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This morning, we had an agency-wide managers’ meeting, offsite. The ED decided to start the meeting with prayer as usual (even though we are classified as a governmental entity, it’s the East Texas Bible Belt). As always, I tried to be respectful, lowered my head slightly but didn’t close my eyes, looking around occasionally for someone else who might “be like” me.

Following the meeting, my boss asked me if I wanted to join him and his boss for lunch. Having recently applied for a promotion, I figured not to turn down an opportunity that may be beneficial to me. At the restaurant, my boss’s boss said, “Shall we bless the food?” and proceeded to pray, thanking god for the food and the “good Christian men and women in our organization.” Lunch continued with little else religious mentioned.

Does anyone else run in to situations like this? I played along with the prayer, of course; but never acknowledged my lack of belief or their religiosity.

Do you think I’m being disingenuous? Or just trying to “survive” in this culture by playing their game?

mentalinnuendo 5 Nov 22
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53 comments

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10

Religion and beliefs has as little to do with business as sexual or political preference has. They are all private and should be respected.

10

Reading all these comments makes me happy I grew up in the Northeast where they aren't rabidly religious. I never would have lived this long.

9

You've just described my life all day, everyday. I live in the thick of the Bible Belt. God Bless America.

Are you being disingenuous? Not by my standards. Sometimes we have to pick our battles and you're dealing with a no-win situation, just like I am.

Only once was I fed up enough I let my atheism enter one of my near-daily eye-roll "thank you Jesus" exchanges. It didn't end well for that guy. He's likely still looking for his testicles. 🙂

9

Do what it takes to get by... Get promoted.... All the way to the top.

Begin YOUR lunches by sacrificing lambs or satanic death chants.

Turnabout is fair play.

8

This is Christian bullying. It is extremely disrespectful.

8

I used to lower my head and play along, now I look around as if to say "wtf?"

I won’t lower my head. It’s against my anti religious belief.

When I look around I’m always hoping to find someone doing the same. Today, I did notice another woman with her head up, but I couldn’t tell or catch her eye.

7

It is a shame that we have to cope with Christian's silly prayer antics.

7

Sometimes silence is the best policy. You gotta do what you gotta do.

When I'm in a situation where it doesn't matter, I'll have fun with it. For example, if I'm eating with friends, and they ask me to "say grace," I'll put my hands in a meditative pose, and chant, "Buddha, Buddha, bless the fooda." 😂

6

I think we all have been in similar situations. I believe in being respectful and tolerant. I am more convinced than that even after I went to a local meeting of organized atheists. They were way too confrontational for my liking.I am a strong proponent of the separation of church and state but I am at peace with what I see as proper boundaries. I don't see a need to share my heartfelt beliefs unless I feel sure they will be respected. In the situation you describe you it's very unlikely that your beliefs will be respected so why share? My father was a devoted catholic, prayed three times a day but wouldn't step foot inside a church vehemently dismissed them as businesses.

6

Welcome to the experience all people of color endure every damn day of their lives. I cannot recall how many have told me in my life very similar things around race, not religion. I have heard it termed "Go along to get along", "blending" and "Playing the game".

Ask the folks with Melanin, they have to learn it in childhood, which is a profound statement about our "civilized" society.

A friend who is a Woman of Color was having breakfast with me and my parents a few years ago and another diner was giving her rude looks. My elderly mother turned and stared at him, problem solved. The rude man lifted his newspaper in embarrassment.

@Davesnothere I can’t imagine what you’ve had to deal with (especially if you’re from the south) and would never dream of comparing my experience with yours or so many others. I sincerely hate that you have to deal with that.

@mentalinnuendo Srry, but I am melanin deficient. I grew up durng the civil rights movement and have always had friends with melanin. Although I have been present (and acted much like MizJ's Mom on several occassions). It is just a reality I am aware of from personal experience with friends of color throughout my life.

Not the first time I have had my words lend that impression though. A few years ago I was in the Park next to the Berkely/Oakland homeless shelter, sitting there with my adult son prattling on about Bobby Seal and the Panthers and the vast difference between what they were doing on the ground, like feeding hngry kids and creating free child care, and how they were portrayed in our media. To me a History lesson for my son, near the place where a lot of it happened.

Suddenly a Black guy, who was prone on a bench nearby lept to his feet, looked at me oddly, and walked away. My son and I kept talking, and a moment later he walks back and says, "you just mind fucked me"
I said "Say what, how did I do that?"
He says, "hear I am snoozing in the sun when I hear a brother preachin the truth about Bobby seal and the Panthers, so I hop up to shout "PREACH it Brother!", then I see you and your fuckin white! SO I just walked off. I did not think ANY white people knew about that smear."

The three of us had coffee and a long conversation about those times, He was also old enough to recall them. That was a proud moment for me and a confirmation that I don't get it all wrong all the time anyways. I was glad to pop his bubble, and those of many thereabouts as the conversation expanded over coffee.

I agree very much with Katt Williams on this . . .

@mentalinnuendo The South is worse but it exists all over, including the Northeast.

