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Passions in Poetry

Religion and The Workplace

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Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


0 posted 10-15-2004 10:52 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell


I am curious for others opinions on this.

I work in a place that has civilians and military.

Every once in the while we have baby showers, birthdays and farewell luncheons.  Most times at these functions someone says a prayer.

I am agnostic.  It bothers me that religion comes into play in the workplace but out of respect for those who believe differently than I, I don’t say a word and just sit through it.

We are having a farewell lunch for someone next week.  It just so happens that the person that is leaving I am very fond of and think of him as a little brother.  I have the utmost respect for him because he actually lives the way he believes.  He is Mormon.  

The other day I was asked to speak at his luncheon.  What they want me to talk about is his devotion to his faith, and they want me to do it because, “it would hold more merit coming from you”.  

I declined.  

So my question is this, do you think it’s all right to bring religion into the workplace?  Further, am I wrong for feeling offended by being asked to do this?
Marge Tindal
Deputy Moderator 5 ToursDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
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since 11-06-1999
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Florida's Foreverly Shores


1 posted 10-15-2004 11:10 AM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Hi Susan~
I believe that everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs ... and while I wouldn't feel 'offended' to be asked to speak in honor of a fellow employee, I would simply state that I might be honored to speak, as long as the subject was of my own choosing~

If the little social functions are not mandatory and do not actually occur during paid work time ... I don't think it would bother me at all to simply 'tune out' the little prayers at those gatherings~

In this day and time it is touchy when things are brought into play at work places ... but, as a former employer ... I certainly would hold no prejudicial feelings toward anyone who chose not to participate in the events because of their religious beliefs~

Just my thoughts ...~
Hope they help a little~
*Huglets*
~*Marge*~



~*When the heart grieves over what it has lost,
the spirit rejoices over what it has left.
- Sufi epigram <))><

Email noles1@totcon.com

Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


2 posted 10-15-2004 11:25 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Thank you Marge for your reply.

I could very well choose to go ahead and speak and speak about what I choose.  However, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that even though I respect their beliefs they have little or no respect for mine.  After all, asking me to do this, in my mind is kin to saying, “oh look even the agnostic thinks he is a good guy because of his faith.”  Which makes me feel used.  

As far as the religion in my workplace, consider that this is a government workplace.  The hypocrisy of this leaves me a little stunned.  

Shouldn’t it be either or?  Not, okay we will take religion out of the court room and such but leave it in at other government/state agencies?

As for whether it is on paid time…..yes.  We get ˝ hour lunches and these things last a lot longer.  
Ron
Administrator
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since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


3 posted 10-15-2004 11:31 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't think you should feel in the least bit bad about declining. On the contrary, regardless of the topic they suggested, I think you would be justified to insist you could only be sincere on a topic of your own choosing.

However, in a similar situation, I certainly wouldn't feel offended, either.

One doesn't have to share another's convictions in order to appreciate their integrity to those convictions. I'm not a Catholic, but I certainly respect the way it shaped the life of Mother Theresa. I don't believe in socialism, but nonetheless value many who do, and in large part *because* they do. I think killing is wrong and pacifists naďve, but am grateful for both the soldiers and for those who protest them.

What a person believes or doesn't believe only very rarely affects the way I feel about them. How they conduct themselves, within the parameters of their beliefs, is much more important, I think.
Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


4 posted 10-15-2004 12:02 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Ron, that is pretty much what I was trying to say.  The luncheon is for someone I love and respect because he lives the way he believes.  

I guess I just feel hurt that they would ask me to do this.  

And truthfully I am not completely sure why it has bothered me so much.
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


5 posted 10-15-2004 01:19 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

As long as one's Religion practices the word and worth and work of the highest religion, Respect, I don't see right place for one to say "leave your Religion at home"  But there may be a reason to say "leave the religious ceremony at home" As Religion and Ceremoney have are quite different from each other I think.  One may spiritually and respectfully practice and convey religion at work and share a "common" respect without ceremonializing it. Bring Religion to workplace, but bring it within reason and respect  
Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


6 posted 10-15-2004 01:43 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I agree Ess.

