“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” — St. Augustine

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We are in the deepest recession since The Great Depression. We are all aware that some employers are using this to their advantage by trying to obtain labor for far-below the previous market value–which will be another discussion for another day–but now, according to recent and stomach-turning reports that I have heard from a former colleauge, regarding: A couple of local employers that are actually calling prospective employees and asking them not-so-much about their Architectural prowess but about their religious preferences! They are doing this by way of certain questions. Questions, such as, if they would mind, “…participating in a prayer session each morning before work, if hired by the firm?” (or some such variation of this).  Prayer? Before Work? With co-workers? Really?? 

I know, we will have the truly faithful who will shout, “Prayer is never wrong…never a bad time to pray!!!”  And, those that I call The Firm faithful, these are people who work at firms, in which, the Principals like to extol their religious feelings, thus, it become almost fashionable and certainly a good career move to give a “Hallelujah” or an “Amen”  to show your support, or–in this case–a parrotting of, “Prayer is never wrong…never a bad time to pray!”  This opens all sorts of hubristic, little anomalies that must be examined. First, the employers in question toss around the word “prayer”, while waiting for a simple “yes.” or “no.” response, while not-even considering that other people may understand “prayer” to mean something completely different than they are intending the word to mean.  This is a problem with people who become so self-absorbed that they assume everyone shares their values or at least thinks that they should.

We have always suspected that there are those who consider themselves to be among the High Priesthood of Architecture i.e: those who understand design, style, period and piece just a little better than thou… but, now, they understand–your relationship with the almighty, the time of day you pray and in whose company–better than you. Wow!

I love how these types are quick to quote The Bible to prove their point(s),yet, prayer was mentioned in The Bible (I am making an assumption that these folks are Christians) to be a private affair, as stated, in the book of Matthew: 

 Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV) “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

What if the prospective employee says, “Sure, that is not a problem.” Then, is subsequently hired and shows up for The Firm’s morning-prayer-service with his prayer-mat in tow?  He then unrolls it and proceeds to face Mecca and begins his prayers. Will this be a problem? I mean, they did say, prayer, right? Do you think this would be acceptable while the aforementioned Principals are saying their prayers that one of their employees is saying his own prayers? Prayers to a God who may be equal, opposite or quite possibly multi-limbed or with multiple orbs, and orafices.

Ahhh, I know,  there is only “One true God”, yes, the employee on the prayer-mat would agree with you but differ on exactly which God that is. Does the person writing the paycheck make the call which invisible, celestial-deity will be worshipped? Will there be a blowing of a Christian trumpet or a Muslim call-to-prayer echoing throughout the firm?

This also assumes that the employee has not only said his/her own prayers before coming to work and must somehow be guided or coaxed along by those just a little more enlightened than themselves.  I am sure the response will be, “Nothing wrong with praying together!” OK, but isn’t prayer inherently, by definition – PERSONAL (re: Matt:6:5-6)? Moreover, if people do want to pray with others, wouldn’t they want to do this with their families or friends, before or after work? Why does the prayer have to be at work AND with their Project Manager? I suspect that it will be used  not only as a public display of piety but also as an opt-out  to deliver some, perhaps, not-so-pleasant news. Who would argue or protest during company prayer? Who would be heretical enough to do so? Isn’t hiding behind one thing to deliver another, ungodly? The (bad) news may come in the form of an audible prayer from the firms managing-prayer-partner (MPP), such as:

 “Dear Lord, oh dear Lord…please, please let our employees understand that, although, we would like to be able to give a bonus this year… it will not be possible.  Lord.. please, let them understand that we are truly, truly grateful for their twelve-hour days..not in our service lord..but in yours…let them know that if it be thy will that a generous bounty will flow…next year.  Next year Lord… with enough sacrifice, work and humility so that you may be able to deliver a bonus..if it be thy will.” 

