Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obnoxious Political Forwards on Church Lists

Tonight I received a political forward on a ward playgroup list. It was about contacting our senators to complain about Obama's health care reform package since it would cover reproductive health, including abortions.

Needless to say, I was irritated. After the hell we all went through with Prop 8, do we really need more politics infesting our Church lives and email lists? Did Prop 8 throw open the door so that people feel free to politick in Church forums? And above all, where is the sensitivity to the possibility that there are thoughtful, responsible people on the list who come down on different sides of the issue?

So what is a compassionate but firm response to this situation?

-A reply to the whole list asking that political forwards not be sent? Tempting, because it might discourage others who are inspired by this new use of the playgroup list to send out their own political forwards. But I don't want to be cruel and publicly embarrass the sender.
- A private email explaining that the recipients of emails like this are bound to feel differently about the issue, and that it's not a proper use of the list?
-An email to our RS president asking that she crack down on improper uses of interest group email lists?

I decided to go with the second option. Below is what I replied. (I actually was trying to be nice, while clearly stating my concerns. Perhaps the only place I went overboard are with the value laden words 'invasive' and 'upsetting' - but, well, I did find it invasive and upsetting.)

Any suggestions about kind but firm ways to respond the next time this happens?

I understand that you are probably assuming that all the people on this list are sympathetic to your political beliefs. Please do be aware, however, that there are a number of us who have great hopes for health care reform in this country, as well as a healthy respect for the agency of others in choices that involve their health and their bodies.

Please, please do not send any more political emails. I find it invasive and upsetting when a list that should be about moms getting together is turned into site for politicking.


(*note* - I don't even know if the sender is a member of our congregation, seeing as I don't recognize the name.)


Blogger ShalottLady said...

I agree with you, I dislike political forwards, particularly when they come through church list channels. (Actually, this forwarder is not LDS.) P. usually gets them from super-conservative family members, which is always amusing.

7/15/2009 3:26 PM  
Blogger EmilyCC said...

I think the private email is a good way to go; your's sounds firm without being hostile while carefully explaining your reasoning.

I hate those political forwards because I think, "You know, I've got a few forwards I'd like to send on, but I don't because it's rude and invasive.

7/15/2009 3:46 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Good response, I say.

7/19/2009 7:50 PM  
Anonymous E said...

I think your response was perfect until you got to the last part. "Invasive"? "Upsetting"? If everyone felt that way, no one could ever discuss any political issue anytime, anywhere, since someone might feel invaded and upset! Your friend has a right to her opinions just like you do. There is nothing wrong with being politically active, including trying to rally people to a cause.

8/20/2009 6:53 PM  

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