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Praying At Christmas Party


debrand

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I probably shouldn't be bothered by this but I was.

My husband's business hosted a Christmas party. It was a very nice affair held at the local country club. Gifts were given out and we had a gambling party. There was no money used, only chips, but there were different tables set up for black jack etc. The bar was open and we didn't have to pay for any alcohol.

At the beginning of the party, one of the men gave a speech and said, "Now let's bow our head and pray."

If I went to a friend's house and they prayed, I would have no problem in respectfully bowing my head. It is my friend's house and I voluntarily visit. Also, I am my friends' equal. My financial standing will not be ruined if I refused to bow my head and stared up at the ceiling chanting, "Oh holy flying spaghetti monster, cover this infidel with your hot, tomato sauce of love." I'd probably not be invited back but I wouldn't loose any source of income either.

However, my husband took the job in a bad economy so it isn't as if working is completely voluntary. Although Christmas parties are mainly for fun, many employees feel that making an appearance is the polite thing to do for their job. In some cases, it is a way to network. Having your employer-who has power over your financial well being- tell everyone to pray seems intrusive and overbearing to me. People are free to pray at their tables, why force everyone to pray along with you?

Do you think that I am overreacting? It has been a couple of months and I'm still annoyed.

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It wouldn't bother me... but I'm pretty easy going like that. I wouldn't feel like I was being "forced" to pray.. after all, nobody can see what I might be thinking inside my head. I'd just lower my eyes out of respect for those who do believe and are praying, and then go about my night.

"Also, I am my friends' equal." --- the way I see it, everyone is equal. :mrgreen:

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Guest Anonymous

That used to happen at a former workplace of mine. In a non-religious country, at small but formal civil service functions, often attended by the equality reps for various organisations! It was in my pre- FJ days and I didn't think it over too hard. But nowadays I'd be annoyed, I think. Here in the UK, I'd not see it as an evangelical thing, but more of a clinging to tradition - the same tradition that keeps the white, middle class male hierarchy safely in place, while making superficial gestures towards equality. :)

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I think it's one of those things where, if my boss asked me privately "How do you feel about me offering a prayer at semi-official gatherings?", I would tell him I didn't feel like it was the time and place, just as I would if my actual boss ever asked me how I feel about his occasional homophobic jokes. I don't feel like I'd win anything by making a big show of not praying or yelling "NOT FUNNY" at his jokes, but in a conversation I'd not hide the fact that I don't like it.

This was also my approach when I taught in a US school and the kids did the pledge of allegiance, I'd stand out of respect, but not put a hand on my heart and not chant with the rest of the class. This was enough that some of the older kids came and asked me why I didn't and we had good conversations about why you should or shouldn't do these things and several of them said something like "I never thought about why we do it before".

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I would feel uncomfortable, and I do think that it is inappropriate. I have a pretty big issue with being forced to pretend to follow a religion I don't believe in by authority figures, though, due to personal history. I made a promise to myself that I would be true to myself and not do it anymore, but I don't like being in situations where I have to actually put that in action because it always causes tension.

There is a company that my company is sort of partners with - they subcontract some of their projects to us. On the surface it appears that they are simply a marketing company. But according to an ex-employee, their company owner is really religious and he leads everybody in saying grace at lunch every day. I would imagine he also leads prayers at their Christmas party. I was kind of gobsmacked to hear that, initially. There's nothing about the company or their work that would lead you to believe it wold have that kind of atmosphere. I hope that it's brought up in their interviews so employees are forewarned, because I would seriously fear for my job security if I worked there.

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It wouldn't bother me... but I'm pretty easy going like that. I wouldn't feel like I was being "forced" to pray.. after all, nobody can see what I might be thinking inside my head. I'd just lower my eyes out of respect for those who do believe and are praying, and then go about my night.

"Also, I am my friends' equal." --- the way I see it, everyone is equal. :mrgreen:

I worded that last statement incorrectly. I should have said, "Equal in power." I know that I am equal in worth to my husband's boss. :)

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I probably shouldn't be bothered by this but I was.

