Should an Atheist Take the Christian Job? February 10, 2010

Should an Atheist Take the Christian Job?

A reader — let’s call her Atheist Amy — has been out of work for a while. She’s two months past due on her mortgage, so it’s important she find work quickly.

Turns out she has a lead on a well-paying job. She even has an interview coming up!

… But it’s with a fundamentalist Christian group.

Their job posting was seeking devoted Christians and I stuck some “Praise Jesus” in my cover letter, just to get my foot in the door. I did get an interview. But now I’m worried. I don’t know how I would be able to keep that up every day, if I should be fortunate enough to land the job…

You could call her a hypocrite if she worked there, but frankly, I understand how the immediate need for the money would trump any personal qualms about what the job represents.

Let’s assume for the time being that Amy can get the job — she passes as a “devoted Christian” and isn’t caught being all heathen-y.

What would you advise her to do?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Siobhan

    Keep her head down, work hard, try to avoid talking too much about Jesus if possible, but still be a good, decent person and KEEP LOOKING FOR ANOTHER JOB!

  • Derek

    Personally, I’d have difficulty being okay with passing myself off as something I’m not. I’d have to be honest about it.

    Though I really have a problem with a company looking only for “devoted Christians”. Unless the position was “pastor”, “youth minister” or something else requiring direct ministry in a church…that I could understand, I suppose.

    Cheers and Excelsior

  • Jim H

    Siobhan has it right. If you need the work, take ANY work, but keep looking for another job.

    Actors (when they are working in their chosen profession) are continually passing themselves off as something they are not. And guess what? When not acting, they do something else! Anything to keep “putting food on your family,” as an ex-President once said.

  • StarScream

    I say go for it. If I were in the same situation, I’d love the irony and cherish the chance for anthropological observation.

    But, as others have said, do keep looking for other opportunities. Working there for more than a year or so would be…well working in a moronic environment.

  • DrMatt

    Any group that is sincerely seeking a true-believer will want a pastor’s recommendation. Some even want to see the annual tithe statement. If this employer does not check for a church home, they probably are not really looking for a devout Christian, but just a nice person.

    I would keep my head down, if I got the job, and keep my resume circulating.

  • I’m interested in the nature of the work. I’m pretty sure that if it isn’t for a recognized church or religious charity, they can’t refuse employment on the basis of religious beliefs. I may be wrong.

  • Brian

    Take the job. Pay your mortgage. Keep looking.

  • Peregrine

    For now, think about it this way: you have to be offered the job before you have the problem of whether or not to take it.

    I used to work a job in tech support with a “small sales component” that gradually became a larger and larger sales component. I wasn’t required to lie, or do very much that was questionable, at least not at first. But I still didn’t feel very comfortable with it.

    There’s an acting component to just about any job, especially something public facing like customer service. You have to play the role.

    I suppose it depends on what you’re doing. If it’s just clerical, or data entry, or helping the poor while going light on the proselytizing, (or even conveniently forgetting to proselytize, or just not being very good at it, if there isn’t very much supervision) that’s easy enough.

    But if it’s something you’re philosophically opposed to, like promotional work for focusing on the patriarchy, I can’t imagine doing that day after day.

    We all play the role. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to play the role you want, other times you have no choice but to play the role you’re given.

  • I don’t know about the States (I suppose she’s applying for a job in the States) but I live in Sweden and I can tell you that a job posting like that wouldn’t even be legal over here. What’s more, once you get the job you can very well say you’re an atheist because they can’t fire you on religious grounds (or sex, or race, or political etc.)

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    You’re not a hypocrite. You’re a spy going under cover to expose the dirty little secrets of Christian Fundamentalists. If it just so happens that you never find any, and happen to earn a living while doing so, well cest’la vie.

  • Fiyenyaa

    Take their money.
    Their Christian employees will be spending alot of it on giving to Churches or tithing – you can use it for whatever the hell you want.

  • Aj

    Take the job, it’ll just be taken by someone else if you don’t. It’s not as if you’re not going to be lying to yourself working for a faceless malevolent corporation. Don’t get caught, you’ll either have to explain a gap in your employment or have a bad reference. You may get the opportunity to leak information in the future, that’s right, you may get to be a secret agent. Donate to a charity that fights for secularism, it’ll be like a 21st century indulgence.

