Monday, November 11, 2013

Prayers at Work. Please Stop!

It has been a while. I guess all bloggers must go through stages like this. I write and write and write and then I feel drained. I get away for a while. I think. I write blogs in my head. I think some more. I deal with people at work and situations at work that just annoy the crap out of me. I write another blog in my head but I am too tired to get it down. Repeat.
So, a friend of mine has encouraged me to write again. I have resisted writing for a while now. Mostly because I need so much down time and I never get it. So when I am off work, I avoid activities, like writing, that drain me emotionally. However, after writing this morning, I decided that writing also heals me and moves me forward. So I decided to come over here and write. Even though my family reads this blog (which is why I have not written for a while- I feel like they are so distant from me since I have become honest and open about who I am… and it’s painful).
I mostly want to write about being an atheist in a VERY Christian work environment in the Bible Belt. I recently joined a new department at work. This was a good move for me because the job is much less stressful and overwhelming. Two of the main department heads are gay: A gay man and a lesbian. I thought that this would be an ideal place to work because it is honestly rare to find LGBT people who are extreme Christians. I guess I was wrong about that.
We had a get-together a few weeks ago and shared some food. Just as I was about to grab a plate and get some food, I heard the dreaded words, “Let’s pray.” I was momentarily shocked. My thoughts: um WTF? Seriously? Am I working in a public, State College?? WOW! I looked around, desperately hoping to see someone who did not have their head bowed and their eyes closed. At first, I saw no one. I started to feel suffocated. I started to feel angry. I heard movement behind me in the kitchen area and I saw a coworker in there acting busy. I don’t know if she was trying to avoid the prayer like I was, but maybe one day I will find out that I am not the only person there who resents being subjected to a Christian prayer every time we eat together.
Let me tell you what I have concluded after several weeks of thinking about this incident.

1 1)   I am not being too sensitive to think that this is WAY wrong. Forcing a department to pray to your god is not only rude; it isolates people in other religions (and people with NO religion).

2 2) I find it very wrong to conduct a public prayer session in a place of employment. This is one place that people do not feel safe to say, “Hello? I am an atheist and I really don’t want to pray over the food.” We have to bite our tongues because we have a mortgage to pay and children to support. We also work 8 hours a day with these people and who wants to be the person who makes a big deal about a stupid prayer?

3)      If you claim that you do not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, etc… then this means that you should not PRAY over your meals in a public college.

4)      Doesn’t your religion teach you to pray in private? This public show of religion is just arrogant and wrong.
I asked my son what he thought of this incident. He said this: “How would they feel if you threw down a prayer rug and fell to your knees saying, praise Allah?” Exactly! How about if a room full of people started doing that and there is one person who wants to pray to their Christian god? How would they feel?
I feel that I don’t really fit in anyplace I go in the south. I am a bisexual. I often annoy lesbians who think I should “Pick a side.” I feel lonely at work when people have religious conversations about god, and how things are meant to be. I have had to hear long conversations about how god has a plan for everything, Some of these people are also the worst backstabbing bitches I have ever encountered. So, I vent on my blog.
 I have let go some of my anger. I think this blog has helped. I have a few acquaintances at work who are Christians. We do not talk about religion or politics. I still respect them as humans and see the good in many of them. Some of them, I’m sure, pray for my soul every night. (The ones who have seen my house and my paintings and who know I do not attend church).

I think it’s important for people to realize that the world is made up of many different religions and many different kinds of people. Don’t be the type of person who is arrogant. Not everyone worships your god!

Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin

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