 Just guessing. 😉

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11 Responses to ““Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” — St. Augustine”

  1. Liz Griffore Says:

    This article was excellent and so to the point ..and it could not of been better worded. Prayer in the workplace? something to consider in the medical profession!!! while the patient is on the operating..the doctor shouting out! STOP lets pray over him first..LOL

    • Archiminister Says:

      Thanks for your response. I am glad you enjoyed my post. Agreed, the patient could bleed-out while the staff rounded everyone up to pray-their way. And once dead, they would deem it simply, “The will of god, call-it, pronounced dead at 12:01 pm Central Standard Time during our 15th Hail Mary.”

  2. rdzinen Says:

    Excellent post.

    The funny thing about “freedom” is that often we must tollerate those who make our blood boil, for they too have that same “freedom” we enjoy. I actually don’t have a problem with an employer ‘vetting’ his potential employees. (No, I don’t agree with it. But I accept their right to do so.) In these cases, it is obvious that the employer has made a decision he will only hire a person of a particular religion.

    If that is what they feel is most important, so be it. Yes, it’s discrimination. No doubt about it. But the right to do so is theirs. Everyone has the GOD given right to be a bigot.

    Potential employees have a right to say, “no thank you” and turn down the job. In addition, others have the right to NOT use his services. What’s more, others even have the right to compete against that employer AND use the employers activites AGAINST him. THAT – Is Freedom.

    It would be a different situation if an employer all of a sudden called his (existing) employees into a room and said, “from now on you will all (insert any religious cerimony) or you will be fired.” That would not only be reprehensible, but illegal.

    • Archiminister Says:

      Thanks for your great comments! Agreed about the employer calling the employees into a room and threatening termination unless the firm sanctioned religion is practiced — instead they are handling this on the front end by only allowing those who share their religious ideology in the door. This is similar to how HR is ruining American businesses (especially in technical professions) because, suddenly, people are being hired for reasons that have nothing to do with the skill-sets needed to produce the product that the firm makes money from but, instead, check boxes that must be filled. The employer has his own check boxes and his involve-religion. What happens is that like so many of these pseudo criteria and filters, they do not get the best people for the job, but, the worst. The opposite of their intent. The person may meet 4 out of 4 check boxes but not be able to produce a building to save their life but I suppose they could just pray for them to improve during the company prayer vigil.

      Why not leave the religious texts at home or in the car and thump them upon returning home at night? I had one manager at my previous firm that–worked like the devil–to share the his religious beliefs with young women-never men. He would then ask these young women to lunch and want to discuss various books that he bought for them regarding topics tied into his religion. I found it odd that he did not seem too concerned about saving the souls of men?? I wondered to myself, *Are men not worth of the kingdom of God…why only women?* My natural inclination was, *Hmmm middle aged man..young women…buys books…must take them to lunch to discuss…but no, of course not.. that could not be it because it is under the pure blanket of religion.* When these same women were upset he would massage their shoulders and assure them that not only he loved them but that Christ does too.” He always wanted to get his future convert of the day — alone — to, “Share Christ”.

      I mean who would question this? Just a kindly middle-aged many trying to win souls for heaven. Ironically these “souls” live in nice bodies with pretty faces attached. Odd how that works, isn’t it? And what wife could be upset with her husband who works SO DILIGENTLY to share the kingdom of God with young good-looking women? I mean every mission has a mission field, some target Eastern Europe while others pick Africa as their mission field… young hot babes just happened to be HIS mission field of choice. 😉

  3. Mmm In the UK the law does not allow an employer to discriminate on the grounds of religion, ethinicity, sexual preffernce colour, race or a multitude of other things. As for religion in the workplace we recently had the case of a nurse who asked a patient if she would mind if she prayed for her. The nurse was suspended and had to fight tooth and nail to keep her job such is the stupidity of political correctness gone mad here in the uk.

    • Archiminister Says:

      Yes Nige, Actually it is walking a fine line, here, as well. But it is all in what I like to call “wordsmything”. Instead of coming out and asking, “Are you a Christian?” as a means of culling perspective employees, they are instead, asking if you would be “opposed to prayer.” In interviews one is not even supposed to ask if the canidate is married. They will/would never come out and say that one was not hired on this basis they would simply say that the canidate did not meet their criteria of “skill-sets”, which may be how fast one can thumb through the book of Mark or who can quote Revelation, the best. I love the circular logic too. It is true because it says so, RIGHT HERE! (thumping Bible). These types are almost oblivious to the fact that each religions religious text says it is true.

