Monday, October 29, 2007

Around here we preach tolerance

What shall I bitch about today? So many possibilities. I’ve been on a roll about religion, so maybe I can revisit that since I had a confrontation of sorts about it on Friday.
I was surfing around on the Internet and I found this great line of stuff by a company called Unfortunately, I'm writing this at work (shhh), so I can’t pull up the site and show you a picture. Anything even remotely naughty is blocked from out Internet access here.

So, here’s the thing. Why is it that people who are zealous about their religion want to tell you all about it, but have no interest in learning about your beliefs? Is this a universal truth? Why do these people think it’s at all appropriate to cram their ideas into someone else’s head with the arrogant attitude that only one religion should exist on this planet? How can it be that billions of people are making a collective mistake by not joining up? And why is brainwashing and ad nauseum Bible thumping (or Koran, or whatever) not perceived as obnoxious by the people who do it?

Last week I facilitated a training for community members as part of the outreach program I oversee. One of the immutable rules of the program is no prosthelytizing. The people we serve have been through enough, and many of them were persecuted for their beliefs. Those who endured torture or conflict dug deep into their hearts and put their faith in their God to get them through horrific experiences. Who the hell gets to tell them they’re going to suffer eternal damnation because they aren’t Christian? Besides, mine is a federally funded program, and the separation of church and state is taken pretty seriously around here. If you want to preach about the god you adore, go join a church group, but stay away from my clients.

There’s a big difference between preaching and promoting your religion compared to trying to convince people they need to drop what they believe and join you. The whole issue of “my religion is right and yours is blasphemy” makes my stomach clench. We all have the right to what we believe, and why can’t it just be left at that?

I got into this tizzy because of a woman at the training. She sent me an email telling me why she does not wish to volunteer in my program. Apparently, I am a squisher and squasher of Constitutional rights, with a particular preference for stomping the First Amendment. Irony again. I am a staunch believer in freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but when I’m sending you out to help someone with language and acculturation, you just do not get to use that opportunity as a wholesale excuse to convert heathen souls. Those souls have a constitutionally protected right to the pursuit of their own happiness.

Here is a copy of the message that was sent to me. I haven’t changed anything except the font. (I’m the one who has a supposed mental illness, but I run stability circles around this woman even on my worst day.) I later realized that this woman has about 20 Websites of her very own where she only writes about religion or abortion. She's on disability, so apparently, this is what she does all day.

Mrs Voirrey, I appreciated you allowing me to learn outreach as a volunteer. I have considered carefully your statement that "proselytizing for religion" is not allowed. I thought about how important the US Constitution and the First Amendment is that gives U.S. citizens the freedom of religion, speech, press, and worship of GOD. I thought even more about my committment to the Living LORD JESUS that is first and foremost in my life. I do not think it is wise for anybody to "waive" their Constutional liberties in order to keep the peace of a volunteer agency or for that matter, for any reason. I cannot agree to the terms that you implied i.e. that forsaking the Commandment of JESUS to teach all nations [Matthew 28:19-20] is a requirement for the "privilege" of volunteering! I am certain that I know myself very well and I would talk about GOD and as I watched the movies of the refugees that you showed there, I noted immediately that they referred to either GOD directly or to a "faith" in the understood GOD they referred too. I had an interest in that but don't need more problems in my life. I don't want to give time to a project that attempts to deny the existence of GOD or that violates mine or anyone else's Constitutional and First Amendment liberties on a regularly planned and constructed methodology. Citizens of this country, which Refugees intend to be obviously or they would not endure what they endure to get to this country, should be taught that they are able to talk about and write about GOD anywhere and they don't have to fear being arrested or subjected to persecution in this country for that reason. That is the supposed intent of the First Amendment and if you don't know it I ask you to google it! Of course there are people in this nation persecuted on a daily basis in the public schools for being Christian and being bold to say so. I thought on this all week before replying and decided I cannot and will not forsake GOD to please you or anyone else! signed gp[RN]

1 comment:

Spilling Ink said...

Some people are just plain whacked and perhaps it's really that simple. I know it isn't, but her letter worked my nerves with its profound ignorance. She's brainwashed and she likes it that way... just like my mother.

The view from her eyes: May is violating my rights by stopping me from violating someone else's! That's because she's GODLESS!!!

It's hard to not reach out and CHOKE people like this one.