrepute.

So we have historic precedent firmly on our side when we say that not only are we entitled to evaluate anybodies fitness to be a member, but also to protect our society by disowning and shunning members if this is deemed necessary.

Disownment

In testifying against an unrighteous action or even in disowning a "sinful" member, the CoV is not "excommunicating" in the sense that most churches do. Because other churches also at times revoke the membership of individuals on account of their disapproved behavior it is natural to think of disownment as another word for excommunication; however, the two concepts are not identical, and the CoV repudiates the term excommunication. The precise difference may be difficult to pin down, but we think it basically consists in this: that excommunication is aimed at the offender, whereas disownment is aimed at the world. This needs some clarifying.

When, e.g. the Roman Catholic Church denies a person the right to communicate (a technical term for receiving the eucharistic sacrament), they are denying him or her something which they believe to be an important, or even an indispensable, channel of the "grace of God". If the excommunicated person believes in the doctrines of the church then he believes the salvation of his soul to be in serious jeopardy not merely because of the sin he was excommunicated for but because he cannot get the sacrament. Historically excommunication has also involved other penalties, including exclusion from worship services, social shunning by other church members, and loss of civil rights in church-dominated nations.

Other churches that practice excommunication have often differed from the Roman Catholic view of "sacraments", but they have not discarded the underlying idea of excommunication as something done to an offender, of such nature as to motivate compliance based on fear of the church; in other words, it is a punishment. It can be a very severe punishment, putting a person into a far worse position than he or she would have been in had s/he never joined the church. Some Anabaptist groups have carried this so far that a husband and wife may not eat or sleep together if one of them has been excommunicated; and in communal churches excommunication can mean loss of one's home, possessions, and means of livelihood.

By contrast the CoV when Disowning a person, is not trying to do anything at all to that person. We are trying to define for the world's benefit what the CoV is; in particular that membership in the CoV is not consistent with the type of behavior for which the person is Disowned. The individual does lose a few rights (chiefly the right to use the facilites of the CoV or participate as an active member in its activities), but only to such an extent as is unavoidable if the CoV is to maintain its self-definition; it is not done to make the disownee feel bad, and the disownee is in no worse position than any other nonmember.

Members of the CoV are encouraged to dissociate themselves from punitive disciplinary practices and to stress the limited nature of what we are doing in Disowning: Disownment is not excommunication, it is a simple declaration of disunity, and the grounds on which it has arisen.

When members manifest their disunity with the CoV, by inconsistent or disorderly conduct, creation of dissension in the community, adoption of principles and practices contrary to the "Virian Virtues" and "Senseless Sins", or through an unwillingness to comply with the necessary rules of our on-line community, it is just and requisite, that after endeavouring to restore them without effect, the body should testify its disunity with such erring and refractory members; at the same time earnestly desiring, that they may be convinced of the error of their ways, and that through unfeigned repentance, and a consistent orderly conduct in future, they may be reunited. This being the utmost extent of our discipline respecting offenders, it is very evident that from the right exercise thereof, no degree of persecution or imposition can be justly inferred; for the imposition would rest entirely on the part of those who might insist on being retained as members, whilst at open variance with the CoV, either in principle or practice.

This is the extent of the CoV's censure against irreclaimable offenders, they are disowned as members of our religious community; which is recommended to be done in such a disposition of mind, as may convince them, that we sincerely desire their recovery and restoration.

As can be seen from the context, the reference to irreclaimable offenders in this last passage did not mean that the CoV thinks that anyone is "permanently irreclaimable" but only that the CoV has done all that we can, for the time being, in efforts to persuade the offender to repent, so that the integrity of the CoV requires a testimony of disunity.

The Disciplinary Process

When a member's offense comes to the formal attention of the CoV, one or more Virians will admonish the offender. Should this fail, the CoV will appoint a committee of two solid Virians, selected by means of the reputation system, to ascertain the facts about the matter reported, and (if the member complained of was guilty) to learn whether he or she was repentant. It the individual did not seem contrite these Virians will attempt to persuade the offender to repent. If this is successful the offender will offer a written acknowledgment, expressing that what he or she has done is contrary to the principles of the CoV, that they are sorry for it and intend to behave better in the future. The reason for its being in writing is so that the CoV's disunity with the action will be on record. The acknowledgement might be seen as humiliating, is not intended that way. If the offender is sincere they will be motivated to clear any damage to the reputation of the CoV.