My husband's business hosted a Christmas party. It was a very nice affair held at the local country club. Gifts were given out and we had a gambling party. There was no money used, only chips, but there were different tables set up for black jack etc. The bar was open and we didn't have to pay for any alcohol.

At the beginning of the party, one of the men gave a speech and said, "Now let's bow our head and pray."

If I went to a friend's house and they prayed, I would have no problem in respectfully bowing my head. It is my friend's house and I voluntarily visit. Also, I am my friends' equal. My financial standing will not be ruined if I refused to bow my head and stared up at the ceiling chanting, "Oh holy flying spaghetti monster, cover this infidel with your hot, tomato sauce of love." I'd probably not be invited back but I wouldn't loose any source of income either.

However, my husband took the job in a bad economy so it isn't as if working is completely voluntary. Although Christmas parties are mainly for fun, many employees feel that making an appearance is the polite thing to do for their job. In some cases, it is a way to network. Having your employer-who has power over your financial well being- tell everyone to pray seems intrusive and overbearing to me. People are free to pray at their tables, why force everyone to pray along with you?

Do you think that I am overreacting? It has been a couple of months and I'm still annoyed.

Intrusive and overbearing, yes. Insensitive, yes, Risking hostile workplace suits, probably yes. Risking charges of discrimination by employees who boycott the party on religious grounds and are denied the right to network. Also, probably yes.

I'm not a lawyer or an HR professional.

You are aware that it is illegal to in the US to ask about religion at a job interview? The reality is that people hire based on religious affiliations all the time. Many people put up with this kind of insensitivity in the workplace every day. Probably only a few people ever sue for hostile work place and discrimination based on religious affiliation. They also usually have a hard time proving it.

I bolded some trigger words above. It was identified as a Christmas (Christian) party not a Holiday party. That pisses off all other religions and atheists. Jehovah's Witnesses probably wouldn't attend even a Holiday party.

Gambling (even with chips) and alcohol? I can think of a quite a few Evangelical Christians, let alone fundies and other sects and religions that prohibit alcohol, who wouldn't attend that sort of party.

"One of the men?" Was the man the CEO, the Grand Poobah, senior management, and/or the direct supervisor of most people there. If not, and he is just a minor player, it might be worth tipping management/HR off that some people find being asked to pray annoying. He can be asked not to do it again.

If he is the Grand Poobah or senior management then it is probably safer to shut up and look for another job.

It stinks. I used to work for a cabinet-level state agency that went through this every single year for the Holiday Party.

Oh, it is OK to sing Christmas Carols if we also sing the Dreidel Song. No, it isn't.

I can put up a Nativity if Mabel over there does a Kwaanza display. No, you can't.

Well, Jewish person, Muslim person, Hindu person and the Buddhist in the corner don't mind! How do you know?

Well you are all PC Nazis to spoil our Christmas fun.

And this was a government agency. :shock: :( :shock: :( :roll:

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Are you serious? I know plenty of religious people who are happy to get invited to the religious festivities of other faiths, it's called "tolerance" and "curiosity" and can very well go hand in hand with a religious conviction.

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Are you serious? I know plenty of religious people who are happy to get invited to the religious festivities of other faiths, it's called "tolerance" and "curiosity" and can very well go hand in hand with a religious conviction.

Yes. I should have said "has the potential to piss off!"

Still, you are missing the main point which is feeling (or indeed being) pressured or coerced to attend or participate in an event where religion is involved (asked to participate in a prayer) as a condition of employment or advancement in your work place.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone's ability for appreciation of other cultures and faiths, tolerance, and curiousity outside the workplace. I love exploring other faiths and cultures. :D

Is that clearer? Remember, these are among the founding principles of the US: A firm division between Church and State and Freedom of Religion.

