atheism, atheist, Belief, bible, Christ, christianity, Civil Rights Act of 1964, coworkers, debate, empathy, faith, free thought, freedom from religion, god, humanism, islam, Jesus Christ, morality, proselytizing, religion in the work place, religious expression, religious freedom, religious harassment, secularism, setting boundaries, Title VII, work place pressure, work place proselytizing
Over the course of the past two weeks, I have undergone training courses at my new employer’s office. Typically, you get to meet everyone you will be working with, and I had a couple days of shadow training. Essentially, I was riding along side my trainer, watching how she did her job, and unfortunately, received more than an earful about the importance of God in her life, how awesome her brother is (a good God fearing man), how she dislikes President Obama, and thinks it is horrible how the “Indians” are buying out local businesses where she lives. “I hate it when that happens.” Because surely these “foreigners” aren’t real Americans and are hurting our business. All this while running stop signs, spinning tires and kicking up ice, and hurrying to finish our day’s work so she could go to her husband’s rodeo event later that night. She was going to be singing karaoke later and was really looking forward to entertaining the crowd.
Ahhh. Such a devout Christian isn’t she? Complete with a side of Fox News inspired prejudice. May her precious Gawd forbid anyone that is legitimately a member of these United States have the opportunity to buy out a business that is struggling and bring more revenue in to the local city. It’s just terrible, huh?
Well, fast forward to mid morning today. I have had several other employees digging around to figure out if I am related to other people they know with a similar last name as my own. Today, a woman went so far as to ask who my partner’s parents are. So I rattled off the maiden name of mom, and dad’s first name. She laughed, saying they had an uncle with that name and maybe they were related. I asked her if he was a nice guy. She said,”Of course.” I said, with the utmost serious voice, that it couldn’t be my partner’s father then. His dad was a very, very, bad man. I related about his abusive behavior towards women, alcoholism, and the thirteen children we knew for sure he had spawned. Needless to say, I’m sure the word will get round and I will no longer have this same conversation over and over now that it is out there.
Well, my orgasmic-for-Jesus coworker I was shadowing with decided to pipe in.
“You can be sure where that fella ended up then, when he died. Unless he pulled a last minute cry for salvation, of course, but even then….”
**Sigh** You know how old this shitty ass line of thinking gets? And folks of her mind set really do not think a second thought about what was said or even the ridiculous contradiction within the sentence. Still, this is a road we’ve all experienced on here so I am not going to break down the erroneous line of logic she was utilizing.
I looked at her for a moment, she is still focusing back and forth on her work and her little statement, obviously engaging me towards a religious discussion, and I went ahead and lightly bit in.
“I can’t judge his relationship with Jesus, and neither can you.”
“No, no. If they ain’t walking the walk….”
“No, a relationship with Jesus is personal. You aren’t in any position to judge. Dahmer received his salvation, and frankly, I don’t think I would want to share an eternity with him.”
“People can’t just talk the talk, they have to walk the walk. Don over there (she points to the other side of our work area), I helped him get right with God again, and Peggy over there, she’s been struggling, but she isn’t giving up. They are walking the talk.”
“You know, I don’t need salvation to walk the walk. I don’t need to talk about my walk either. And frankly, we’re just glad he isn’t walking the earth anymore.”
Couldn’t here a pin drop. She quite literally spun around and just stared at me for a second, having to digest the implication in the statement. And the woman inquiring about my family tree earlier? She is hanging tight by the edge of our area, listening in with avid glee. I could tell I am not the only one who is sick of this woman’s religious righteousness that is constantly on display for less than righteous reasons.
“You don’t .. need.. salvation?”
Okay, here is where Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 comes into play. This is where I put my own boundary out there once and for all, and she needs to decide if she wants to cease and desist. Keep in mind, I didn’t need to engage her as far as I already had, but I am well within my right here, and so is she, as far as general discussion of her beliefs. This helps me get a good feel of her intentions when bringing up religion, so in the future, I know what to expect. It’s when she starts proselytizing you want to lay the hammer down.
So, in response I make it very succinct and clear that,”No, I don’t need salvation. I don’t believe in that. Or anything else for that matter. I have no use for it, and no desire to discuss it further.”
This is the critical point. I’ve set my boundary, politely but firmly. If she takes insult, it is in her own mind, and I wait to see if she uses her better judgement. If she continues on, I’ll report her to my boss. Again, I haven’t made a direct insult whatsoever against her beliefs. I pushed enough earlier to understand that conversations on the topic with her are not a good idea, and that I would be a prime target for intentional proselytizing if I don’t put my views out there now.
She just says “hmmmnn” and goes back to working her area. Of course, EVERY time she walked out of our area, she would start singing that infamous hymn by Bartlett called “Victory in Jesus”. You know the one:
I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory,
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea.
About the angels singing and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.
I knew exactly which one it was by only the melody, without even the verses involved. It was funny though, as she would walk away, she’d sing it proudly, and when she would get back, she would avoid eye contact while singing it and bring it down to an under the breath kind of thing. What a pussified cunt, right?
I found it hilarious. Part of me had thought to join in with her in singing it, let her think we were having a break through moment, and then I would remark how often I had to sing that in church as a child and it was one of those songs you absentmindedly just seem to know the lyrics to for the rest of your life afterwards. Or maybe act like it was a break through, and say I might look into religion again, only this time Islam since it seemed more conservative than Christianity, and I am a TRUE conservative at heart compared to my Baptist counterpart.
I’m bad, I know. Instead of doing any of the above, I opted to just start peppering her questions about procedure and help unpaint the corner she put herself into by bringing up a barrier involving lyrics about a mansion in Heaven and streets of gold. Maybe she thought she was protecting herself from my obvious atheism? Whatever it was, it scared her, and it took me coaxing her out of her paranoia to resume with our day in a way where I would glean enough information to be able to work without her there.
Needless to say, it was nice to have a refresher course in exercising religious freedoms today, in a government office no less! And it would seem, she knew enough to keep her mouth shut once I drew a line in the mail room dust.