@MizJ My experience has not been strictly the mason dixon line. Back in the 80's that was very visible, but even then it was pockets, and the south was more tolerant of such pockets so those pockets were bigger.
I saw horrid racisim in New Orleans and on the forgotten coast, and in PA, and in CA, and in pockets everywhere.

6

I think it's a great case of having religion shoved down your throat. Proud of you for not throwing it up.

That said, if asked point blank and you hem and haw, or give such a vauge answer as to be open to a yes or no interpretation, you are being disingenuous. If that happens, hit them with the bible. Mathew 7:16
"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

So you tell me, are my fruits figs or thorns?"

1of5 Level 8 Nov 22, 2019

Right on!

5

I'm a member of AA and you can imagine all the "Gods" and stuff we have! I have my own "higher power," rooted in nature. I also like to "believe" we are more interconnected as humans that we give ourselves credit for; my higher power is a spiritual "All that Is." When I say the serenity prayer (I heard it this way once and my stress just DUMPED), I say, "Gods, Grant me ..." If they say the Lord's Prayer, I stand in silence. It's not my religion, and they don't judge me, either.
At the food table, ugh. I'll hold hands with people, but won't say any prayers or words. And I won't say the "...under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance when it's said in government meetings (I really hate that). Sometimes you have to fake it, but know in your heart that you're just going along to keep the peace.

5

You are doing fine. There are almost always trade offs with any job. If you feel good about the way you handle your relationship with your boss, that is all that matters.

5

I don’t lower my head anymore. I just look around and wait for the nonsense to end.

I wink at the small kids who are also waiting for the nonsense to end at family things 🙂

5

Keep written records and copies of everything. Record audio oand or video. Have people sign off on your work, by email or paper trial. Having tangible evidence of work contribution, performance evaluation, and religious discrimination is the best tool you have to protect yourself and claim damages.

You have no obligation to tell them the truth. It is not a crime to pretend especially to protect yourself. You're bring paid to do a job and that's it.

It might be also time to switch to a new company. 🙂

Also....Perhaps we can start a list of companies we can personally avoid as employees or patrons.

Good ideas!

5

I was fired once on a trumped-up charge of an unspecified ‘HIPPA violation’; the real reason was the director of nursing discovered I was heathen as the day is long. I agreed to go quietly in exchange for a reference.
Do what you have to to get by, unless you can afford to fight and die on that hill. I wish I could have fought, but like so many others, I had to work.

5

It is really awful that they shove their quackery in your face like that at work. Especially using the power dynamic to force everyone to follow. It says much about them but I wouldn't be concerned about following along because the old cronies have all the power so you've gotta do, what you've gotto do.

5

If you do not play along with their game you may not have a job. Try to think up some one liners to use if they try and trap you on religion. If they try and trap you maybe you can say you have never been actively involved in religion. IDK? Truth or lie it depends on how badly you need that job, and a great many today are wanting those who believe in the invisible man. My guess is that they think believers will have better character.

5

You can only do what you think is best under whatever circumstances you
find yourself. If you feel like you have to "play along", that's what you do.
It's YOUR conscience. You do whatever you can live with.

I think it sucks that we are all subjected to the delusions of people who can
interfere with our futures. Whether it be with employment, education, or any
other damned way they try to influence other people's lives.

This is the world we live in.
We do what we have to do to survive.

4

Your private life is just that, it isn't any business of your company nor is it required of you to state. No need to say a word.

4

From the other side of the table, I am the company owner. Some of my employees are LDS. One is Agnostic and some I don't know, maybe "nones". The LDS are key people. I feel fortunate to have them as well the Agnostic. Actually right now all employees are really good productive company people, especially considering this low unemployment environment we're in. I haven't said anything to them about my religious beliefs, excepting to the agnostic. They haven't asked, but I expect they know or suspect. We have a generous profit sharing program so coming out openly as an atheist might hurt them and the company sales. I believe this approach is more likely to create a good workplace environment and eventually convince them that Atheists are not evil baby eaters.

4

It’s Texas, this type of behavior is expected almost everywhere. You did the best that you could do in this situation. In order to keep a job and make a living down here in Texas requires you to many times just keep your mouth shut, head down, and plowing ahead.

4

I can say, having been quite a bit further down the scale towards "disingenuous" myself, that you're just making the best of a bad situation. Don't let their unethical behavior and culturally ignorant assumptions gaslight you into feeling compromised. Your religious position is none of their goddamn business, and tolerating their rudeness to avoid a fruitless, unwinnable fight is often a necessary political move.

4

Wow, lots of comments! Thank you! I like my job and the work we do in the community, so I’ll continue to play along. It’s really more of an inconvenience most of the time and doesn’t, or shouldn’t, effect daily business. When and if it does, then I would be more vocal. But as I said in a reply, I view my beliefs as I view others’ beliefs: I don’t want to hear about yours, and so you’re not going to hear about mine.

4

Your overthinking it. If you want the promotion play the game.

The same happens in other environments, sales particularly, with the ra-ra company mental high fives.

No different, just the context.

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