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Completely, totally, 100% inappropriate and big mouth that I am, I definitely would have said something. (I never got very far in the corporate world. I wonder why. :roll: ) Religion is a personal matter and if someone felt compelled to pray, they could have done so privately and quietly. Making a "let us pray" announcement at a company-wide social function was not-so-subtle form of coercion.

Although it would have been kind of cool if someone did actually offer up a very loud prayer to the FSM.

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I don't recall having prayers at corporate events, though we may have back at the managers holiday parties 20 years ago for the big giant company (fortune 100) hubs worked for--not so much at the smaller parties at our more recent company. HOwever, I occasionally go to meetings, lunch events, etc for local government agencies and leaders in TX, and there are often premeal prayers, which always struck me as odd for government officials, but whatever.

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Maybe I didn't spend enough time in the corporate world, but I don't know which would make me more uncomfortable - the drinking, the gambling, or the praying. Privately I don't have a problem with any of these activities, but in a public setting among colleagues... I dunno. I suspect I'd would have spent the evening worrying if there were any alcoholics or gambling addicts struggling to keep it together, or if someone who'd knocked back a few too many was going to make it home Okay, or if the public call to pray was offending non-believers.

Perhaps it's for the best that I'm an ebil public servant in librul California. If my manager tried to get us to bow our heads in prayer, 2/3rds of the staff would immediately get on the horn to an attorney.

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When I was a counselor for a park district theatre camp, they brought in a woman one day to teach about singing and dancing for musicals. The musical she focused on was "G-dspell." I have no issue with the musical itself, but the fact that this was the only one she showed clips from (both the movie and a production she choreographed at a Catholic school), she focused on songs that were dealing explicitly with prayer, and the language she used made me deeply uncomfortable. Plus, we were working with 2nd-8th graders, and the younger kids might not be able to separate between the art and religion. When we asked the kids at the end of the day what singing and dancing can be used for, the first answer a kid gave was, "For prayer and worship." After the campers went home, I brought my concerns to the camp director. He looked at me like I was crazy, and said he didn't see why anyone would have a problem with this.

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I think it is inappropriate, and I would feel uncomfortable if someone lead a prayer at a company Christmas party. I think it sets up an expectation that one belief is up held over other beliefs and this can cause division within the company. I also think it ridiculous to expect everyone working in a company hold the same beliefs.

My husband had a interview where the boss asked his religious beliefs. Illegal, much? Also, I have noticed when we lived in a certain area within the U.S. church affiliation was commonly asked on the job between employees. I found that very off putting.

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This reminds me. There is a sign right across from our city hall announcing an upcoming prayer breakfast our mayor will be holding. On the city's dime no less. :angry-steamingears:

Prayer breakfast: Because there aren't more effective uses for taxpayer dollars.

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Unless an event is taking place at a house of worship or other religious institution, I have a problem when anyone assumes that all participants share a belief system and would approve of and welcome prayer. I was watching a series of freaking bread baking videos online and several of them started with a big ol' Jesusy prayer (these were videos of in-person classes). Granted, the classes took place in the Bible Belt (Georgia?) but still--DON'T ASSUME. I know how singled out and excluded I would feel for not participating had I been there in person.

Seriously, are Christians incapable of praying silently and privately? It really seems like this is the case, given the kerfuffle surrounding school prayer and the like. Go ahead, pray if you want to. But do so silently and without forcing everyone to join in or infringing on the rights of others. It's not either/or and no one's stopping you from following your beliefs. So just shut up and pray already.

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I worked at only one company where a prayer was said at the company gatherings. But, I kind of knew it was going to happen, because the company was owned by, and mostly staffed by Mormons. Mormons mostly from the same family. But, it was a privately held company. The owner's wife had stenciled bible passages on the back of the reception desk, so it was the first thing anyone saw when they walked through the door. It was pretty overt from the get-go. And yet, I, an atheist accepted a position from them, and for the most part was very happy working with the company. I never felt pressured about religion. When the boss would lead people in prayer at the Christmas or summer cook-out, I sat in silence.

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I probably shouldn't be bothered by this but I was.

