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Respecting the Beliefs of Nonbelievers

April 19, 1998

We must object vehemently to the so-called "legal" advice regarding "Workplace Guideposts" [Careers special section, April 6]. How can any of these possibly be considered acceptable: "3. Asking a co-worker if he has found Jesus Christ; 4. Telling an atheist colleague that he is going straight to hell; 7. Telling a fellow employee that she should consider converting to your religion"?

We consider these to be very offensive and no one has the right to talk to either of us in such a manner (at work or anywhere!). We will never believe in Jesus Christ. We respect someone's right to be an atheist and would never send them to hell because of that belief. No way would we convert to anyone's religion because they suggested it.

We find such talk intimidating, offensive, presumptuous and an invasion of privacy. We don't care what attorney Frank Cronin and the others consulted in Melinda Fulmer's article think. We would notify human resources and take legal action if any of them ever, ever talked to either of us this way, especially asking if we found Jesus. Whose business is that anyway?

Each of our religious beliefs is very intensely personal. It touches our very souls and belongs to us. Keep your religious beliefs out of our faces, especially at the workplace. It's not easy finding fulfillment at work (or anywhere), and suggesting we change religion is the antithesis of being soulful.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 26, 1998 Home Edition Business Part D Page 4 Financial Desk 2 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Letters--The headline on a letter to the editor by Jenny Lens Kreisel and Ely Kreisel published April 19 did not intend to suggest that they are nonbelievers. The headline intended to convey the Kreisels' position that the beliefs of everyone, including nonbelievers, should be respected.

JENNY LENS KREISEL

and ELY KREISEL

Santa Monica

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The practices deemed "acceptable," such as "asking a co-worker if he has found Jesus Christ" or "telling an atheist colleague that he is going to go straight to hell" . . . are a form of harassment.

While it is illegal to discriminate on a racial basis, religious-spiritual persecution continues in this country on a wide basis.

Members of groups outside the Judeo-Christian majority are not free to discuss their belief systems due to misinformation about them as well as generalized intolerance.

Since religious affiliation and moral behavior have no correlation to each other, religious preference, like sexual preference, needs to stay out of the workplace.

JUDITHANNE YOUNG

Norco

*

I loved the fact that you devoted so much space to "spirituality" and "soul work" in the workplace. My only criticism is that most of what you wrote tied these concepts into a religion.

You were very careful to use examples from most of the world's major religions in describing spiritual practices used in workplaces today. However, I believe spirituality in the workplace goes deeper than any organized religious persuasion. In fact, using a religion as the basis for spirituality may turn off those who need most to practice spirituality in the workplace.

Seeking meaning through development of the spiritual dimensions will lead one to the realization that there is more to life than the secular, material world. But the focus needs to be on seeking spiritual meaning, not on traditional religious practices.

CHRISTA METZGER

Santa Monica

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