The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Propaganda

I started working with a wedding pro a couple of weeks ago. He's a very nice man and a very religious Christian. I don't have a problem with that--or any very religious person--as long as they keep it to themselves, by and large. Sure, it's a part of his life, so it will come up from time to time, and that's fine. I sort of expect the same respect I give to people--especially people I don't know particularly well--about my sexual orientation. I do not avoid the topic. I will answer questions honestly. And I don't mean sex questions (although I'll answer them honestly, too). I mean questions like, "What did you do last weekend?" My weekends include my partner, so I'll say, "My partner and I did X, and then we did Y." You asked. I told. And in that same exact situation, if I asked the wedding pro what he did last weekend, I imagine he'd say something about going to church on Sunday and maybe other activities surrounding his church involvement. No problem.

But today he sent me a forwarded email with the subject line, "The Interview with God." I draw the line there. What is it with people?

Here's another example: One morning I was out shooting some hoops nearby my house. A man approached me and asked if he could join me. I said, "Yes, I'll shoot with you, but I don't play basketball." This has happened to me a number of times, and it's normally fine. The guy shoots hoops with me until either he or I am ready to go, and that's it. So this one guy was shooting hoops with me, and we were having a fine time--talking about the basketball play-offs that were going on at the time. And then he says he has to leave. But wait. He wants to ask me something: "Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?"

And they can't just ask you, and when you say no (like I do), then just say, "Too bad. Bye." No, then they launch into this big long thing about Jesus blah blah blah. I mean, give me a break. You found Jesus! Good for you! I couldn't be happier for you! Now leave me the fuck alone! Do I run around trying to get people not to believe in Jesus? Of course not!

And they just don't seem to understand. As you try to extricate yourself from the situation, a glazed look comes over their face, and they talk on and on and on about Jesus. And the whole time, I'm rolling my eyes. Right, right, he died on the cross to save me, I get it, can you leave now?

Now that I think about it, it's very similar to people who forward email. I hate that too. When people start forwarding me stuff, I write back and say nicely, "Please don't forward email to me. I love hearing from YOU when YOU have something to say to ME, but I'm not interested in forwards." You'd think that would be fine with people...BUT IT'S NOT. I've practically had knock down, drag out fights with people about sending me (what I call) personal spam. "No, no," they say, "but this one is really funny!" Not to me, you dim wit! Especially since I read that goddamn email 20 times over five years ago!

So here I am confronted with this guy that I work with who wants to spread the word of Jesus via forwarded email. Yikes! I'm not looking forward to the conversation I'll have with him tomorrow, I can tell you that.

9 Comments:

  • I would add telemarketers to that list. Just today, I got a call from a woman asking me to join a group. She wanted me to listen to a brief recorded message. I told her I wasn't interested. She insisted that the recording was brief. I am polite the first time. When I have to repeat my protest, I start to get cranky.

    I always wonder what makes these people think I am interested in their "whatever it is they are selling" stuff. You have your religion, I have mine. You have your clubs, I have mine. I had so many phone calls from all the candidates before the election that I felt the need to find a way to respond to them. When they said, "I'd like to tell you about (proposal something/candidate someone/yadda yadda yadda)" my response was going to be, "I'll make you a deal. You can tell me all about (whatever) if I can tell you all about what my ceramics class. Deal?" I don't know how I forgot about that when the phone call came today.

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 3:19 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • I had a very public debate with a group of Campus Crusaders back in college. I think I ended up winning, b/c my opponent started crying and ran off. Either way, I've refused to discuss religion with anyone since... so I won't discuss it here. All I'll say is that I hate, hate, HATE forwarded e-mails. They make me want to chew foil.

    By Blogger Dan, at 4:01 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Its totally not cool to discuss religion or politics at work. Especially through email.

    i look forward to hearing about your conversation with him.

    Happy Friday Sweetie.

    By Blogger Vadergrrrl, at 6:10 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • Forwarded e-mails bug the hell out of me too. But the one's that absolutely drive me BATSHIT are the surveys. As I and the people I surround myself have gotten a little older, I see fewer and fewer of these, but occassionally I still get a stray survey with goofy ass questions that are supposed to help you get to know the person better. If you're my friend, you should already know this shit!

    And the other thing: yeah, I totally don't understand the obsession with passing Jesus on to others. If you want to have a deep, meaningful, theological discussion, fine, have at thee. But trying to push YOUR belief system onto me in a social setting (ie. shooting hoops)??? Oh, hell no. Best to just back that truck up and move on along down the road.

