Sunday, February 29, 2004

Keep your bible at home please

Dear Magnolia,

I waited until Sunday to talk about this. Actually this is something that has been eating my nerves for the past two months. I've told you before that I had come to the conclusion that you must walk away from most Evangelicals because engaging in any discussion with them is a futile exercise and a waste of time. I never trusted missionaries, and perhaps this distrust comes from my Filipino heritage. The Catholic missionaries poisoned a number of countries colonialized by Spain. Countries that share a history of colonization by Spain/the Catholic church seem to be the ones that are today rife with poverty, corruption, and over-population.

I don't trust Catholics, and I trust Evangelical Christians even less. I found it disturbing to see that a group had formed an official bible network at work, and they were advertising their gatherings over the intranet news on the front page. A few weeks ago they publicized a gathering at a local bookstore in which a high company official who would share his feelings on dealing with stress in the workplace. Of course, I clicked on the link thinking that this was a secular activity or just a support group for people who were feeling pressure and strain from work. I didn't imagine that it was funded by a faith-related group. I found this to be somewhat deceptive that they would advertise their event under this guise. On Friday afternoon I finally wrote a quick email to the editors asking them if it was wise to openly advertise religiously affiliated groups in the company newsletter. I received a quick reply from someone pointing me to a listing of all the cultural and ethnic groups that had official sponsorship at the company. While there was also an official Arab Cultural Club, I did not see any open promotion of Muslim prayer and faith groups. I wrote back in reply to the message I receive noting that none of the other groups were founded on the basis of religious belief. I also noted that while it is important to consider and respect others faith and beliefs in the spirit of diversity, I did not feel that the workplace was the proper place to promote one's religion.

I received no reply to this last response. I decided not to push this any further. I could forward this to HR and cause a little stink about it, but what would be the point? And I had to ask myself if I cared enough to do so. A few people have commented that I was opening a real can of worms by speaking out, even in a simple e-mail. Regardless of any reservations I may have had in sending those replies, I felt that I couldn't ignore this any longer. Someone else suggested that I start an Atheists group. Again, I figured, what's the point? I don't have the time and energy and I also feel secure enough about my own beliefs that I don't have to openly share them with the people I work with. I also don't feel like I need to find a network of them because I choose my friends and associates based upon other criteria. However, I should think twice about this because I actually don't think I would have much in common with the bible network folks. When I think of bible study, I think of being kicked out of CCD class in the First grade because I kept asking "How come there aren't any dinosaurs in the bible?"

Is this so wrong to feel a little disturbed by these people? They're really very crafty folks, you know. I've told you how I felt about people who preach and flaunt their religious beliefs openly. The seem to wear their faith openly and shamelessly like ill-shapen designs in puffy pen. Lately, they've hired spin doctors and 'hipped' up their publicity campaigns to promote abstinence until marriage (I assume this means that they are promoting marriage as well). Since Bush came into office, I've seen the Evangelicals' rise in visibility. Though they've always been there, I've also seen students at local schools protesting that their freedom of speech is being repressed when they try to display their bibles and hold public prayer groups at school. Yet now it seems that they receive more press time on the air.

I feel a smile and a grimace come over me when I see them arguing for the freedom to express their faith with the assertion that they are being repressed and even hounded for it. Honestly, can they look back at history and say that Christianity didn't play a role in 2000 years of war and oppression that plague political playing fields around the world. In the end, faith is something you should keep in the home and in your place of worship. Faith should be a private matter otherwise.

Here is a simple recipe I'd like to leave for all Evangelical Christians to appreciate: a cracker recipe. You can enjoy this recipe outside of the Passover season as well. By the way, I'm sorry, but Jesus was Jewish, and his disciples were the first Christians. This is something I learned from my Jewish roommate in college..uh, the recipe I mean. I always knew that Jesus was a Jew:

Snack Crackers for Gentiles, Christians, and Evangelists:
Egg Matzoth
Salted Butter
Horseradish Spread

Toast the Matzoth in the oven. Spread the butter and Matzoth and enjoy without pain of ignorance and bigotry.



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