Discriminating
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27-01-2011, 04:27 PM
Discriminating
I noticed a post on TTA's facebook today about a possible podcast about atheists being discriminated against in the workplace and I wanted to have a little discourse on the topic. Anyone been through that?
I haven't dealt with it per se, but I have recently quieted down about religion in my workplace. I used to engage some of my coworkers in friendly and inoffensive religious discussion, for conversational, curiosity and time-passings sake. I started thinking about it again last november when the company holiday party was started off with a prayer. I knew this was a christian company I was working for, but I didn't know how that might affect me as a cog in the machine, and it's honestly been one of the better jobs I had. I had no worries until just yesterday (odd coincidence that the TTA would mention it a day later) I was told that my boss' boss once told an underling that his priorities go like this: 1. god 2. his job 3. his family.
My first thought was, wow, that's sick to put your family that far down your list. First of all, your job should NEVER in my opinion come before your family (exceptions if you hate them all Big Grin). But also, you shouldn't abandon your family for a god whose own book says that instead of taking care of his only son, this god sent him to a whole other plane of existence and made some strange woman and her fiance do it instead.
Either way, I'm training for a promotion that I hope to get in the next 3-9 months, and have decided that it may be best for me to shut my mouth when it comes to religion at work. Agree? Disagree? Anyone else deal with discrimination at the workplace?
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27-01-2011, 07:05 PM
 
RE: Discriminating
I have some co-workers/friends I talk to about it and I've learned which ones to avoid the subject with (as they will get defensive and emotional) and I know which ones I can talk to about it. Of course, these are the guys I also grab a beer with after work on Friday's, not the guy sitting across from me who I don't know very well. I would never bring the subject up with a superior because it's not worth the risk.
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27-01-2011, 10:52 PM
RE: Discriminating
At my last job (in another state) we talked about religion openly, and quite often. We didn't all believe exactly the same but it was always friendly, and interesting. Wink

I now live in the bible belt. One of the first things my (now) employer told me was that he is a Christian. I knew right then to keep my mouth shut. At every weekly staff meeting there is a prayer (grace) said before we eat lunch. I just keep quiet. What else can I do? I've not been discriminated against, but I'm sure that I would be if I was "out" there. People here can be really hateful. I don't plan on working there forever. I've contemplated the idea of telling them all, on my last day, that I am an atheist, in the hopes that they might change their minds just a bit on what they think an atheist would be like.

At one of the staff meetings, and employee asked if anyone had ever expressed having a problem with the whole saying grace thing. She said that if they did, she'd have to "perform an exorcism on them". She meant it too. You could hear the hate, disgust, and disdain.

It's extremely draining to keep this up. I don't pretend at all to be Christian. I just ignore the topic or change it as necessary.

I have been asked though if I believe in evolution. I said yes. You know what the response was from the asker? "You only believe that because it's what you've always been told."

What???? Who is the backwards one here?

Rant over. Wink

My reason for being is to serve as a cat cushion. That is good enough for me. Wink
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28-01-2011, 12:18 AM
RE: Discriminating
(27-01-2011 10:52 PM)trillium13 Wrote:  I have been asked though if I believe in evolution. I said yes. You know what the response was from the asker? "You only believe that because it's what you've always been told."

If I was in that position and I was asked if I believed in evolution I would probably say "no." I wouldn't bother to say that I KNOW that evolution is a reality. If they are going to be assholes and refuse to listen to facts that don't suit their fantasies, then they don't deserve to be able to access facts, especially those that they can and will use against others.

