Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nursing Home Refuses SECULAR Center's Services

Several of the SECULAR Center’s ( supporters in Houston have asked about volunteering at a nursing home or senior center. On July 29th I called a nursing home in the Westchase area to ask about volunteer opportunities. The volunteer director I spoke with, a woman, asked about our group. I told her that we were a group of non-theists who volunteer at different locations around Houston. She commented to me that most of the people at her nursing home were Christians.

I explained to her that we just want to do volunteer work in our community. She then said, “I prefer people with Christian beliefs to volunteer here.” I again explained that we were not trying to convert anyone; we just wanted to visit with the seniors, or host a fun activity for them. The volunteer director told me that we would have to talk to the Administrator of the home about it because she wasn’t going to be responsible for making that decision.

I spoke with a friend who is familiar with discrimination laws and he said that it’s perfectly legal for them to discriminate against us if they are a privately owned company. I was very surprised to hear that and thought that everyone else might be also. I think I will talk to the Administrator and ask him to let the SECULAR Center volunteer there, and if he doesn’t agree, I may write them a strongly worded letter and I might send it to the local newspaper as well. What are your ideas for handling this situation? Post a comment, or e-mail and let me know!

Maybe you think that there’s no reason to get out into the community, but this just proves that people are so afraid of Atheists that they won’t even let us volunteer there. You might say that you don’t care what the general public thinks, but living in Houston TX is like living in a church every day. People assume everyone is religious like people used to assume everyone is straight. I never felt like I could correct them without being discriminated against just like in this situation.

I’m tired of it, and that’s why I and two others started the SECULAR Center – so that the godless can do good works in the community and maybe someday even have a facility of our own to gather at. Please strongly consider getting involved in secular community volunteering in your own area, or go to and support us here in Houston. We have 185 supporters all over the world so far and would like to continue growing in spite of discrimination in our community.

1 comment:

  1. I think, and this is just my opinion of course, we shouldn't label ourselves as non-theist or Ahtheist. Those labels both bring baggage that we can choose not to carry. Maybe just a group of local Houstonians who want to do good things for the community. No agenda, just help for those in need. - jana