So, I'm sitting at work today (in a funk, of course, because of the
First, my VP asks us all to contribute to something so that we can show that our thoughts and prayers are with our coworker in his time of trouble. Then, I get an update from my fellow coworker, informing us that his daughter is feeling better, and thanking us because it appears our prayers are working.
Excuse me, wouldn't the chemotherapy treatments (she's now on day 4 of 7) be contributing to her improvement slightly? Maybe her acceptance and positive outlook (of course, this could possibly be helped out by her faith) might be contributing to her handling the situation better, too. But to credit this individual's recovery to divine intervention seems to be quite a stretch for those of us who don't necessarily feel the same way about an Invisible Cloud Deity reaching down to succor this particular soul right now (possibly, a cynic might say, just to prolong the agony she's about to have to go through), or for that matter, those who might not have the same beliefs about what, if any, god(s) there might be.
I'd like to convey my desire for things to work out for my fellow employee. But I am very much afraid that there is little if no way to do it without either tacitly supporting the religious beliefs expressed in the group's support for a friend in need, or causing offense to those religious beliefs (by showing my support and making it clear that I do not believe in his particular form of faith). I guess I need to stay away from the official office show of support for my coworker, and keep my mouth shut about my blasphemous pagan babblings of doubt about our Lord And Savior (Amen!) so as not to offend those around me in my place of business.
I wonder if they would be happy to have the Hindus in the House (can I get a Holla!) ask Vishnu to watch over their daughter (although I'm pretty sure they wouldn't appreciate offerings to Siva on her behalf)? Or if it would be okay to ask Allah to help their little girl? I find myself questioning whether even bringing this sort of discussion up is offensive to True Believers of the One God. And whether those adherents of the faith are aware (or concerned) about their effect on the work place when they do this sort of thing (need I mention that of course this is considered an appropriate use of company time and resources?).
Quite a few others have grappled with this question recently, and that may have caused me to notice this sort of thing a little more. I'm sure that it has allowed me to communicate my dilemma more clearly. And I hope that it has managed to make you think about this issue a little better than you did yesterday.
Cross-posted at the new home of the Funny Farm and Open Source Politics.