As the ad used to say, “Membership has its privileges”. Well, it has a lot of things including responsibilities. It also comes with a statement of agreement. When someone says he or she is a member of an organization, it is a statement of identity with the general population of the organization as well as the mission, values, and goals of that organization. So when as a matter of conscience one finds those missions, values, or goals at odds with a personal view, what is there to do?
Some would say to not worry about it, especially if it’s a minor difference. After all, show me an organization that has nothing its members object to and I’ll show you an organization founded by and consisting of one and only one person!
When the objection is large enough—when it strikes at the truth for which the organization stands—to remain a member, you must deny that same truth. If that is unconscionable, then there is no choice but to withdraw your membership.
In the public eye, there have been a number of cases in which celebrities and politicians (distinctly different unless you’re a Clinton or a Kennedy) have been called to task over their membership in anything from a country club to a church. The public decries their continued membership. Typically, the person caves and withdraws the membership.
As a matter of principle, sometimes one simply has to do what one has to do. The masses may not agree or understand, but then that’s not what taking a stand on principle is all about. It’s more about being willing to take the unpopular stand against any and all derision or criticism. It’s about being willing to stand alone if necessary rather than simply toe the line with the rest of the lemmings. It’s about being willing to do the unpopular at the risk of being unpopular. Sometimes, it’s about not caring at all what others may think.
But it should always be about doing the right thing!