  • Geoffrey Alexander

    Were I in her shoes, my qualms wouldn’t be as much about misrepresenting myself as much as finding myself supporting or assisting an organization in promoting things I’m opposed to. If my situation was dire however and I could measure the issue as a trade-off for the short term (keep looking, as the others here have said) I could see that coming out even.

    As for deceiving these people as to your true beliefs, I hate to say I agree with the others, we have to consider the nature of the people you would be deceiving here; are they such as would be deserving of your candor? Interesting question, isn’t it.

    Lastly, imaging the situation reversed; a conservative christian in need of a job comes to an atheist organization I may be hiring for. I assume from her representations (and the very fact she’s applying) that she is in consonance with the organization’s goals. Now, is it necvessary for her to be so, in order to be an effective employee? Would I care, unless on the sly she used her position to undermine the organization’s goals? Notwithstanding that an atheist organization might view these issues differently than a fundamentalist christian one, I think it’s profitable to consider it from that perspective as well.

  • Ron in Houston

    Geez, talk about being stuck between the proverbial rock and the hard place.

    I guess it could be an interesting educational experience…

  • Stephanie

    Personally, I wouldn’t be able to stomach doing that job. However, she should do whatever she needs to do in order to survive. People would be surprised just how many Atheists there are working in churches across the U.S. There are many pastors, preachers, and priests who are atheists who can’t quit their jobs because they know nothing else. It’s a sad situation to be in.

  • bmg61

    I would say “bury your head in work. It will look good and keep you out of too many god conversations. At the same time, document any evidence of discrimination or corruption or illegal behavior, even copyright infringement or, hell, jaywalking. Meanwhile find another job and then screw them with the evidence on your way out the door. Better their money goes to you than another christian.

  • Karen

    Well, starting a job deceiving an employer and co-workers is more than a little troubling. And frankly, deceiving yourself because you’re going against the fundamentals of what you know as right. Who could live comfortably in a situation like that? I would first question Amy’s real motivations about applying for the job in the first place (sorry, it sounds like some serious psychological underpinnings to be worked out) and also her understanding of “atheism” (Sorry we don’t have a “judge not” rule.). And I would say keep looking.

    Now, if she is invited to work for them with the understanding that she is an unbeliever, I’d say take the job and we’ll watch eagerly for Amy to change her religious status on Facebook in the near future :).

  • The Other Tom

    I would consider that if you take the job, money will be passing directly out of the bank accounts of fundamentalist christians into the bank accounts of atheists, which would seem to me to be a good thing.

    I suppose I’d take the job but keep looking for other work.

  • Carlie

    I don’t know. In a lot of ways it depends on your own level of comfort with Christianity. If you’re an “eh, whatever” atheist, it might not be much of a problem. If you’re an ex-Christian with a lot of bitterness, it won’t be tolerable. I think the job itself has a lot to do with it, too – is it a technical job of some kind that doesn’t require belief in their religion (they just want someone of the same mindset as them), or is it directly related to proselytizing and counseling people about that religion? If the former you could probably manage, if the latter, not so much.

  • Wendy

    I’m doing that now. It’s a finance company that uses religion (albeit not subtle) in their practices. I’m not out in the field though so I can ignore it for the most part. After eight months looking for a job, I took it and I’d do it again.

    I would be interested in what specific work she’s doing. As a PP noted, if it was recruiting or something, it’d be hard. But if it’s something where she can put her head down, ignore it and just work…well you gotta do what you gotta do.

    And keep your resume out there!!!

  • Amanda Collins

    I had this situation too. I interviewed and was hired at a Christian university. Against my husband’s and my beliefs, I took the job. I lasted less than a month and was miserable. I felt closeted and like a poser, and most of them were hypocrites. The organization was also poorly run. Luckily, one of the other places I had applied called, and I moved on. Paying bills is important, but my feel is you’ll want to leave ASAP.

  • Ron in Houston

    Where’s Richard? If she takes this job I suspect he’s going to be a busy fellow.

  • Potco

    Take the job and keep looking for a new one to try leave as soon as possible.

  • THegoodman

    Take the job. Atheists have as much right to Christian money as Christians do.

    I assume this is some sort of technical, financial, or administrative job; being an atheist will not hinder her ability to do the job well and in some cases even allow her to do it better. She will have an “interesting” outlook on life compared to her coworkers and might be especially good at her job due to her religious alignment and a mindset different than that of her coworkers.

