Stop Blessing Me!!!

I’m not a scrooge, but ... please don’t bless me through your voice mail message.  Why religious expression in the workplace does more harm than good.

I’m a Humanist and I’m all for freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of religion. But that freedom has limits when it imposes itself on others. This is especially true when you are in the workplace. Unless you work for an explicitly religious organization – don’t tell people to have a blessed day.  Here’s why.

Contrary to popular belief, we non-believers aren't offended by religious speech.  I certainly am not. But I do get annoyed by it when it is forced on me in a business setting. Generating intentional and avoidable annoyance is not polite. And is that really the impression you want to have on your customers?  Unless of course, you  don’t care about keeping your customers – in which case, you have other problems.

For the record, I am not offended by someone telling me to have a blessed day in their voice mail message. What I am worried about is how this employee will treat me if they found out I'm not religious like they are. This worry is especially acute if the employee is a public employee working for the government who has the power to deny me services based on my non-adherence to said public employee’s personal religious beliefs.  And yes, that would be illegal and yes, it happens anyway. I doubt that people who leave these sorts of voice mail messages mean any harm, but lots of religious people are scared of people who don’t believe as they do, so while they wouldn't intentionally discriminate, their fear might cause them to. It’s a real concern. And keep in mind. This isn't me inflicting my non-belief on them. It’s them forcing me to either go along with their religious belief or be exposed as a non-believer. It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in – especially when the stakes may be high.

Aside from the fear that I will be actively and openly discriminated against by the employee who “harmlessly” wishes me a blessed day, I also have to actively translate this peculiar bit of religious speak into secular speak so that I can understand what they are saying.  Do they mean for me to have a good day? Or are they making some sort of political statement under the guise of telling me to have a good day?  I have no idea.  But the attempt to figure that out is exhausting. And it’s pointless because I can’t really know for sure.  So, while I would like to think - this person means well, I can't always be sure.

“Have a blessed day” is an obviously overt religious expression and the secular expression to "have a nice day" is so ubiquitous that to choose the blessed option is rather obnoxious and that makes me wonder why this particular person felt it was important to use that particular phrase in such an overt and inescapable way. And all this is way too much thinking to think for a simple phone call message and so I become super annoyed that the person who just attempted to bless me put me through all that extra annoying unnecessary thinking and I no longer really want to do business with them at all – unless I absolutely have to.

If you want me to have a nice day - say so. Don't annoy me by making me do extra unnecessary thinking and worrying. It isn't very nice, it isn't very Christian, it isn't very professional and it certainly isn't very humanistic. Religion is your personal business. Don’t make it mine.

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