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Rather than talking about how horrible I am at LJ, let's just continue on with some raeg, y/y?

My first atheist rage post was Glee induced and here if you missed it, but this one affects my daily life. I'm going to copypasta what I sent to charming_goats in an email because it'll save some time.

A few facts first:

- I work for City Hall (not the city I live in, but a small one nearby with under 20 employees)
- There is a whiteboard in the copy room, many people do seasonal doodles on the board. During the springtime there was a hill with flowers and a person flying a kite. During the summer there was a lake with animals and fireworks. For October there was a jack o’lantern and November had a (paper printed) turkey on it.
- Tuesday there was a holiday tree on it
- Wednesday morning someone had drawn a manger, which I erased after seeing it a few times because it made me very uncomfortable.
- Yesterday afternoon the tree had been erased and replaced with a printed manger picture.
- I am ridiculously uncomfortable every time I go to my locker or make copies (which is anywhere from 2-10 times a day)

I have four options as I see it:
1. I can quietly take the manger picture down and pretend I know nothing about it
2. I can print out other holiday artifacts from different religions and put them on the board
3. I can send an email to HR or city clerk (who basically runs the city business as the mayor is just a figurehead).
4. I can suck it up and just deal with the damn thing for a few weeks

I’m thinking that the 2nd option is the most snarky and effective one, but I don’t know. After a year of working here, I’m finally getting on good terms with my co-workers and I don’t want to ruin everything. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s appropriate to have ANY religious symbols in the city hall, so contacting HR or the city manager would be a good option.


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Sounds tricky! I would contact your HR and explain your situation and how it makes you feel uncomfortable and wished it to be just winter holiday type decorations (Santa+tree+presents+ OH GOD if someone posted the 12 days of xmas on the board, that would be a countdown and adorable *getting off topic* )

B-but yeah, I'd contact your HR and explain the situation and how it makes you uncomfortable and see what they say and then act upon that, I guess.

Fff, And just noticed I used 'oh god' I'm not religious but I grew up with a religious childhood and I have never seemed to shake that phrase.(Sorry! ;~; ) OTL

I use it all the time, it's not even connected with religion to me.

I vote for culturally adept holiday board. Include a Festivus pole.

I say the first one, but the option of putting Krampus up just looming over the manger would be full of lulz. If it were me and I was behaving, I would put up other winter celebrations of the world. Saint Lucia would be good (we celebrate that in my family), but Chanukah-related stuff would give a bigger signal that someone needs to back down. As horrible as my phrases sound, I've played the jew-card before in order to get people to shut up. Because of my mom's conversion, I technically can do it legitly... but I don't wear my jew-ness on my sleeve nowadays; I'm just agnostic with a fetish for Pan.

Verdict: put up dreidels etc if you feel nice; put up Krampus if you're feeling naughty. If you do the latter, I demand photos for the Faux Deer blog.

Oh no, I don't want to be fired for putting up Krampus, lol. XD

I think the bottom line is that while Christmas is traditionally a Christian/Catholic celebration, that discounts all of the other holidays around this time of year.

I don't think that it would be snarky if you put pictures up for other celebrations, because most people just celebrate the season with presents and general holiday symbols (trees, Santa, reindeer, snow, dreidels, the Star of David, menorahs, snowmen).

I do think that a manger should be up there with the rest of them, because many people tell the story of Christmas without having any belief in it, just because it is a traditional story.

Do you celebrate the holidays? Is there a holiday symbol or character that you think would sum up your idea for what the season means to you? You could put that on the board, maybe with a little explanation on a Post-it as to what the holidays mean to you.

I'm in the naughty habit of referring to the holidays as Christmastime, because that is what we celebrated when I was growing up, and I keep forgetting the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

Can I ask you why the manger makes you uncomfortable? I'm not trying to be insensitive, but I really want to know. I guess if I didn't believe in someone's religious beliefs, I might see it as them shoving their religion down my throat, but I could be wrong as to your feelings.

You definitely shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable at your own workplace, so if there is a quiet, least problematic solution to this problem, I think that should be the one to choose.

