Religion and work-- is there a median?

  1. hi kids...

    For those that dont know me, my name is Barbara. I am a Wiccan priestess, a moderator on these boards, and a LPN.

    Wicca is a very gentle peaceloving religion...if anyone needs more info, PM me...
    anyhoo... enough background...

    I work in a large NY hospital, inpatient rehabilitation.

    On the back nursing station, on top of a shelf that is empty, I have placed a small statue, some pennies and a small twig. It, in essence is a prosperity/peace shrine.... Total space, 9 square inches...

    On the back bulletein board is a christian prayer (it is the only thing on that board, and, distinctly references the 'one lord jesus christ')

    On the front board is a similar paper.... on it is a christian cross and a prayer/thanks to our staff..

    Now, I've been ill for a few days... I had some emergency oral surgery... I left my shrine up...

    I have a religious student of mine who works on the unit... A nurse on the unit pulled her over to the side and told her that she worried about my sanity-- about how I left something like that up on the floor.... (mind you, the day I set it up, she was working,and could have come to me immediately)

    My student (who I'm VERY proud of) told her about wicca, and fielded a few not too nicely worded questions in a professional and courteous manner...

    I'm miffed that she questioned my sanity and religion to anyone other than me... I've never questioned her love of christianity, or her sanity... grr... (maybe except now)

    anyhoo... I'm leaving my shrine up, until management asks me to take it down, or until a staff member or patient asks me to remove it... and when that time comes, I will remove every single item on the floor that mentions 'god' in any of his/her/its form... or... call the ACLU...

    Am I justified to be angry... is my plan of action skewed?

    I'm quite angry right now, but of course have no ill will... aka-- I come in calm and collected, and do not bother with these people who do not ask questions..


    Thanks for letting me vent

    Barbara
    Last edit by Yeti1313LPN on Sep 28, '02
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  2. 64 Comments

  3. by   RNConnieF
    Where I work we are not allowed to have any type of religious items on public display. At Christmas we can only do winter theme and the nonsecular Santa. If your facility allows Christian display, unless they are a Catholic hospital, they have to, by law, allow religious display of other "widely accepted" religous groups. If you can't get Wicca in you can most likely get the Christian display out. Discrimination is illegal.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    You are right to be upset. I would never question your sanity in your exercising your legal right to practice your chosen religion/belief system. As long as you don't push it on anyone else; just as Christians/MuslimsBuddists/Atheists/ whatever, or others should not, why should it bother anyone? Live in peace and dont' sweat what others think. However, as you know, You have the right to your beliefs just like anyone else. No one has the right to discriminate or make libelous remarks about you due to your belief system. If this continues, pursue it. It is plain wrong.
  5. by   CaliNurse
    I bought a pen on a strap that was a break away strap. Perfect for work. My badge and pen around my neck. On the strap is had little letters WWJD. My DON approached me and told me that we could not wear anything that was religious to prevent offending others of different religions or an absence of belief in a religion.

    So I gave up the cool pen on a string and now wear one from the girl scouts summer camp. My pen is in my pocket. I didn't get it initially but since then we have had several patients come and go who's religious beliefs were different than mine. The only thing religious on the unit are cards from patients and families that were there thanking us for their care.

    Beyond the religious issues we are not allowed to keep any personal items on the unit. No food, purses, books, drinks, etc. If it doesn't fit in our pockets, fanny pack, or lockers it stays in the car. Otherwise it is trashed. This seems severe but we never have any environmental issues during survey.

    I have to admit I have never heard of your religion but I would not think you were insane for believing different than I do.

    Cali
  6. by   Genista
    Barbara- I work at a Catholic hospital. Though I am not Catholic, and neither are many of my patients, we are inundated with Catholic prayers, quotes, etc. I am surprised how that one coworker reacted to your shrine. I thought tolerance for multiculturism and religious belief was taught in most nursing schools. I don't believe in alot of the Catholic stuff, but if it brings comfort to others, what do I care? Your statue is no more offensive than any other religious symbol.Most religions hold the same principles at heart of peace, love , and respect for life. I would not be offended by your differing belief. You have every right to be upset.
  7. by   caliotter3
    What's good for one is good for all. It would probably be better if all religious articles were removed. Then there could be no hard feelings or discrimination. This might relieve some uncomfortable moments also.

