A while back I encountered an individual on Twitter who challenged me consistently regarding religious belief. He was very anti-theistic in his speech, spewing venom at the idiocy of religious dogma and the scientific infallibility of Atheism. In addition to a blog he had posted several videos of himself on Youtube and he spent his time on twitter seeking out and belittling any religious individual bold enough to make a statement about science or Atheism. However, through it all you never saw his face or read his name anywhere. As I read his blog he explained that he couldn’t share his beliefs because of his job at an employer in the “Bible Belt”. He was convinced that even acknowledging his Atheism would jeopardize his employment. Because of that he expressed a lot of animosity and resentment towards anyone of faith. He was an outspoken closet Atheist who lashed out at religion incognito. Almost an anti-religious vigilante superhero on a mission to rid the world of the crime that is “Faith”.
Can you be an Atheist working for a faith based organization whose mission statement includes “Christian” values and purpose?
Can a church employ an individual who doesn’t uphold the beliefs of the denomination simply because that person is good at their job?
I’ve seen these scenarios play out in real life over and over again and they confuse me. A Jew works as the pianist at a Baptist church. An Atheist biology teacher applies to work at a Christian college. A homosexual works as the office manager for a denomination that believes it’s a sin. I understand the need for gainful employment to support yourself and your family, but why would you want to work for someone who believes that your lifestyle or beliefs are wrong and vice versa?
If it’s “Just a job” and it doesn’t impact who you are, then would it make sense to be pro-life and work for an abortion clinic? Or represent PETA, but work for a meat packing plant?
I understand the predicament of the individual I first mentioned if he came to his new beliefs after he had his job. But my personal inclination if I felt that strongly against the beliefs of my employer would be to get a new job as soon as possible, even if it was a step down. I’ve worked for employers who make it difficult on their employees. I’ve spent mornings in the parking lot of the office trying to talk myself into getting out of the car and go into work. The toll it takes on you mentally and physically can literally kill you. So to willingly put myself in a situation where I have to fear any slip of the tongue that would reveal who I really am baffles me. It’s masochistic.
But there are two sides to the story. What if you’re the employer and willingly hire someone for a job who doesn’t share the same beliefs? Is it worth it to your organization or denomination to employ someone who lives a life contradictory to your mission? To me this almost seems worse, because now you are beginning to willfully chip away at your foundation. Even if the new individual is the best in the world at what they do, is it okay to hire them because “they really aren’t going to change who we are. It’s just a job”? Ask a GM employee whose plant was moved to Mexico if the how and who of the job matters. As long as we get the cars it doesn’t matter right?
If all that matters is the outcome of the job, and not how it’s done and by whom, then have we failed in the uniqueness of our lives? Have we given our souls up to commercialization and materialism over beliefs and values? Slowly compromising things that make up who we eventually winds up changing us entirely. We’re no longer strong in what we stand for, because we’ve allowed ourselves think less of that belief. And eventually we lose who we are.