The social climate at this place is, quite frankly, not friendly to gays, non-Christians, and I suspect not to minorities either (judging by the Obama comments). It certainly made me feel uncomfortable.
But my thinking is this: If you are able to pray wherever you want, and are even able to make this a routine practice at a publicly-funded agency, you are not persecuted.
I wondered how these people would have felt if they had seen people praying to Mecca, or performing any kind of religious practice that wasn’t Christian, in this place? My thinking is they would not be very happy about it, and there would be a lot of tension generated around that.
There would be upheaval, which would then result in banning any and all agency-sponsored religious references and activities – which should have been the policy to begin with.
Sure, pray all you like – but you don’t have the right to make it an agency-sponsored activity, which is what you are doing when you tell someone to “lead us in prayer”. And when you do that, if someone complains, you then do not have the right to be offended that someone is “taking away your right” to pray.
Christians do not seem to understand that they bring this on themselves. Stuck in a mindset that “everyone prays to the same god”, or believing that they have a lock on the truth, they attempt to go back to the 1950s and make Christianity a social norm.
But you can’t go back, and this country has too many people of differing points of view who will not just shut up and be uncomfortable. By forcing their religious beliefs on others, they are effectively setting themselves up to be disappointed when others tell them they can no longer do that.
In case I’m not being clear, YES, this praying at lunch thing is forcing their beliefs on others.
Think about it: what are you supposed to do if you don’t pray before lunch? Sit there, staring into space? Start eating? Don’t you understand how uncomfortable that makes people, to have to choose between setting themselves apart, or doing something that they don’t believe?
Because if they don’t pray, they are singling themselves out. They are not a part of the group anymore. And that group is supposed to be “seniors”.
That’s it, just “seniors”. Not “Christian seniors”.
Now think of it another way: Suppose that there isn’t a call to prayer before eating. Do you – be honest now – think that anyone at your table is going to look at you askance when you pray?
No, they wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be setting yourself apart, not in a way when the situation is reversed. You wouldn’t have people asking, either behind your back or to your face, why you prayed before lunch, or what your religion was.
Yet this is exactly what happens when non-Christians find themselves in this dilemma. They can either pretend to be like everyone else, or they can just do as they like and suffer (and I do mean “suffer”) the consequences. The consequences of becoming “the other”, in a place that promotes itself as a welcoming, safe place.
Yes, if we don’t like it, we can leave. And most of us do just that. We leave, and we continue to support places like this with our tax dollars and/or lottery money. We can pay, but we can’t play.
And that’s really unfair. Unfair, and unconstitutional. People don’t get services they need because a religious group has made it uncomfortable for them to do so. I wish Christians would just stop and think for a second, and try to see it from someone else’s point of view.
As for me? Outside of training days where we are expected to eat lunch in the agency dining room, I am going to be eating my lunch elsewhere if I can at all help it. When required to do the “lunch thing”, perhaps I can pull an “oops, gotta run to the ladies’ room” and then come back after everyone has started eating.
Because I did the whole “pretend to be praying” thing last week, and it didn’t suit me. And then I had to struggle to maintain a good mood. It was an exercise in patience.
But you know, Boy Wonder asked me why this bothered me so much. And I think the reason it does is because it’s hypocritical – hypocritical to complain you are being persecuted for your beliefs and then turning around and oppressing others’ for theirs.
He told me to try to think of it as social evolution – that these folks do not have the self-awareness to see or understand what they are doing. And, since I could see it, I should just accept that they are in one place, and I am in another (presumbably more evolved) place.
If I could have one wish for the world, I think it would be much like John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. I used to think it was really corny but now I totally see where he was coming from with that.
Today’s weirdness is cute, again. It’s Jill the Squirrel! Rescued from a hurricane, this animal has her own YouTube following:
I keep waiting for one or both of my cats to do something worthy of YouTube, but their antics tend towards “weird”, and not “cute”.
Like Finnian pawing a box flap repeatedly when he wants a treat – I timed him once, and he actually kept it up for a good 20 minutes before it drove me insane and I gave in. Who’s training who?!
Recommendations for the week: “Unicorns are Jerks: A Coloring Book Exposing the Cold, Hard, Sparkly Truth”, available on Amazon. Yes, it’s a coloring book for adults! And it’s funny!
Be good. Be kind. Watch out for unicorns.