Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Could I Have an Opinionless Cashier, Please

This article in Yahoo News about a Home Depot employee who was fired for refusing to remove a pin from his apron that read "One nation under God" reminded me of some of the discussions I had with co-workers when I worked at a Home Depot. I worked at a store in Ohio when Bill O'Reilly started his big campaign to try to force retail stores to greet customers with "Merry Christmas" rather than something more generic like "Season's Greeting".

There were some staunch fundie employees who were convinced that a generic greeting was, at best, political correctness run amok, or at worst, an atheist conspiracy to wipe all references to Christianity out of the US. Efforts to make the fundies understand that a generic greeting was more inclusive and less likely to offend non-Xian customers was responded to with "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and similar cliches. Their insistence that Xmas was the only holiday that needed to be acknowledged was especially absurd that year because Dec. 25th was also the first day of Hanukkah.

What my co-workers and the guy in Florida could not wrap their minds around is that they don't have the right to advocate their own beliefs when they are being paid to reflect the policies of their employers and when their customers perceive them at representing their employers' views. Furthermore, others have the right to expect as much respect for their beliefs as the Xians demand for their own, and that people of other beliefs have as much right to be offended by a store representative advocating for Christianity exclusively (or theism in the case of the Floridian) as the Xian would be if the rep appeared to be promoting Wicca. The sense of entitlement among some Xians is so ingrained that conceptualizing other beliefs as having equal value would probably cause a brain aneurysm.

I think most US Xians, but especially fundamentalist, are so conditioned to unquestioningly accept what they've been told in church that they just cannot force their atrophied brain cells to think outside the little church-shaped box. People in the US with other beliefs don't have the luxury of such rigid thought because they are constantly bombarded with the message they are members of a lower class. Why else would something as innocuous as the phrase "There might not be a god" cause paroxysms of rage, or the mention of the proposed construction of a mosque or Buddhist temple in a neighborhood result in picketing, vandalism and threats of violence?

I can't imagine a life where I was dependent on someone else to tell me my opinions, especially if I was expected to believe that those opinions were facts, but it obviously has a strong appeal to a large number of Americans. I guess it's up to those of us with less impaired powers of cognition to keep chipping away at Xian cerebral concretions until, if they still don't understand, they might at least come to accept the fact that tolerance is the rule. Also, if someone proposed a law requiring periodic dope slaps for fundies, I'd support that.

1 comment:

Cindy L said...

"The sense of entitlement among some Xians is so ingrained that conceptualizing other beliefs as having equal value would probably cause a brain aneurysm." That is one of the main things that turn me off of Christianity.