Bible Belt: Couldn't
Stick It For A Minute
I was horrified to read the letter from Mike where he mentioned the experience he'd had at work -- in two different workplaces. I'm shocked that such things go on anywhere in the world, let alone in a country like America which prides itself on being forward looking, and is presented as being so to the rest of the world. I know not all America is like that, and that most Americans are not, but the fact that any part of it is is a worry. I find fundamentalism rather scary.
I know manners are different in different places, but where I live (UK) it is considered the height of rudeness to discuss politics or religion with co-workers. I don't remember ever hearing a discussion about religion anywhere I've worked, and though I have heard arguments about politics, religion is simply not an issue. I think if someone where I work treated someone else the way Mike was treated, it would be that person who was facing the sack.
I don't know the religion of most of my co-workers, and nor am I interested in finding out, and I have never in my whole life heard anyone seriously question the general outline of evolution. Creationism is not taught in schools here as science, and there is no pressure group that I'm aware of claiming it should be. This is in a country where a 'daily act of Christian worship' is still required at all schools -- so if the religious right are looking to that to make America more moral, I think they are barking up distinctly the wrong tree. The UK example seems to prove that prayer in schools doesn't make society more moral -- as far as I recall our crime stats for most crimes (particularly burglary and crimes against property) are far worse than in the US. I don't say that fundamentalists don't exist here, either, I'm sure they do, but their influence seems to be nil and I'm very thankful for that.
You're quite right in what you say about moving house -- it's simply the most stressful experience one can go through short of the death of a family member. I last moved in 1994, and have the scars still. But if Mike can't stand living in the bible belt (and I have to say, I couldn't stick it for a minute myself) I don't see that he's got much alternative.
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
-- Blaise Pascal, philosopher.
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