I love the fact that a discussion like this is being offered. Both sides have identified all of the obvious landmines with religion in the marketplace, and have for the most part done so respectfully, and for that all are to be commended. The number one fear of American business owners today is legal litigation, because one major legal issue can take a small or medium business down. How topics like this are handled may be the very thing that makes or breaks a business.
St. Francis of Assisi probably stated it best, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, but only use your mouth if you have to.” The best way to share your faith, is in the way you love and serve others, and with the excellence of your labor. If you do those things well, people will come and ask you about the peace in your heart, and the twinkle in your eye. Once you’re invited to share about the hope within you, then you’ve earned enough relational equity to be able to respond to someone’s request, but until then, work hard, serve passionately and keep quiet.
I have been a corporate chaplain in the marketplace of America for over twenty-five years, quietly serving tens of thousands of employees without even a hint of one single legal issue. It doesn’t matter if they’re Muslim or Methodist, or Buddhist or Baptist…these employees are priceless treasures, and every one of them deserve to be respected, valued and cared for in their time of need. Religion isn’t about always being right, rather it’s always about being righteous and respectful. I have never led a Bible study in the marketplace, because it has a tendency to polarize employees who believe differently. If one employee chooses not to attend the voluntary study, and later down the road feels they were bypassed for that last promotion for not attending, then there is a potential discrimination issue looming. It’s simply wiser to have a study off-site, to anyone desiring to learn more.
Do I agree with Jessica’s post, about banning God and religion, of course not, but neither do I believe religious dogma should be allowed to wound individuals or use the workplace to evangelize or convert others to their religious persuasion. Each company has its own unique personality and culture, and learning to reap the rewards of a caring culture, with or without religion present is a good thing.
We all need encouragement, direction and additional options from time to time, and a wise and experienced corporate chaplain has proven over and over to be a valued addition. You see, there are two times in life when people need you…and that’s when they need you, and when they need you! Too many times today employers miss that golden moment to solidify an employee for life, by not being there for them when they’re needed the most. They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
To read Jessica’s blog go to: http://www.blogging4jobs.com/hr/god-work-religious-discrimination/