Monday, September 27, 2010

Can I Get A Witness?


No....You Can't

Disclaimer: First of all, this little essay might not sit too well with some folks. So let me lay down some ground rules. I am not anti-religion, nor do I take the attitude that one religion is better or superior to another. One of my core values is that everyone has the ‘right’ to pray to any God and worship in any way they want. That includes Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Druids, Catholics, Lutherans, Devil Worshipers, etc., etc., etc.

However, I need to point out a little issue that some of the more ‘faithful’ may not have realized. The world has changed people. Religious majorities are no longer confined to geographic areas. All religions are global these days.

This past weekend we had dinner with a friend of my wife’s that we helped out of a jam a few weeks ago. She returned the favor by inviting us over for a home cooked meal. I wasn’t going to complain because, hey, free food and I didn’t have to do the dishes (well, actually I did, but that is a different blog).

This friend of my wife is going through some hard times right now. She is working part time since being laid off from her job. Her roommate is moving out, so she is going to have to find a new place to live. She is 50+, divorced and childless. She is currently looking for her prince charming to come and make her life all better.

She is also very religious. Catholic to be exact, and all through the dinner conversation she was invoking the name of God, and what she had done in church that week and saying grace before the meal, and shouting “Can I Get A Witness”, whenever she came up with a good word in our after-dinner game of Scrabble.

If going to mass every day (which she does) and hanging on the Pope’s every word makes her day, that is fine. But proselytising to the non-believers isn’t, which is what she was doing.

Listen up people. This isn’t the 1950s where everyone in your town worships the same God in the same way. We are a melting pot today and there are hundreds of different faiths and worshiping styles on every city block.

I don’t think you would want to raise a toast to Afganistan and shout “Allah Akbar!!!” if you have Jewish friends at the table. Likewise, I am not too keen on some Hindu making an offering to Ganesha in the corner of the room before every meal, and I certainly don’t want the devote Shiite living next door out in his back yard three times a day praying to Mecca over a loud speaker.

If you want to worship, fine. Say grace to yourself before you start wolfing down your food. Don’t worry, God will still hear you. (Speaking of which, shouldn’t you be thanking Walmart and Matsushita Heavy Industry for producing that warehouse raised beef and chicken that is chock full of steroids and anti-biotics? I don’t think God has a lot to do with that food.)

Every time you perform a religious ritual in front of others, it is an affront to their beliefs unless they share your same religion with the appropriate zeal.....and most of us don’t.

You have the right to believe what ever you want. But it is inconsiderate and offense to shove it in everyone else's face.