"cast me gently into the morning, for the night has been unkind"
~Sarah McLachlan~

Aenimal
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since 11-18-2002
Posts 7451
the ass-end of space


7 posted 10-15-2004 02:26 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

However, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that even though I respect their beliefs they have little or no respect for mine.  


I think alot of agnostics go through this. In another thread someone implied that agnosticism was the easy way out or simply a matter of indecisiveness. Trivializing views because they were, without a definitive(is a god/isn't a god), belief behind them. This kind of thinking completely ignores the path and tough observations agnostics make in getting to where they are.  
Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


8 posted 10-15-2004 03:18 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Raph~

That is another point for sure.  I am treated as if I just don't know any better.

*sigh*  

Aenimal
Member Rara Avis
since 11-18-2002
Posts 7451
the ass-end of space


9 posted 10-15-2004 03:34 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

lovely ain't it
Midnitesun
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since 05-18-2001
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Gaia


10 posted 10-15-2004 07:09 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

A tough situation, maybe damned either way? Don't hesitate to say a special goodbye if it comes from your heart. For someone else to assign you the parameters of a goodbye speech? No way. If it doesn't come from your heart, then it's better left unsaid. Why in the world would anyone insist on using the words religion or faith? It's just as easy to talk about honesty, good character, the value of friendship without making reference to any religion or faith. (MHO) Maybe write this person a private poem, one from the heart,  goodbye/good luck sealed with your personal 'poetic' kiss?
Copperbell
Senior Member
since 11-08-2003
Posts 952


11 posted 10-16-2004 12:15 AM       View Profile for Copperbell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Copperbell

"After all, asking me to do this, in my mind is kin to saying, “oh look even the agnostic thinks he is a good guy because of his faith.”  Which makes me feel used."  

I would feel offended too, manipulated by my belief system to make something else look good.

"Trivializing views because they were, without a definitive(is a god/isn't a god), belief behind them."

I feel like this sometimes too - except sometimes my views are trivialized because it fits into my faith; it can't actually be my true conviction, just what I'm  "brainwashed" to believe

Thanks for sharing this - to be honest, you've made me think about how I listen and/or respect others views
Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


12 posted 10-16-2004 01:01 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

As a fellow devout agnostic -- allow me to paraphrase Jefferson,  It doesn't hurt me if my neighbor worships one god or a thousand, it also doesn't hurt me if there are Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, if 'In God We Trust' is on my dollar bill, nor if 'Under God' is in my pledge.

Growing up in a Christian denomination that wasn't the dominant denominiation (try saying that fast three times ) in my hometown meant that I was often exposed to articles of faith that didn't necessarily mesh with my own, but I learned from my father that it was far more important and beneficial to everyone to focus on points of agreement and those things that were edifying to individuals and the community.

My view is that it could be an opportunity for you to talk about the things you hold in common with the group as a whole and how people being faithful to those priciples regardless of creed bring meaning to your life, texture to the community, and shared values to the workplace.

And you can save the polemics for the Alley and Philosophy
Midnitesun
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since 05-18-2001
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Gaia


13 posted 10-16-2004 01:12 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

http://www.polemics.us/
an interesting link for those who wish to discuss...
polemics
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


14 posted 10-16-2004 07:25 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Susan,

An agnostic is one who readily acknowledges
his ignorance without denying the existence
of God, or an atheist with no guts fearful
of the consequence of being wrong.  As the
former, I have no problem with those who
are formally religious, (indeed I feel a certain
nostalgia), so long as they don’t become
obnoxious about their particular speculations
at the expense, damnation, of others.  The latter
type of agnostic should do whatever he’s told
lest he angers the just possible God he fears
even more.

John

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (10-16-2004 08:17 PM).]

Titia Geertman
Member Ascendant
since 05-07-2001
Posts 5297
Netherlands


15 posted 10-16-2004 09:15 PM       View Profile for Titia Geertman   Email Titia Geertman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Titia Geertman's Home Page   View IP for Titia Geertman

Susan, I think you did the right thing to decline the invitation to speak at that lunch in that particular way they want you to. I would have felt offended too.

