Skids Grofsky was visibly upset. He had driven straight to my house from work to discuss a volatile situation that had developed there. Because I hold a partial stake in the company he works for, I speak regularly with the manager. I had already heard the details about the conflict by the time he arrived at the house.
Apparently, Skids complained to the manager that his co-worker had made him uncomfortable by giving him a used paperback he claimed was a Christian book. Then she jotted down a link to a Christian website and gave it to him.
“That stuff should be kept out of the workplace,” Skids said grimly.
“I’m not sure which item you’re referring to. As far as the book goes, Zelda investigated the matter, and the book isn’t Christian. It’s a novel about a 7-year-old girl who has visions and hears the voice of God (she claims). It’s just an interesting story.”
“The girl develops stigmata! Those are wounds on the hands, feet and side that mirror the wounds Christ had—”
“I know what they are. It’s a work of fiction. The author is a secular Jew.”
“Well, it was still disconcerting. Anyway, then she jotted down a link to a Christian article and foisted it off on me.”
“Zelda said Catherine warned you on the post-it note that the website was Christian.”
“Well, it’s still unprofessional for people to be bringing Christian material into the workplace.”
“What she ‘brought in’ was a link. The Christian material didn’t come into the office until you logged on to the website. She warned you that it was a Christian website. If you didn’t want to look at Christian material, I’d say you shouldn’t have logged onto the website. And once you were there, if you found it offensive, shouldn’t you have simply logged off? I’m not understanding what the problem is.”
“She shouldn’t have given me the link in the first place.”
“Zelda used the link and read the article. She said it was a Christian perspective, but it didn’t proselytize.”
“Try to convert. It was an article about an MSN news story that generated an argument about religion, and how the combatants (both the Christians and the atheists) were uncivil, irrational and uninformed.”
“Well, it was a Christian website.”
“I have a right not to be made uncomfortable in the workplace.”
“Why didn’t you just hand her back the post-it note and tell her you aren’t a Christian?”
“I shouldn’t have to go through all that. Bringing Christian material in there is inappropriate.”
“We already went over that. You’re the one who logged onto the website. Anyway, as for her making you feel uncomfortable, don’t you think you made her a little uncomfortable when you went and reported her to the manager? She and the clinical supervisor sat Catherine down in the office for 20 minutes over this. Now she has a piece of paper in her personnel file that says the manager had to set her straight. All because you couldn’t bring yourself to tell Catherine you weren’t interested in Christian articles.”
“I have a right not to have religion imposed on me in the workplace.”
“A secular humanist. It’s an atheistic philosophy that simply replaces God with humanity as its focus.”
“Well anyway, what’s your point?”
“Well, you were basically guilty of the same thing you complained about Catherine doing, which was suggesting religious reading material.”
“How do you figure? Wallace didn’t believe in God.”
“My point exactly. Atheism was declared a religion by the Supreme Court in 1986.”
“So you suggested religious reading to Catherine.”
“I don’t see how that’s the same thing.”
Somehow I avoided wrapping my hands around Skids’s neck.
In a way, this stuff is almost laughable. But people like Catherine aren’t laughing too hard, especially since the workplace is increasingly controlled by “at-will” employers. This is good from the standpoint that at-will employment generally brings about a merit-based system of rewards. On the other hand, at-will employers are tethered only by state and federal labor laws. They can fire someone for having brown hair if they want. As American society becomes increasingly secular and hostile toward Christians, it’s not too hard to see people like Catherine getting fired for silly stuff like this.
Things are looking pretty grim. On the other hand, we’re getting closer to graduation day. We won’t have to put up with this nonsense forever. Don’t tarry, Lord Jesus.
Postscript: On 9/13, Catherine returned to work after several days off and found a book sitting right at the shared work station: The Quotable Atheist. It wasn’t a great surprise to me when I heard about it, although I was tempted to anger. I have to constantly remind myself that through such hypocrisy, our combatants fight against themselves.