Wednesday, 22 March 2006

I'm thinking of giving it another try.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Well, I'm back at blogging. Many changes have occurred in my life since my first blog, Atheist Exposed. Unfortunately I deleted the original blog, and don't know how to retrieve it. If anyone can offer any advice in this area, I would greatly appreciate it. I've sent a request to blogspot, to help me restore it but I have not heard back from them yet.

The changes... first of all, I'm not in Houston anymore, now I reside in Arlington, TX (near Dallas)and secondly, I'm no longer working in a prison. That's really been a big change for me, after 18 years of working in a prison, I now work in an office. I'm still working for the prison system, but not inside any more. It took some getting used to, but I adapt quickly, and I absolutely love, not going to jail everyday. I am now 20 months until I'm eligible for retirement, so things are really looking good for me.

So why in the world, would I want to take up my experiment again? A couple of reasons. My office work environment is very close quarters, so I now have to tolerate daily religious chatter from my co-workers. Annoying, but tolerable. In January, we had a Black History luncheon, (I brought macaroni and cheese casserole) and as I entered the dining hall, excited to partake of ox tails, collard greens, and BBQ ribs (I love soul food) I was greeted by the beautiful gospel singing of one of the Administrative Assistants. Well, alright I thought, I guess that is part of black history. After the singing, out comes one of my co-workers, bible in hand, and she begins her reading and moral telling. The theme was we are all one. I smile to myself, wondering if I'm included in that oneness. Then she drops the bombshell, and announces to the crowd of maybe 200 people that God only recognizes Christians and Jews. Holy shit. I'm looking around the crowd, I sure hope there's no Muslims here. They might just be offended by that remark. I grabbed a plate of food, and hurried back to my office feeling a little hurt, not really understanding exactly why, but hurt all the same. So, the seed of "discontent" was planted in my little brain, and just kept irritating me slightly. I kept thinking about the fact that for so many years, I had kept my religious views quite, out of respect for people who might be offended by them, and I wondered why it was, that I never seem to receive that same courtesy. Like somehow my feelings, are not as important as theirs. That has lead me to the decision, that the majority's intolerance of atheism, or any other alternative belief system, is the final prejudice. It's no different than any other form of discrimination. Sex, race, sexual preference.

So this has weighed heavy on my heart and mind for the last few months, but I pretty much decided just to endure it, and reminded myself, I only had 20 months to go. But, ....this week, I attended, Annual Refresher Training. The training they are required to give every year, on all the same topics every year, suicide prevention, computer security, employee conduct, safety, violence in the work place, ethics....

As I sit and listen to the lectures, advising us of our legal and moral responsibility, not to discriminate on basis of race, religion, age, sex... I look around the room, and see everyone nodding their head in agreement, I ask myself... "What are you worried about? You can see right here that you are entitled to your religious views, no matter what they are. You are guaranteed to be protected from those who disagree with you, at least in the workplace." It's the law. Perhaps I'm not giving my co-workers enough credit. Perhaps if they know that I'm an Atheist, they will still love and accept me. I decide I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, and figure out a non confrontational way, to let the news out. There is an Atheist among us. I sure hope this goes well. I really like these people, and some of them, I've known almost 20 years. One thing I think is definitely in my favor, of being accepted, is that my co-workers, have come to the Dallas area, from prisons all over the United States. Who knows, I might even find, a fellow Atheist!! That would be so great...

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