I celebrate Christmas, but it really should be called Giftmas. It's a holiday of celebrating family and gifts and awesomeness, not at all related to anything religious.

I think including any kind of note that I'm celebrate much differently would make me an outcast. As it is, I'm 20 years younger than most of my co-workers, and in many cases I'm 40 years younger than some. It's taken me almost an entire year to be able to socialize with these people without them treating me like I belong in special ed, and I don't think pointing out our differences in such a bold manor will help.

I am uncomfortable with most all displays of religion. I think if a person has religious views they should be kept private and not shoved in other people's faces. One of the biggest things is that I work in a government office and am a huge fan of separation of church and state. I think it's one of the most important ideas that our country was founded on, and it makes me uncomfortable when it's ignored.

I know what you mean. It's not nearly the same age difference, but I was 14 when I started community college, and most people were 5-15 years older than me. No one really took me seriously when I told them my age then, and it has only gotten better now because I'm about the age of your average freshman. With people of that age especially, there are a lot more people with very specific and focused ideas about religion without all of the politically correct circle of inclusion that people around our age do.

Also, I would think that working in a government office is a lot like a public school...no school prayer, no religious paraphernalia, and no public displays of religious anything.

It's been my experience that Athiests and Agnostics have to be much more tolerant than many religious folks are. I don't like the double standard, but I'm very good at just not seeing/ignoring whatever makes me uncomfortable. Honestly, I don't care...as long as I have the choice to not have whatever it is in my house, which I obviously do. Growing up with a Southern Baptist family, there has always been a MUST BE THIS WAY take on the holiday season. I can respect their religious choices even if they don't respect mine.

And that does not address your multiple choice, at all, does it? It's more my general philosophy.

It's not fair. :P

My response isn't really helpful either, lol.

No, it isn't fair, but it is part of being a minority. That definitely does not mean you shouldn't speak you mind if you want to. I suggest a kindergarten level "holidays of the world" type coloring sheet. Both of my kids did them when they were little. Wonder if I have one floating around?

Well, as a fellow atheist I say a combination of #2 & #4. I think it's good to remind people, and it doesn't have to be in a snarky way, that xmas isn't the only holiday this time of year. but mainly I say let it go. Is it the manger that makes you uncomfortable or the fact that it's in a govt building?
Of course, if you feel that this is personal, that someone is deliberately trying to make you feel uncomfortable, that's different, and should be brought to HR's attention, but if it's random people being pushy about xmas, I don't think it's HR material. In the grand scheme of things how big is this? There are a lot of compromises we make in this life to get along with coworkers, neighbors, even family...

It's both the manger and the government building. I don't think I should have religion follow me to my place of work or religious icons in common places at work. Enough of my co-workers have religious stuff plastered over their workspaces and they have scripture in their email signatures (which they use for city business and that drives me mad). I am just fine with them doing all of that because it's not pervasive in a common area where we all exist.

*sigh* I really need to get over myself and I'm going to try to just ignore it. My anxiety levels were spiking every time I went to the copy room, and I hope they mellow out and not cause any anxiety type attacks. :P

I totally agree that we shouldn't have it shoved in our face at work, but I guess after all these years I just blow it off. I have been known to make comments here and there asking where the menorahs are... all that did was result in me receiving hannukah cards, lol.

Oooh! This is good stuff.

I am a Christian, but I have had several really bad experiences with really religious people. I once had a "friend" tell me that she would "pray for my soul that (I) would not go to hell" becasue I was going to the wrong church!


Anyway, I have always been sensitive to non-Christians this time of year. To be honest, I guess I have mostly thought about the Jewish folks most. Anyway, I love the idea of putting up all sorts of world-holiday decorations. Why not?

"Love thy neighbor" and all, after all!

Ugh, that is just horrid. It's always nice to see that there are sane level headed Christians around, and I just have to remind myself that there are more people like you than there are of the horrible ones.