Should the offender not retract and reject their conduct then the question of Disownment is raised. The CoV will postpone Disownment as long as there seemed the least chance of the situation being rectified. If, however, the erring member persistently refuses to offer a satisfactory acknowledgment, then the CoV appointed committee will eventually write a paper indicating its disunity with the action and the CoV's Disownment of the offender. The purpose of such a paper is the same as the purpose of the acknowledgment, to keep the ethical standards of the CoV a clear matter of record. An offender subjected to Disownment loses all rights within the CoV, most especially the right to use the various on-line communications facilities maintained by the CoV.

A member, on notification of Disownment, may appeal this to a panel comprised of six solid Virians, first at the time of the Disownment, and again at six months after the disownment and again at one year after the disownment. The ballot of this panel shall be secret, and its results binding.

Purposes and Nonpurposes of Disownment

We have discussed the primary function of Disownment in maintaining the public credibility of the CoV. Disownment's primary purpose is to protect the CoV from disrepute. Another, closely related, purpose is that of maintaining internal consistency of the CoV. The ability to use our forums is select, that is, limited to members in good standing. These members are assumed to have the same convictions and therefore to be approaching the questions before the CoV with a common purpose. Throwing the doors open to people who are at open variance with the Body, either in principle or practice, makes it difficult or impossible to maintain order and civility in our deliberations.

To sharpen up these concepts it may be helpful to list some things which are not the purpose of Disownment.
    Disownment is not for the purpose of doing the offender good (nor for doing him or her harm). The admonitory steps that precede Disownment aim at the welfare of the erring Virian, but Disownment occurrs at the point where the community feels it has done its duty to that end, and must proceed with Disownment for the sake of the CoV's reputation. Presumably in some cases Disownment might produce a salutary shock that would awaken the Virian and motivate reformation, while in other cases it might lead to the person's hardening; but the CoV does not try to predict which of these outcomes is the more likely in a given case and will not use this type of consideration to determine whether Disownment is in order.

    Disownment is not done to get rid of the company of someone whom other Virians dislike.

    It is not the purpose of Disownment to define the individual's standing with respect to the Senseless Sins and Virian Virtues. That is a private issue.

Consequences of Disownment

The chief consequence of Disownment for the disowned person is that they no longer have the right to vote or use our on-line facilities; for the Society it is that we no longer have an obligation to oversee the behavior of the Disowned. This does not necessarily mean that concern for the, or contact with the Disowned must cease. But any actions resulting from concern are undertaken at the members own initiative.

There is no Shunning involved in Disownment; the CoV does not tell Virians with who they may or may not associate or have as friends.
« Last Edit: 2003-08-19 03:58:55 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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Re:Disownment
« Reply #1 on: 2003-08-19 03:37:00 »
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[[ author reputation (2.22) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

« Last Edit: 2003-08-19 03:37:34 by metahuman » Report to moderator   Logged
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Re: virus: Re:Disownment
« Reply #2 on: 2003-08-19 13:46:16 »
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...keep in mind meta human, that Hermit's opinions are generally packaged
along with very extensive research and backup info...and are more than not
posed as "this is the way i feel/think and here is what proves it for me"
whether or not he might be right or wrong, he offers up much more than blind
opinion, and is generally available for reasonable discussion on his
opinions.  everyone has their own opinions, and hermit does a very fine job
of balancing them with supporting info on almost every occasion.  if you
find his backup info to be bullshit or if you disagree with his conclusions
he may, like anyone, stalwartly say he has made up his mind...but anyone is
free to do that.



DrSebby.
"Courage...and shuffle the cards".





----Original Message Follows----
From: "metahuman" <hidden@lucifer.com>
Reply-To: virus@lucifer.com
To: virus@lucifer.com
Subject: virus: Re:Disownment
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 01:37:00 -0600

What this basically says it that the CoV community should kick out Joe and I
because we share ideas that are different than the Hermitic Virianism that
is prominently shared by himself and his little band of followers. Virtual
disownment is equivalent in concept to the Puritan exercise of publicly
burning accused witches, heretics, atheists, and agnostics at the stake.