As for that employer who puts god before job and job before family. I wonder how much his kids hate him and are eagerly waiting for him to die so they can get their inheritance.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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28-01-2011, 07:07 AM
RE: Discriminating
Oddly enough, at my beekeeping club, the Pledge of Allegiance is said, and then a prayer before we start. I am always uncomfortable with the prayer bit, but just keep quiet. Usually different people are chosed to lead the "prayer", i just hope it's never me because I don't exactly know how I will react. I guess I might get kicked out, but if so, oh well. I enjoy what I learn there, so I tolerate the "prayer" part.
PS I live in the bible belt too.
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28-01-2011, 07:10 AM
RE: Discriminating
Two things you should never discuss at work: politics and religion. The conventional wisdom is that you should not discuss these things because they are divisive topics. I personally think you should not discuss them because they really are nobodies business but your own. I don't want to know about my co-workers religion and I don't talk to them about mine.

I've worked at my current company for a little over 8 years and in my current role for about 3 and I'm pretty close with a handful of the people I work with and have spent a lot of time with them on the road. Those people I talk to about this stuff but otherwise I stick to the rule of keeping my business as my business and hope everyone else does the same.

If you work in a place where people ask you to say grace, ask if you believe in evolution, etc., then you have a problem with where you work. If, however, you are in the US, you've also got a potential law suit. I'm not a big boat rocker myself and things like law suits are, to me, a last resort. If you leave a job it could take a long time to find another one, so sometimes you need to suck things up. However, I would draw the line at saying grace. I wouldn't complain about it, but I wouldn't participate in it either. And, if someone gave me a hard time about it, I'd consider discussing it with HR and making sure that they knew that I was aware of the laws against religious discrimination.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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28-01-2011, 07:50 AM
RE: Discriminating
(27-01-2011 10:52 PM)trillium13 Wrote:  It's extremely draining to keep this up. I don't pretend at all to be Christian. I just ignore the topic or change it as necessary.

I have been asked though if I believe in evolution. I said yes. You know what the response was from the asker? "You only believe that because it's what you've always been told."

What???? Who is the backwards one here?

Rant over. Wink
I only believe in evolution because it's the theory with the most compelling evidence. That would be the best response in a situation that wouldn't compromise your income. I think stunned silence would have been my safe reaction in your situation though. My parents (now lapsed catholics) honestly never talked about the start of life, earth or the universe. They figured they paid taxes so the schools would do it for them, and they didn't even get around to the topic until I was in highschool, I had to read magazines and other articles myself to find evolution.
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28-01-2011, 01:54 PM
 
RE: Discriminating
(28-01-2011 12:18 AM)No J. Wrote:  If they are going to be assholes and refuse to listen to facts that don't suit their fantasies, then they don't deserve to be able to access facts, especially those that they can and will use against others.

+1, and very well put. When I talk to theists I often find myself actually thinking that they can apply logic to the subject and I'm always let down. It seems foolish of me to think that telling them facts about myself will make a difference.
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28-01-2011, 06:39 PM
RE: Discriminating
(28-01-2011 01:54 PM)Dbutz Wrote:  It seems foolish of me to think that telling them facts about myself will make a difference.

It will make a difference in "how they see you and treat you." That is the problem. Never stick your head above the edge of the trench when there are snipers in the area.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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28-01-2011, 06:51 PM
 
RE: Discriminating
I don't discuss religion at work but I don't plan to hide that I am atheist should anyone ask, which they haven't in the two years I've been there. Not like anyone goes around asking though. Everyone just assumes that one is Christian in these parts. And truth to tell, I don't even really like labeling myself as atheist, except that it is the easiest (and necessary) way to explain what I am not. It's not that I don't like the word atheist, I suppose, I just despise that I need to use a word to explain what I am not. If I am an artist (which I am), I call myself an artist. But if I were not an artist, I wouldn't feel the need to tell people that I am a nonartist.

If it's something I've learned thus far though, you will always think of the right thing to say after the incident, and you will always be kicking yourself if/when you hedge direct questions. Biting one's tongue is draining but sometimes, though I hate very much to say so, the only option if one wants to keep a comfortable workplace. It's not that I've ever feared being fired for my opinions, but the fact is I enjoy being able to pay my mortgage right now and I don't want to jeopardize that by a desire to quit a situation that became untenable because I spouted off an unwelcome opinion, which is perhaps not very brave of me.
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