    At one place where I worked there was extremely bad morale (sound familiar?). We started posting jokes and pleasant pictures, etc. at the nursing station. The nurse manager came and took down our pictures and jokes. I remember feeling really hurt that something we did for ourselves to try to make each other feel better got bashed. I'm surprised that these items you mention have lasted as long as they have.
  8. by   mario_ragucci
    I don't know anything about Wicca. I was born and raised in Eltingville, and went to Holy Child Parish where i received all my sacraments, but even then, I was happy to know I create my own reality, despite the confusing stuff about religion.
    Heh, lol, any imaginary subject will tend to wild out some people, whether they are stunch believers, or those with onboard reality-makers...whatever.
    Little by little, i hope humanity pays less and less attention to religions and belief.sys and start to create, ourselves, more love and enjoyment of life, rather than all the death and hatred religions usually bring :-(
    If a Wicca person left objects around, and indicated they were of some extra-power origin, i would ask questions. Eventually i would understand it, and come up with my own version of what they are doing plus my own love. Isn't that what your supposed to do?
    If a Wicca person talked about the future being determined by Wicca, then I would grumble because no person, or single electron, can travel at a speed beyong the speed of visual light, or 300,000 Km per second. Limitations in our life are wicked! :kiss
  9. by   Nittlebug
    My opinion- We should not subject others to our religions. Just leave it at home and in your heart. I am so sick of having to listen to christian prayers over the loud speaker. It's very inconsiderate. Cards posted, I don't have to look at, but you can't hide from the overhead speaker.
  10. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by RNConnieF
    Discrimination is illegal.
    Your entire post was awesome Connie, I just wanted to restate this ever-so-important fact. It all goes, or it all satys. Period.

    Heather
  11. by   studentOH
    Is this 1900 or something? Even if you regard Wicca or Christianity as something silly we've all at least heard of them and know of them. I can't believe how afraid people get of things that are different from them.

    Barbara--If they take down your stuff see that theirs gets taken down too. I keep mine in my locker at work--you know, the eye of newt right next to the cat we're going to sacrifice to satan next week *sigh*. BB

    Bri
  12. by   CashewLPN
    thanks kids... I'm glad i didnt get bashed-- I just wanted to see what was the concensous.... I go back tomorrow.... I'll let you know what the update is on whats happening...

    --Barbara
  13. by   jemb
    Hi Barbara, I am a solitary practioner of the craft. I keep a couple of things on my desk at work --a candle, a small plant, and some small pictures of significance to me. But,as far as I know, no one has ever questioned it -- they would look insignificant to anyone else. Occassionally, I wear a pentacle necklace, but it is small and usually beneath my clothes. Only a couple of patients have even known what it is, and for the few others who have asked, I just say "it has personal significance to me." I work in oncology, and find that my beliefs are significant in helping my patients, but I refrain from mentioning any religion unless they want to talk about their own. I'd love to correspond with you if you ever feel inspired to pm me.
    Last edit by jemb on Sep 29, '02
  14. by   prn nurse
    I think there is a time and a place for everything.

    I don't think a small place on a shelf at work for any kind of icons/amulets is appropriate.

    "a little piece of wood" could be left in your pocket if it gives you a sense of comfort.

    America thrives/functions on the majority of people being "Mainstream."

    It makes people anxious to be exposed to something that is not mainstream.

    A little piece of wood.....how do others interpret that?

    Is it voodoo? witchcraft? an object that is being used in a ritual?

    It isn't "mainstream." It sends a message..... no one but you knows the message.

    If you need a constant inspirational support/reassurance at work, I would wear a necklace under my uniform, or have something in my pocket. I would not build an alter at work, no matter how small.

    I think your co-worker may have meant you were crazy to create your alter at your place of employment.

    I think you are "asking for it." It is challenging authority. If you want to stand for your rights....for the "all or nothing"....ACLU & lawyers....and all that........ go for it!!!

    This is America !! It's your right !!

    Myself, I need to work. I don't make waves.

    If I want to light black candles, put hexes on people, get drunk, have sex with the priest, worship at midnight under a full moon wearing black gauze, or any other stuff that is even slightly unmainstream, I'll do it, but not at work or in the presence of co-workers.

    It depends on how much you need/want your job.

    As someone said on another BB, we all "choose our battles."

    I'd let this one go and die a quiet death & never mention it at work....a reputation for being an alternative "religious nut" would take a long time to live down .....even an undeserved one.

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