"Kill all who oppose me," said Jesus Christ as he led his band of rogues
from city to city.

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Hermit
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Re:Disownment
« Reply #3 on: 2003-08-19 14:00:42 »
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Quote from: Demon on 2003-08-19 03:37:00   

What this basically says is that the CoV community should kick out Joe Dees, Bill Roh, and I because we share ideas that are different than the Hermitic Virianism that is prominently shared by himself and his little band of followers. Virtual disownment is equivalent in concept to the Puritan exercise of publicly burning accused witches, heretics, atheists, and agnostics at the stake.

"Kill all who oppose me," said Jesus Christ as he led his band of rogues from city to city.

Actually, the "Society of Friends" were the civilized ones who got burned. Had you bothered to read the source, you would have discovered that they would Disown any of their members who became involved with violence. I think you are thinking of the Anabaptists.

And further, had you read this document, you would have discovered that Disownment is not an action against anybody. It is a last resort action taken to preserve the reputation and accord within the church when there is no sign that an offender will improve.

Had you not become abusive towards others, many of whom I care for far more than I do for you, you would not have earned my disapprobation. Either way, I recognise that your youth and enthusiasm can lead you to assert things which you may later regret, and so, while I question your current value to the CoV, I do not think your behaviour irremedial or deserving of Disownment. Of course, you could always choose to prove me wrong. That, like the opinions you choose to harbor would be your choice.

Hermit
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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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Re:Disownment
« Reply #4 on: 2003-08-20 13:33:18 »
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In the Disownment/Disinfection Policy it is specified that

"It is not the purpose of Disownment to define the individual's standing with respect to the Senseless Sins and Virian Virtues. That is a private issue."

Why is this necessarily a private issue?

Perhaps application of the Virian morality would be beneficial to defining the policy.

Awaiting enlightenment,

Prometheus
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Re:Disownment
« Reply #5 on: 2003-08-20 19:50:05 »
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Because while I can judge your actions in the light of my understanding of our sins and virtues, I can't judge your motivations or philosophy. So for example, while I condemn what Joe Dees has done to the boards and the community, I cannot judge why he did it. In his mind he may be being rational, or displaying empathy (I can't imagine that even he claims to be embracing vison as I think he acts to limit the audience for his own memes even as he reduces the CoV's ability to propagate itself).

In my opinion he is not adhering to the Virian Virtues and I think that his words on various occassions support this opinion. But words can be spoken for effect, or in anger, and do not neccessarily reflect the internal state of the speaker. And I'm sure that if he were here to reply, that he thinks the same of me. I'm equally sure that we could argue about this till the last proton in the Universe evaporates and neither of us will change our minds about the other. If we do it here the CoV will be left even more of a blasted wasteland than it is already.

So I do not attempt to judge or comment on his motivations or beliefs. And I don't think that any other member can do it for anyone else either, What one person cannot do, no group of people can do. Whih is why this is precluded. It is up to us to build our own systems of ethics and justify our choices to ourselves if we can.

So not being able to draw conclusions about motivation, which is needed to determine culpability, are our hands tied? Of course not.

The proposed system asserts that we can separate ourselves from members who refuse to conform to the norms of the community, who create situations which cast the community in bad light, that cause dissension in the community and who repeatedly fail to heed calls by the community to correct what the community regards as faults.

Apropos of something, the CoV exists primarily in a virtual space. There is only one currency which establishes the ability of members to speak for the community and that is "respect", which has to be earned and is easily squandered. So this proposal and others to follow, makes this explicit, and will enable those members who are most respected and involved (because respect is in part generated by involvement) to act in such a way as to protect the interests of the CoV. The membership has the ability to change the composition of the proposed "council of the respected" at any time, simply through changes in the degree of "respect" offered to one another.

The Disownment proposal, and related documents to follow, are intended to serve to establish the basis under which the duties and obligations of respected community members will be effected, delineating the remedies which are likely to be effected in the event that action appears necessary.

Regards

Hermit
« Last Edit: 2003-08-21 15:30:27 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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