Religion and the Workplace

July 18, 2007

I know I am not the first to bring this up and I will be far from the last, but it is amazing to me how much religion permeates my job.  In one of my early posts when this blog wasn’t even really a full blown atheism/religion blog, and I wasn’t even getting near the number of daily hits that I get now, a small discussion developed about religion and work and the possibility of discrimination.  I don’t believe I am or can be discriminated against in the traditional ways that have oppressed many people in the past.  The last thing a white male in the US can scream about is that.  But there are some issues with religion. 

But consider this.  I have been living more in hotels the past month (thus my lack of new posts) than at home.  When I go to one of our remote offices they usually set me up in an office, usually a cubicle of sorts.  The one I had to go to in Amarillo, Texas had a poster above my workstation similar to this:

Now, my choices are to just do my work and just deal with the fact that I write a blog that is predominantly about my religious non-beliefs or to take the poster down and cause me problems in an office where everyone generally likes me.  So I chose to be a hypocrite and just grin and bear it.  What choice do I really have?  What good could come of me making a stink about it?  One of the best workers there often talks of church and her grandkids singing in the choir.  Obviously there is a good chance we know who hung the poster up.

I guess I didn’t realize it but Amarillo must be on the edge of the Bible belt.  One day we go to lunch and at the restaurant waiting area where normally you see Apartment finders or a singles scene paper there is a guide to the Christian businesses in the area.  I assume this is to encourage people or other businesses to do work together.  Yet, whenever I see things like this now I tend to think what happens to the other people?  What if an non-believer, not necessarily an atheist, but say a Muslim or Jewish person opens a business in the area?  Are they allowed to put out a Jewish flyer?  Obviously even if they did I doubt it would help in this particular city.  If you are a business owner and not a Christian best to pretend methinks.  And if it is this way there I couldn’t imagine how it is in the meat of the Bible belt.

These problems of religion in my workplace is hardly a thing that makes my job unbearable.  In actuality I work for a great company with a great owner and a lot of good people to work beside.  But I have to admit it can get uncomfortable when you get surrounded by people you know have vast differences in beliefs than myself.  Eventually the topic of religion and “What church do you attend?” comes up.  Do you spout off some Hitchens or just go with the flow.  So far I have been going with the flow, but I am starting to think I am not doing the right thing…

S-S-Spiders and S-S-Snakes

July 3, 2007

I am going to be on the road for the next 8 days, mostly for work but some days off also.  I should have time to comment but I am not sure how much time I will have to put together good posts, so we will see.

I mentioned in a previous post that I live in El Paso.  I actually have an acre of land on the far east side outside of city limits.  Basically I live in the desert.  The city is catching up to me though and I imagine within 5 years I will have a Wal-Mart within 2-3 miles of my house.  But for now, the area I live in is allowed to do some of the best fireworks you can buy including bottle rockets and artillery shells, which are basically mini-versions of the firework shows at parks and baseball games.

Since we will not be home on the 4th, I bought some fireworks to shoot off last night for me and the kids.  All went well and it was a great show for 5.  I went inside the house and had my kids pick up the trash when I heard frantic screaming!  I run outside and my kids had come across a tarantula.  Why is it the dad has to be the one to dispose of the spiders and such around the house?  I get the heebie-jeebies too.  Hopefully there are no animal rights or PETA people reading as I squashed the beast and threw it away (survival of the fittest you know), only to find another one cruising across my property as I walked to the trash can.  I have never seen a tarantula on my property in 8 years and now two in one day!  Great, must have a family of spiders around, and without doing any research, I know normal spiders lay hundreds of eggs at a time, but I have no idea if tarantulas are that way.  After a little googling I am pretty sure the ones at my house are tiger rump tarantulas, although it could have been a different species, it was a little hard to tell because they weren’t as mature as the one in this photo.

I get up and go to work this morning, and on the road leading from my house I now see a snake crossing the road.  A good four footer too.  I used to know a lot more about snakes than I do now, but I didn’t see a rattle and most others in my area are not venomous, so I made a last second decision and didn’t run him over, thinking that even though it’s unlikely, maybe this one eats spiders or at least spider egg sacs  ;-)

Everyone have a good 4th and I will check in when I can.


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