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!


  1. Another great blog, you write so well! xx

  2. First - 'a friend'?... I smiled and felt my heart soften a tinge more.

    Second - what a crock of shit thing for them to in a public place of employment! Arrogant and rude and beyond inappropriate.

    Third - Church Lady ... Man, I sure did love those skits!

  3. You know what? I'm rejected all formulated religions, but we are a socially Christian society. Just go with it. Haven't you been to a funeral or wedding. Yes it mildly bugs me, but so do large displays of. False offence.
    Fyi. They cancelled Halloween at my last. Job. I posted an anonymous board post chiding the comp any for not allowing the minority to worship the dark lord on our 1 day. So I guess I'm a hypocrite. Keep fighting the good fight, just make it funny

  4. Chris, I often tell myself I should just "go with it," however, I feel like I do this more than I am comfortable with.

  5. "subjected to"

    Was anybody being forced to pray? Did anyone hold a gun to your head or threaten you with dismissal if you did not? I will admit that some people are pushy about their religion, but you did say that you live in a Bible belt. Most of the people at the table were probably Christians. Ignore the prayer and skip straight to your lunch. It is a public institution after all. What were they gonna do, fire you on religious grounds. Last time I checked, that is illegal.

  6. cgcrossgear is right.
    I cannot tell you the abuse I have suffered at the hands of atheists and scoffers in the workplace pushing their ignorant (of history and truth) jokes and reactions at things, including from family.

    Being offended is not a right.

    There are sincere Christians whose prayers for you are well-motivated. People are wrong all the time about anything around them.

    Just thank God you don't live in atheist-ruled Stalinist Soviet Union or North Korea where it is illegal for anybody to offer up prayer to the God of the BIble, and they only allow you to render unto Caesar.

  7. Did someone you trust hurt you? Do you think that people in general judge you? What if the Bible is real and true and THE Manual for life? What kind of Christian would I be if I believed and didn't lovingly try to persuade you to accept Jesus as your savior? Tune in and see the angels that protect you every day...if you know what that means. Lovingly -Ass kicking Christian from Chicago area, 2004. Ask your mother, we're very spiritual--Lots of love. I know, riddles are annoying.

  8. P.S I was raised in the south and bullied and things changed when I moved north. I was bullied k-6th grade. I was very kind. It took time to figure out how real God is. He saved me miraculously. He just LOVES you. Don't judge God by the way people treat you who claim to know God. They sometimes cling to rules even more than God (wrong). Would you let people in your life misrepresent God to the degree that you miss Him?(Don't find Him,I mean) You need to truly find Him. He's not who you think, He has your best interest in mind. Remember when you were little and feeling guilty, it wasn't your fault. I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense, I just felt led to write it. Love, Shelley from Illinois

  9. Dear Random Atheist in the Deep South

    I don't know if you are still checking these comments, but I would like to quote a passage from your blog in a book I am writing, and the "contact me" link is broken. Can you get in touch with me? Many thanks.


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