Ethan is having a problem with an overly aggressive religious tone in the workplace. I actually find it a bit surprising since he works for a Fortune 500 company. I’d think they’d strive for sterility…
FalStaff has the tendency to say a prayer of grace before eating at any company outing. I’m not sure if that’s considered okay because it’s off company grounds and voluntary. I’d imagine so. When I worked for Wildcat, part of my job description was to edit the Come-to-Jesus book that he was writing. He was a deacon at his church and spent a fair amount of time in company meetings excoriating the theory of evolution.
None of this particularly bothers me and I doubt that what Ethan describes would, either. What is a problem, of sorts, is that these are emblematic of larger issues. In the office at Wildcat, I one of a minority (roughly 1/3) that did not go to a particular church. At FalStaff I am one of a third that is not Mormon. In both cases, a lot of socializing is done at church and in a sense morality is defined by allegiance to the ideals of their respective churches. Preference at FalStaff seems to be given to what I call Good Soldiers, those that are living by the Temple’s timetable. Wildcat had the same insider-outsider mentality.
But here’s the rub: I think that there’s a case to be made that such things increase cohesiveness. Part of me resents the setup that works against my advantage, but another part of me sees its virtue. There’s something to be said for a group that works and plays (or works and prays) together. So the question, I guess, is in what ways can unity be fostered without alienating those that think differently?
I drive the freeway every day and often see Covenant Transport semis. They’re somewhat religious in nature, both by their name and their “It’s a life, not a choice” bumper stickers. While I think it quirky and odd, I also wonder what right those of us that dissent have to tell someone what to do with their company. It’s a choice, after all, to work in one place or another. I’m in a bit of a jam myself because there aren’t very many secular employers in the area (which ward one belongs to is actually asked on some job interviews. It’s assumed that you belong to a ward just as it is assumed - often erroneously - that if you make a reference to “the kids” you are talking about your biological children and not your step-children. However, when you answer that you don’t belong to a ward, I’m willing to bet it doesn’t help your job prospects there). But it was our choice to live in Deseret, however temporarily.
But the problem that I have, being a non-Mormon in Mormonland, is not so easily alleviated for people who are devoutly non-Christian. Particularly true for those that are conspicuously something else. I may not like Paige a whole lot, but I can’t really dismiss the discrimination that she endures because of her religious choices. They can’t just move out of a particular state, they would have to go to Canada were every company allowed to hire only likeminded individuals.
But on the other hand, FalStaff did hire. And they did so presumably knowing that I was not a member of the brethren. And I think that they would have even if the law didn’t require it.
So I’m not completely convinced of my own victimhood, here.