In Ethics 1 Question #10, I talk about how for me taking on the mantle of Druid Priest and ADF Clergy is not one that I believe can be donned and removed at a whim. I very much believe ethics are the same. When we choose to develop a set of ethics and values they should be practiced in all aspects of our life. However, I do believe that it is extremely important as Clergy members of any faith that we adhere to our ethics even more than the average lay person. If you look at many of the mainstream religions there are examples of Clergy taking advantage of their power and position. This wounds those who rely on us as spiritual leaders, fragmenting their trust and sometimes their beliefs.
Though no one is perfect, we must strive to life as closely to our ethics and beliefs as possible. When we tarnish ourselves by not following our beliefs and principles, we make not only ourselves vulnerable but we open the door for our tradition as well as others to become vulnerable to mistrust. This can be felt among Neo-Pagan traditions especially. Most of us come from what would be considered “mainstream” religions. So we already have a bit of mistrust when it comes to religion and religious leaders. To come into a form of religion that is viewed as being without those trappings and failures of the mainstream only to see some old actions can be very disheartening.
So I believe our responsibility is to strive every day to live up to the ethical standards we set for ourselves as Clergy. In so many cases we are what new members and the ‘outside’ world first see of our tradition. We also have the responsibility to the People who have chosen us as their spiritual leaders to uphold those ethics. And in no small part we have a responsibility to the Kindred to be the best Clergy we can, to uphold our traditions morals and values, and to make proper recompense when we falter.