  4. rdzinen Says:

    There’s too much ‘PC’ crap going on thesedays.

    It’s as if people think that they have some constitutional right NOT to be offended. I realize this post is more about discrimination than ‘political correctness’ but still, I think all this “political correctness” is a vast conspiracy by trial lawyers to keep their bank accounts full.

    Imagine how much time & money we would save if we could just beat the shit out of someone. The creepy guy at work who rubs the girls shoulders and talks GOD to them. Why can’t we just take him into the garage and let the ladies play kick-ball(s).

    As for employers who put religion before qualifications, don’t worry – natural selection will solve that in time.

  5. Archiminister Says:

    Agreed, I am not into all of this PC stuff either. If someone wants to thump their Bible, fine. Thump it at home but I have no desire to thump it with them, the same as I will not subject them to listening about Pink Bunny and how she laid giant eggs in the Universe which are the planets. Similarly, I do not want to hear them tell me about the very large, very old man–with a long beard– that wears a long flowing robe–and sandals–who sits on a throne in a secret spot in the sky and when he is not busy doing things, such as: creating Galaxies, he sits and frets and wrings his hands about what the human race is doing with their genitals while he is not looking.

    Kick-ball would be fun!!!

    Yes, there are a lot of employers who put a lot of things before the product that makes them their bread and butter. What starts out as a business all-too-often ends in vanity. Agreed, mutations are always going to happen, usually, they are noticed by the body and “cleaned-up” before the “body” (business) starts making incorrect copies of incorrect copies (cancer). But when a body (business) purposely brings in cancer cells and lets them destroy healthy cells while the body (owner) sits and watches, well, death IS imminent.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell.

    Thanks for your great comments!

  6. Caitilin Smyte Says:

    You sound bitter and disgruntled.

    • Archiminister Says:

      “You sound bitter and disgruntled.”

      Look everybody: Someone who has no clue as to what irony is while they are fueled by hubris! Amazing! I am going to be gentle with you…simply because it is so sad. Who sounds more bitter the person who makes ironic observations about their own profession OR the person who leaves anonymous blog comments?? You sound like that cranky bureaucrat in “Notes From The Underground.” You sound like the type of person that would manually draw an arrow instead of using the leader command but would rather do things incorrectly than wound your ego by learning something new. Manually drawing an arrow? That is like taking Viagra when you already have a hard-on. If you do not want Architecture to look like THIS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2PyeXRwhCE, then I suggest you get a sense of humor, stop taking yourself so seriously, have a few drinks and get-laid tonight, hopefully by your husband–that is–if he is around. I am not trying to insinuate that your gay or anything but, perhaps, you should come out of the closet and stop posting anonymously. Stop posting bitter, anonymous comments…. I understand that when a firm is in serious financial trouble they are going to keep their lower paid employees and–I am OK with that. That is what lay-offs are about: cost savings: Economics 101.
      Just be thankful that you have a job…at any wage. Well got to go I am off to write a blog about people who do not understand irony and are in serious need of a rhetoric class.

    • Archiminister Says:

      High Salary and Inexperience have an Inverse reciprocal relationship. Thus, inexperienced and/or untalented people earn less. A firm has three options when laying off people:

      1. To keep talented/experienced people who earn more.
      2. To keep inexperienced people who earn less.
      3. To keep inexperienced people who earn less and a smattering of outdated non-technical managers and people who we want around–that may not even be billable–for reasons we will not even admit to ourselves. I believe AT&T dubbed it: “The friends and family plan.”

      If you have no work, then obviously – it does not matter one way or another, therefore, you choose the cost savings and then indulge your own sick vices. Option #3.

      But then again, What can we say about someone who the sum total of their knowledge is reduced to a “DO NOT REMOVE” tag on the bottom of a fire-retardant throw pillow?

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