How Being An Atheist Almost Cost Me My Job

2년 전

Now, before I get started I want to let you know that I know there are far worse things happening to atheists all around the world. I'm not making light of that. I'm just telling a story of something that happened to me in my privileged, white world.


On with the story.

I grew up in Ontario, Canada, where we had a lot of freedoms compared to many places. One of them was the freedom of/from religion. My papa had often told me that there were certain things you shouldn't talk about with others because it often ends up in a fight. One was politics and the other was religion. I think it was because he had left the Catholic church after coming to his senses. I didn't even know about that until after his death though because he never talked about religion. That's a whole other story though.

So after getting kicked out of high school, I bounced from one meaningless job to another and was always living paycheque to paycheque. Eventually, I ended up as a cab driver in our small town of 18000 people. I think I was probably in my early twenties so it would be around 1994 or so.
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One day I got a call to pick up at the mall and when I got there this kindly lady in her sixties got in and wanted to go home which was probably a ten-minute ride. As we were passing the Catholic graveyard she asked me if I was Catholic. I said I was not and left it at that. She then asked what religion I was and when I told her that my grandfather had always told me it was impolite to speak about religion or politics she said that was understandable but that she was just a curious person and there was no wrong answer, she just likes to see what everybody thought.

So I told her I was baptized Anglican but didn't practice and hadn't since I was a kid. She then asked about my parents and whether they took me to church and I told her that my mom took me until I was around 10 when told her I didn't believe in God and hated going to church.
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That was when she started allowing wrong answers.

At first, she just asked incredulously, "You don't believe in God?" When I answered that I didn't, she blew up. I mean spitting rage and hurling insult after insult. She went so far as to say that my parents should have been shot for not making me go to church and then told me to stop the car and got out in the street. Didn't pay me or anything. I tried to explain that this was why I didn't talk about religion or politics and she just walked away.

We were only a couple of streets from her house and it was cold but not too bad so I let her go. I then drove to my boss's place to explain what happened. We didn't have personal cell phones back then and it seemed too sensitive to call on the radio.

When I got there my boss, who was an ex-wrestler and even made it to the WWF for a few matches when it first started, was on the phone, apologizing to the lady and telling her that he would deal with me when he saw me. He also told her that he didn't know what disciplinary action he would take but it would be fair.

When he got off the phone he just looked at me and asked why I would get into an argument about religion with an old lady and told me she wanted me fired or she would be letting the other members of her church know about the type of people he had working for him. He told me that while he had the same views that I did, we had to provide good customer service and we couldn't afford to lose the church crowd so if it ever happened again he would have to let me go. I also wouldn't be working Sundays anymore, just in case.

The old double standard.

In the end, I don't think he legally could have fired me but it goes to show you how things worked. Could you imagine if I jumped in a cab and asked someone about their views on religion and then freaked out when they told me they believed in God? That would be preposterous, right? Now imagine I called their employer and demand that they are fired for their belief. It would make the war on Christmas look like a pre-school dodgeball match.

What do I know, though? I'm just a godless heathen.

Originally posted to the Atheism pod on Whaleshares

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No, it's really because you weren't Catholic. And Catholics aren't Christians in the first place.

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She wasn't Catholic either. She was just asking if I was. She was Pentecostal. Their church was outside of town and several of the older people would take a cab together to it.

Also, if you ask a Catholic they will generally tell you that they are the only true Christian. Same goes with most denominations.