Annoying proselytizer is canned, involves courts

Penn Jillette said something I liked; he said he doesn’t respect anyone who isn’t proselytizing. He feels there is something genuinely good about it, and I generally agree: if you have an idea you think is great, tell people about it. There is, however, a limit to how much preaching is acceptable. You should not, like this man, do it to coworkers trying to get their jobs done without you bothering them every minute.

Seann Friesen wanted to involve the courts after he was fired when he refused to stop proselytizing during regular work hours. The BC Human Rights Tribunal turned down his request, actually pointing out that his former employer went above and beyond to accommodate Mr. Friesen’s need to tell people about his religion.

If you’re interested in telling people your point of view, there are a few things you should remember. The first is the workplace involves many people of different beliefs and values trying to work together towards a common goal. The last thing they need in this tenuous connection is you making their lives miserable by constantly bugging them with religion. The second is that from my own experience, emotional passions are bound to spring up anytime you bring up religion, and if your safety requires the trust of other human beings, it’s best not to piss them off. And finally, and most importantly, if work is the only place these people hang out with you, there might be a reason for it; odds are they are not your biggest fans.

You like proselytizing? Do what I do: blog about it. It’s a lot easier, and you’ll find most of the people who come on your site will actually enjoy what you have to say. That way, you can keep your job, and fulfill that strange need you have to tell others about ‘the good news’

Comments (1)

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    I’m afraid that I have to disagree here, and say that proselytism is neither appropriate nor productive.

    Don’t get me wrong, I really like Penn Jillette. I think he’s a good magician and a great entertainer, and of course “Bullshit!” is a great show. The thing about Penn is that he says some good things, and he also says some silly things. This is one of the sillier things he has said. There’s a distinct difference between telling someone your point of view and proselytizing. Proselytizing involves an attempt to convert or to recruit, and therefore, has a distinctly religious and militant aspect about it, while simply sharing one’s own point of view (and even attempting to persuade someone that it’s a good idea) does not.

    When one is persuaded to accept that an idea is good, they will accept it willingly. Proselytism is generally found annoying and, in the case of atheism especially, is self-defeating and hypocritical in a lot of ways.

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