    By Blogger Newell, at 6:36 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • I couldn't agree more, Oz. Back at school there was this local religious group (I hesitate to label them a cult) who came in to talk to us. They played guitars and wore leather, clearly thinking this was the way to connect with the youngsters. I used to actually quite enjoy the discussion groups, but in retrospect, I was probably rather cruel to them.

    Here at uni there's the Cambridge Intercollegiate Christian Union (CICU), that spend one week a year on an aggresive campaign to convert the rest of us heathens. Last year things got rather nasty, as the student press caught wind of unoffical 'targeting of homosexuals'.

    I have no problem with religious people (my uncle is a vicar, and an extremely compassionate, caring man), but organised religion makes me very uncomfortable. I find it ridiculous that in England the law still requires schools to hold a 'daily act of Christian worship'. Fortunately I don't think it's inforced very strongly.

    By Blogger Fyse, at 7:19 PM, November 12, 2004  

  • How uncomfortable, since you work with him and all.

    I hope the conversation with him goes well.

    By Blogger Diva, at 1:40 PM, November 13, 2004  

  • There's nothing worse than a zealot who thinks he/she knows what's best for your spiritual well-being. My house seems to receive more than its fair share of Jehovah's Witnesses. This despite the No Soliciting sign on the front door, and the lovely mezuzah on the door frame that identifies my home as a Jewish home.

    I'm so glad that this world is full of interesting religions. I'm so glad that these folks feel so strongly about their own that they want to discuss it with complete strangers. But not this one. To each his/her own, and I really wish these folks would take me off their mailing list, or whatever database they use to identify their marks.

    If I ever decide to change teams, I'm a good enough researcher that I'll know where to look. And the Watchtower is a really lousy publication.

    By Blogger Carmi, at 8:42 PM, November 13, 2004  

  • No matter how religious you are or aren't, you'd be hard pressed to argue with the Golden Rule. When I don't feel like hearing these people I tell them and then I tell them how would they like it if I tried to discuss/harass me with uninvited information about a topic that they didn't want to hear or discuss? When they push or try to argue with that in any way...I repeat, "So you must really enjoy not listening to Jesus who, along with every other religion in the world, has said how great following the Golden Rule is?" Lather, rinse, repeat.

    By Blogger Wheelson, at 1:05 AM, November 15, 2004  

  • Kerrie, That's a great idea for telemarketers. I'll have to keep that in mind. But speaking of telemarketers in general, I got a call the other day that made me laugh. I have caller ID, so I don't pick up when it's a telemarketer; I let the answering machine get it. So the phone rings, caller ID says "UNKNOWN", so I let the machine pick up. Then a recorded voice comes on that says, "All of our representatives are busy right now. Please hold, and our next available representative will be with you." I looked at the Bread Winner, and we were like, Is this some kind of joke? A telemarketer calls and then asks us to hold? That takes balls....

    Dan, I applaud your decision not to discuss religion. Neither do I. Hence the post. BTW, your chewing foil reference is the second reference I've heard to chewing foil this past week. Is that an expression? Never heard it before.

    Vader, The conversation with him went well. Of course, I always think conversations like this go well until I end up getting more emails. Time will tell.

    Newell, I've never gotten a survey. I guess that means that either A) my friends do know those answers or B) they don't care to find out. Hmmm.... As to pushing religion, I feel like there's some doctrine in Christianity where you're supposed to go out and convert people. Other religions don't seem to do that, but then again, I live in America--or Bush's Jesusland--so I guess I'm not exposed to very many religions en mass, and therefore I can't judge.

    Fyse, I agree with you that individual religious people can be very nice--like your uncle--but there's something about organized religion. And something about people who have an "organized religion" mentality. You know? They can't have a discussion. All they can do is regurgitate what they've heard someone else say, and they sound like a robot or something.

    Diva, It did go well....I think.

    Carmi, There's a Jehovah's Witness center somewhere around where I live. They come to my house about once a month. About 10 years ago, I actually invited them in and argued the ridiculousness of religious thought (I was an atheist at the time--who wasn't when they were 20?). The one woman came back like twice. Then she brought reinforcements with her--some guy. They said they would come back again but they never did. It was a very effective tactic on my part. They never darkened my door again. Of course, now I live somewhere else, and like I said, my door is darkened regularly. Maybe I should invite them in again, now that I think about it....

    Wheelson, The Golden Rule! That's genius! I'll definitely try that one out. Kerrie gave me a tip for telemarketers, and now you've given me this for religious crusaders! Brilliant!

    By Blogger Oz, at 9:04 AM, November 15, 2004  

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