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Old 03-11-2009, 11:42 PM
Location: SW Missouri
14,864 posts, read 27,409,823 times
Reputation: 19570


Where I work I am the local manager and our company has just hired a new regional manager (my immediate boss), which I have just met for the first time.

Now before I go on, I need to preface this by saying that I am not, in any way, shape or form, a religious person. However, I have no problem with OTHER people being religious. That having been said, I believe that bringing your religious beliefs or views into the workplace is totally improper.

Well, today I was talking with my boss (casually) when he launched into a big old story about how one place where he worked brought him "closer to God" and that he had always been a believer, but that he often did not have "time for God" and that God spoke to him (or made something happen - at this point I kind of stopped listening), blah blah blah. Earlier on in the day he also had made the comment that "when God closes one door, he opens another". And that his daughter had been "talking to God" and then said "Thank you Jesus" when a difficult situation was averted.

During these conversations, it seemed to me that he kept kind of looking at me expecting some kind of reaction to his comments. Perhaps he was expecting an "amen" or something, I'm not sure. But I kept silent and had a rather simplistic smile on my face hoping he would change the subject before he asked me anything about my religious beliefs.

If this kind of talk continues I am going to be very uncomfortable. If this was ANYONE but my boss, I would have said something to make it known that I did not wish to discuss religion in the workplace. But since he is my immediate superior, I don't know what (if anything) to say to him.

Does anybody have any suggestions?

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Old 03-12-2009, 05:12 AM
6,764 posts, read 18,462,491 times
Reputation: 4635
Why not say say something like, "that's wonderful you find strength in your religion/beliefs" and then move on the conversation.

Nodding politely is all that you have to do after that. If he presses you, just say you believe religion is a personal thing and you don't feel comfortable discussing it.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:08 AM
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 51,069,645 times
Reputation: 26265
Not that this will probably help you much but years ago a man in an office where I worked started "hitting on me" religiously. A Jehovah's Witness, he was a very nice man but kept asking me questions about my religious beliefs and suggesting I go to his church. I didn't want to be rude to him but asked him one day, "Have you ever read the Gnostic Gospels?" He was completely at sea with the question but I briefly explained to him what the Gnostic Gospels are and told him I had a book about them and would be delighted to loan it to him if he'd be interested. He seemed not to know what to say, found something important to do which was work-related and never bothered me again with anything to do with religion. Cheers!
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:19 AM
Location: Florida
15,956 posts, read 16,240,298 times
Reputation: 16200
What do you do?
The same as if your boss tells boring stories about his kids/grandkids or hobby.
Maaintain a disinterested but polite look on your face, tune him out and respond with something like "That's nice"
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:46 AM
5,527 posts, read 8,393,734 times
Reputation: 1859
It's best to let your boss know that you are not religious up front and say you mentioned it so he does not think that you are something that you are not. It's a personal choice of yours and if he has a problem with that then too bad (don't say the last part).

If your boss does ANYTHING negative towards you based on your beliefs then you have yourself a lawsuit if he goes too far. Other than that you have a more honest relationship with your new boss.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:49 AM
6,585 posts, read 21,570,031 times
Reputation: 3151
So common here in Texas. I just ignore it.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:20 AM
6,825 posts, read 9,134,267 times
Reputation: 9827
I've had that happen plenty of times after leaving NY state. I worked with a woman who was the "minister's wife" and she would go on, in gorey detail, about every religious thing she believed and did (although she had a permanent scowl on her face, in general). I would make sure I would curse as much as a sailor at every opportune time. She would just sneer at me, kinda snort and say something like "Oh, I've heard that language before." It made my days alot brighter.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:30 AM
16,301 posts, read 22,872,416 times
Reputation: 8230
If he really pushes a religious belief discussion, just say that you believe that a persons belief system is very personal, and as such you do not discuss yours.

The absolute worst manager I ever had was a lay preacher and always boasting about his religious beliefs, his preaching, etc. He was also a habitual liar, and bragged about not claiming the 'love offerings' that churches would give him for preaching as income on his taxes.

When I witnessed him telling direct lies to a customer, a major account, I went over his head, and he was gone in two weeks. Yet he considered himself a 'man of god'. Even before he was transferred in, I was always wary of those that wear their religion like a badge, especially those that wear a huge cross necklace, which he did, and I have vet to meet anyone that has dispelled this suspicion.
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:21 AM
20,686 posts, read 41,137,101 times
Reputation: 10171
the issue will be what happens if you let him know that 1) you are not religious, and/or 2) you do not appreciate his overt attempt at proslytizing for your own personal reasons...
I think this is harassement just as much as sexual harassesment -- because my experience as been that some people CANNOT keep from pushing their religion out to other people who have a different mind set--often because they DO have a different mind set--usually these people are fairly conservative Christians but non-denominational...
I have not come across any Catholics that are trying to get me to convert to the Catholic church
or Mormons that I know to get me to experience the LDS church...

we have several Catholic friends--we attend services at their church from time to time for variety of reasons--but they are not trying to get us to make a profession of faith--or even care that we are not religious participants ourselves...

my take is this guy is not going to stop doing this without something over from you--because he wants to convert you--that is his mission in life--anyone he things needs this help is going to be in his target area--
the problem is what happens when you put up barriers to that???

my second take would be--I bet he is really NOT a very good regional manager--but for some reason his weakness will be overlooked--anyone who spends this much time talking about religion on the job is not focused on work's responsibilities...
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:44 AM
Location: Up in the air
19,126 posts, read 24,225,906 times
Reputation: 16167
Difficult Situation, you should tred lightly. If you offend him, he could make your life a living hell because you don't know if he 'trusts' non-christians. On the other hand, if you tell him you are a non-believer, or that you wish not to discuss it, he could do one of two things... Ignore you and not talk of god stuff OR he could go into Jesus overgear and try his darndest to convert you. Either way, dealing with overly religious people is rarely fun.
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