Today’s post is pure opinion. Many, I am sure, will disagree, to some degree. But, anyway…
Religion doesn’t have a place in the workplace. People are there to do work, not proselytize or make their cubicle an extension of their home. In bigger operations, there are so many people around that someone will inevitably get offended by someone else’s beliefs, take the matter to HR and then it’s a whole new problem. It can be solved by keeping your beliefs at home, or at least out of the office.
Jewelry seems to be one of the main points of contention for some people. While crosses and Stars of David are accepted, anyone else’s religious jewelry is frowned upon. Why are there two standards? Why not just tell employees to leave their religious icons at the door? Oh, wait, can’t do that, someone will inevitably scream discrimination and everyone will of course feel persecuted because they can’t wear their cross/star/pentacle/whatever.
But when you are trying to be a team, to work together in an enclosed space for 8 hours in a day, 5 days a week, shouldn’t you be trying to put everyone on a more even playing field? And it is a double standard. Why are Christian and Jewish symbols allowed but Islamic, pagan, Buddhist, and anything else so frowned on? Think about it, and you’ll see that it’s true. I often see on pagan forums about workplace-appropriate wear that many pagans either do not wear their pentacles or keep them hidden on their person, and for two reasons: either they don’t feel it’s appropriate to wear their religion on their sleeve in the workplace, or they aren’t out of the broomcloset.
This is probably true for many other religions as well. And it can be uncomfortable, at times, knowing that you are wearing your symbol but it’s hidden. What if someone saw it? What if your necklace slipped out from under your collar? What would you do then? The double standard is ridiculous, and it could be solved if more people realized that the workplace is not an extension of your home–it is a business with (I would think) a lot of diversity and people with differing cultures/religions.
I am not slamming Christianity or Judaism or any other particular religion. That is not the issue. I am taking to task the double standard that allows certain groups to have their symbols displayed publicly but forces others to feel like they need to remain hidden from fear of ostracism or losing their job because they don’t conform to the straight-and-narrow.
Also at issue is something else I have heard of but never seen: people bringing in religious items to decorate their cubicles/offices with. I think the same issues apply to this practice as to the jewelry practice–eliminate the double standards. Make people more aware that while they are allowed to practice the faith of their choosing, they are not allowed to use their office or cubicle as their proselytizing platform, however subtle the images or hints. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are wonderful things–but not necessarily when other people feel their own rights are being infringed upon by someone’s display.