My husband's business hosted a Christmas party. It was a very nice affair held at the local country club. Gifts were given out and we had a gambling party. There was no money used, only chips, but there were different tables set up for black jack etc. The bar was open and we didn't have to pay for any alcohol.

At the beginning of the party, one of the men gave a speech and said, "Now let's bow our head and pray."

If I went to a friend's house and they prayed, I would have no problem in respectfully bowing my head. It is my friend's house and I voluntarily visit. Also, I am my friends' equal. My financial standing will not be ruined if I refused to bow my head and stared up at the ceiling chanting, "Oh holy flying spaghetti monster, cover this infidel with your hot, tomato sauce of love." I'd probably not be invited back but I wouldn't loose any source of income either.

However, my husband took the job in a bad economy so it isn't as if working is completely voluntary. Although Christmas parties are mainly for fun, many employees feel that making an appearance is the polite thing to do for their job. In some cases, it is a way to network. Having your employer-who has power over your financial well being- tell everyone to pray seems intrusive and overbearing to me. People are free to pray at their tables, why force everyone to pray along with you?

Do you think that I am overreacting? It has been a couple of months and I'm still annoyed.

I too, am annoyed by this. I don't think you're overreacting & wish it didn't happen. It's an unfortunate side effect of living in the south. At functions, I do bow my head. I don't close my eyes. Sure, it's illegal to ask about religion on a job interview, but that doesn't mean some employers don't care. It's about networking & making sure you will be a right fit. I know that my mentioning 'church' as one of my interests during a job interview helped seal the deal. (Self-volunteered because at the time i did go.) I could literally feel the room breathe a sigh of relief. It changed the tone of the interview from formal to we are a family. After that was all "We're all Christians here, Amen, Sister, Hallelujah, etc."

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Maybe I didn't spend enough time in the corporate world, but I don't know which would make me more uncomfortable - the drinking, the gambling, or the praying. Privately I don't have a problem with any of these activities, but in a public setting among colleagues... I dunno. I suspect I'd would have spent the evening worrying if there were any alcoholics or gambling addicts struggling to keep it together, or if someone who'd knocked back a few too many was going to make it home Okay, or if the public call to pray was offending non-believers.

Perhaps it's for the best that I'm an ebil public servant in librul California. If my manager tried to get us to bow our heads in prayer, 2/3rds of the staff would immediately get on the horn to an attorney.

I do work for the state - and it FREAKS ME THE FUCK OUT how they pray all the damn time. I make it a point to stare around the room every time they bow their heads and my behavior has definitely been noticed. Over the years I've complained enough that "in jesus name" has been removed from the end of the prayer, but I still think its inappropriate. Not worth suing over, I like my job...

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This reminds me. There is a sign right across from our city hall announcing an upcoming prayer breakfast our mayor will be holding. On the city's dime no less. :angry-steamingears:

Prayer breakfast: Because there aren't more effective uses for taxpayer dollars.

I assume they will be offering prayers to all of the deities that their constituents honor. "Now, we're going to need to get skyclad, and stand in a circle for this next prayer. . ."

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I assume they will be offering prayers to all of the deities that their constituents honor. "Now, we're going to need to get skyclad, and stand in a circle for this next prayer. . ."

I'm in Alabama. Enough said? :lol:

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And then there are the professional emails that close with "Have a blessed day." Yuck!

Check out cashiers say that all the time here. I just nod and go on my way. Annoys the shit out of me though.

Once, when my kids were little we had a cashier start singing some song about the devil to my them (no shit). My husband was just :o , so I just said, "excuse me, but we are Atheists". She clammed up and didn't say anything else. If I hadn't been so shocked I would have gone to her manager.

Anyway, a few months later my husband was coaching soccer and who shows up to deliver a friend's child? Crazy check out lady. Awkward. :?

Sorry. I had to edit this a million times. Apparently typing and headaches don't mix well.

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Add me to the group that would be annoyed by this.

I'm so glad I'm self-employed now, even though it has drastically reduced my income!

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