In my country you're not allowed to bring one's religion into the workplace as you described and I think that's how it should be. One's religion is one's religion, it doesn't bother me, I respect people for what they are or have achieved, not for what they believe in in a religiously mannor.

I couldn't and wouldn't speak about religion on a farewell lunch, even if it concerned my best friend. And I think they should have respected your way of thinking. They did not! The moment they asked you, they denied your way of thinking.

Haven't you ever noticed, that sometimes the more religious people are, the more intolerant they are.

Stick to your own 'believing' and be honest and open about it....always.

Titia

Like scattered leaves...my words will flow

Stephanos
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Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


16 posted 10-18-2004 09:59 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I think there's another problem at hand.


To "leave one's religion out of the workplace" doesn't mean that for a Christian.  What do I mean by saying this?  I mean that it can only be considered mere "religion" by those who don't believe.  For the Christian who believes the central teachings of the Bible as true (really true) then it is not a "religion" but looking at things in the right way, doing things in the right way, as revealed by God.  


I know that rubs agnostic thinking the wrong way, because the agnostic's claim to truth (or God who is the foundation for truth), is the very uncertainty of those things.  Therefore, for one to say "I know.  I really know", sounds arrogant to agnostic ears.  But the assumption of most agnostics, I imagine, is that "I don't know, so he or she surely can't know either".   In fact most agnosticism that I have encountered is just as dogmatic as Christian beliefs.  It doesn't amount to believing merely that "I don't know, or I can't know", but it amounts to believing "no one CAN know".  I just wanted to point that out to illustrate where the rub is for both sides.  Both believers (in dogma, or the dogmatic uncertainty of dogma) are diametrically opposed in their presuppositions.  


Also Christians have this odd belief that they are suppposed to bear witness to THE truth.  (not the preferential individualistic kind of truth) but the overarching kind of truth that is true, regardless of popular opinion.  They also have the odd belief that they are supposed to (by the help of God himself) in their every day lives, witness not only to cloistered little groups of already believers, but to their neighbors, coworkers, friends, enemies, etc... of this truth.  All of these "odd" ideas come from the Bible, which most Christians believe is the rule of faith, and the recorded revelation of God for their lives.  So Christians, by definition of their creed, are already set up to believe that if they "leave their religion at home", they are failing to be true to their Lord.  Christians also have the odd idea that sometimes they will indeed be not liked for their peculiar views, or public expressions of their religious beliefs.  And not that it might happen, but that it will happen from time to time, unless they are so quiet a Christian that they make no waves (in which case they are not really being true to their beliefs).  So seeing this is their creed and the teaching, isn't the conflict sometimes understandable?


Now does that mean that Christians are to be always overtly overbearing with their witness?  No.  Some of the best witnesses of the truth of God, (in my life) have been from others who are simply quietly radiant with love for God and others, issuing in a lack of focus on themselves.  For Christians also have the odd idea that their words are not unimportant, but LESS important than their deeds.  So respect, fairness, consideration of feelings, and all those kinds of things can still be present without "leaving your religion at home".  


Having said all of that,  I would like to say that your refusal to comment on someone's piety, is not a bad thing really.  In fact it is an honest thing.  How can you praise something you're unsure of, or something that you have some problem with?  That would be hypocritical wouldn't it?  One way to describe it, is that they have asked you to "leave your agnosticism at home".  And you can't.  Because, it's really what you feel.  But maybe seeing that's why you feel uncomfortable, can help you relate a little to the other side.  For neither can they leave their innermost beliefs at home.  For beliefs, one way or the other, are made for living.  



Stephen.          
Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


17 posted 10-18-2004 12:44 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Thank you all for the opinions and responses.

I needed to hear a lot of this and all of you have valid points to remember.  

Thank you!

"cast me gently into the morning, for the night has been unkind"
~Sarah McLachlan~

 
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