I still say you shouldn't sink to their level by putting up other religious stuff. Don't put religious crap up in a state building, even if the public can't see it! Thomas Jefferson is watching you. >:| --that's TJs angry face

Edited at 2010-12-05 06:03 pm (UTC)

Stop being sensible and come on an atheist crusade with me!

I would say put signs up for all different religions.

I always forgot that things like that could make someone else uncomfortable. Because my city is widely Christian, and the other religions are minorities, no one thinks that way. I think you have every right to be annoyed tbh.

I live in a very Christian/religious area, too. Everyone votes super conservative and there's always the religious crazies. :P

You know, it's interesting.. I live in a city that's generally considered to be very redneck, with a tinge of racist, despite this being a very multicultural city. We just recently elected our first Muslim mayor, which was kind of... considered a shock by a lot of people. (And I think a lot of people think that the two white conservative types split the vote, letting him slip on by.)

Anyway, I just read an article where he talks about lighting the menorah in city hall, and feeling just as proud to be part of presiding over that tradition in city hall as he was to preside over Eid (celebrated at the end of Ramadan). I was kind of surprised that they involve at least three religions in city hall (the article also mentioned the Christmas tree in his office) because I sort of assumed that all of that would be left out - like you said, separation of church and state.

Reading through your comments though, I'm seriously shocked that people would include biblical scripture in their work emails. That's just... Wow. In a bad way.

I personally would just keep taking them down/erasing them and pretending I don't know what's happening. If someone asked me directly I would say "I don't think we should have religious stuff in a city hall, separation of church and state and all that, it's not fair, etc." Or I would talk to someone higher up and explain it, without mentioning the atheism. :D I'd just be like "Either we should acknowledge all religions equally or we should ignore them all equally." Basically. :D

Honestly, it just comes down to what you would rather have - the respect and fondness of your co-workers, or being comfortable in your workplace. I mean, it's just a month or so.

And as a point of interest, I also celebrate Giftmas, thought lately it's just been FoodAndConversationAndMoviesmas, because we kinda stopped decorating and giving gifts. =/ But I still always say "Christmas," which I feel kinda bad about. And I agree with whomever said it above - how atheists have to be extra tolerant of everyone else and their beliefs, but no one cares if they offend us. =/

I have a question, if you don't find it rude. Why do religious holidays offend you if you don't believe in a higher power?

(Correct me if I'm wrong, athiests believe that there is no God, and agnostics believe in the possibility of a God.)

I am always looking for input on this subject, as I haven't had the opportunity to talk about this with many different people.

I personally am not offended by religious holidays,or anything else religious, as long as it is not directed at me. Like, I don't care that my best friend is deeply Christian because she doesn't try to convert me or convince me that I'm wrong or anything, but I do care if someone is insisting that Christmas is the only holiday worth celebrating or the most important one or something like that.

I am not offended by anything religious in and of itself. I only get offended when people who are religious deem my opinion invalid because I'm NOT religious. =/ It's like they're saying that atheists and agnostics don't matter and our feelings/opinions/beliefs/whatever are somehow less than those of people with religious affiliations, which is completely unfair - we have to be respectful of others' beliefs, but no one has to respect ours, just because our belief happens to be the absence of yours? =/

I don't mind you asking me, btw. Sorry if it sounded angry or something. :D I always enjoy talking about religion and stuff as well, and I am not in the least offended that you asked. ^_^

Honestly, I have a feeling that I won't ever decorate for Giftmas in the future. I do have the Tree Trimmings quilted wall hanging that I did, and it'll probably serve as a tree when I move out on my own, but other than that I'm not much into the flash of the holiday. :P

I usually type 'x-mas' rather than Christmas because recent "KEEP THE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS OMG!" people have really helped to turn me off that whole aspect.

sonofabitch i accidentally erased my comment before i posted D:< Basically, keep removing and erasing them. Also, my mom has recently become hyper christian and it's making me feel uncomfortable, specially because she keeps hinting that I should "keep God closer" and "think of Him" because "He is always with you." Bleh. I don't even think she knows I'm agnostic, she probably would be even pushier if she knew.

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