For 3rd time in as many years, I’ve had to change my email signature.
For over two years, I had “Heb Dduw heb ddim, Duw a digon” as part of my signature. This is Welsh for “Without God without anything, God is enough.” Which is truly how I feel.
During that period, no one questioned my signature… Until one day, when a highly placed individual apparently googled it.
And was offended. Because it referenced God. (In Welsh).
I was told it violated the establishment clause (separation of church and state, that I couldn’t advocate a religion).
Interestingly, it seems to me that while my signature referenced God, it didn’t specify which god (though if you’ve read this blog for any length if time, or if you know me, you know exactly which God I take that phrase to mean).
So, in reality, the offended individual was actually offended by their own interpretation of the quote, rather than its implicit meaning. They took it to mean the Christian God, and were thus offended that I was advocating religion via a business email system. When really all I was doing was expressing how I felt about life (and believe me I see plenty of quotes from peers in other areas that express their various world views).
Why does it always seem that the first part of the establishment clause (“congress shall make no law…”) trumps the second part (“nor prohibit the free exercise thereof”)?
The irony here is that there are a great number of states–such as Arizona (“Ditat Deus,” “God enriches”) for instance–that reference God in their official mottoes. In fact, our (American) society is replete with references to God; such as:
“In God we trust.” (On the back of our currency).
“… One nation, under God.” (The pledge of allegiance).
There are certainly others. What I don’t understand is why people think these things–referencing a non-specific God–are necessarily advocating a particular religion? What if the slogan on our currency read “In Jesus we trust?”
(There would be great number of Americans who would feel slighted, cheated, unrepresented by what is clearly a reference to the Christian God (Whom I believe in, love, and serve). Thus, it seems to me that the founding fathers were wise to settle on the word “God” for use on our currency. (The poor atheists are just going to have live with it, I’m afraid). They at least understood what it meant to live as Christians in a pluralistic society.
It seems that these days lip service is paid to “tolerance”–as long as one’s views align with the prevailing trends).
Being the introvert that I am, none of these things occurred me until later (when I had time to reflect). So I changed my signature to reflect only name and contact information. Name, rank, serial number. Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am.
Stupid as it may sound, I felt like I was giving away a piece of my soul. Give me art, give me poetry, give me a little scrap somewhere that shows I’m not just a cog in the behemoth of industry!
Sometime later, we underwent a rebranding, and I updated my signature to reflect our new organizational structure in a very slightly humorous, but accurate way.
No one had a problem with it–indeed all I received was positive feedback–until this morning.
So I’ve had to change it yet again…
The homogenous nature of the cubicle culture is such a drag, you know? There is very little room for the individual–and very little tolerance, either.
Which makes me thankful that I have this blog–I think I would go crazy otherwise.
People speak of cookie-cutter Christians. Well, I’m here to tell you that church ain’t got nothing on corporate culture!
Care to share any tales of soul-numbing conformity? The comments are open. This is a safe place.