  • Derek

    Guess I could have mentioned that I actually run a Christian Bookstore. I never require an employee to be Christian, but I do require all of my employees to be familiar with the material. They do a lousy job helping customers if they don’t know it.

    Also, as an employer, if I did find that an employee consciously lied about anything during the hiring process I would fire them on the spot. All of my employees work with money, I need to be able to trust them.

    The actor analogy doesn’t hold up very well with me. An actor’s employer is hiring them specifically to play that role, with the knowledge that it is indeed a role. It’s not the same as consciously deceiving people to get a job.

    There are always choices. And there are actually plenty of jobs out there. It’s just a matter of taking them. Before I managed to get this store up and running, I did what I had to do to provide for my family…I took a number of minimum and low-wage, part-time jobs. Yes, I worked anywhere from 60-80 hours a week in jobs that I didn’t enjoy. I won’t say that it didn’t suck, but it’s doable. I have friends that are doing it right now. Incidentally, the restaurants and stores they work with are actually hiring at the moment.

    Cheers and Excelsior!


    I’m still in college and without a job, so take this advice for what it’s worth.

    On one hand, you need a job.
    On the other hand, you’re applying for a job under false pretenses.

    I do not know how good these people are at detecting the non-religious, but you’ll be in a lot of trouble if they for some reason figure you out. When future employers ask you why you left (or got fired), it will be extraordinarily difficult to make that reason not look negative.

  • Yeah, I don’t blame her. If you need a job, then you sometimes have to take whatever you can get at the moment. Just keep your head down and look for another job as soon as possible.

    I do commend you if you can keep it together, I hope I am never in that situation because I’m not sure that I could. It makes my skin crawl just to be anywhere near a church.

    Good luck, and hopefully you will come across a new job that will allow you to walk the f*#k out on the fundie job asap.

    Good luck 🙂

  • Flah

    A job is a job. I would question why this would even come up as part of the employment process unless it was directly related to religion, in which case you might be a bad fit altogether. But do what it takes to pay your bills.

    From my personal past, working in a secular position with people who can’t refrain from dropping their religion into every sentence is a teeth-grinding drag. I get it. You’re a Xian. Now do your frakking job.

  • JulietEcho

    It’s tough out there right now. My boyfriend had to look for 11 months before he finally got a job in his field. So long as this job isn’t something that requires proselytizing or frequent lying, I think Amy should go for it and just look for another job while she’s working. Putting food on the table and staying out of serious debt would make it worth it.

    If this is a job that isn’t funded by church money – i.e. if this is a position at a business that isn’t tax-exempt because of its religious status – their discrimination against non-Christians is illegal and unethical anyway, so I would have no qualms faking my way in. And there are definitely plenty of businesses like that out there, and shame on them for discriminating *especially* during a time when people are having a hard time finding jobs.

  • Heidi

    I couldn’t lie even if I wanted to. The minute they started preaching it would be written all over my face, and I would get fired. So ethics aside for a second, how good of a liar is she? Can she live the lie?

    And I agree with Derek about the acting analogy. Unless they’re getting jobs by claiming to be able to pilot a spaceship or fight aliens, it’s just not comparable.

    Can she find another job? Is this one just handy, or is it really all there is? I know there are parts of the US where even McDonald’s isn’t hiring, so the local employment situation will have to factor into her decision.

  • Ally

    Steal the job. Personally, I’d only take it in hard times just to mess with people. I agree that you should keep looking, but if it makes you do work that blatantly contradicts your values (like if there’s a work party protesting Planned Parenthood or something), quit. If it’s something more grin-and-bearable, it’s probably worth the money in this economy.

  • SoonerHumanist

    I look at it this way: the Church has spent the last (approximately) 2,000 years fleecing people for money, right? What is the moral disgrace in taking advantage of them for a short while? Turnabout is fair play, and all that.

    She should take the job, catch up on her mortgage, and after she’s out of the deep end, look for another job from a stable launching platform rather than from a precarious perch.

  • Ann

    I’m an atheist who works for a church. My situation is a little different because I wasn’t an atheist when I took the job. My “backstage pass” to the church made me lose my religion. And this church is very liberal and progressive. I have come out as an atheist (and lesbian) and they’re ok with that. I think they actually like it – makes them feel extra uber liberal. I do struggle with the hypocrisy of it, but it’s a job and there aren’t a lot of those around. If I find a better one, I’m out of here. So I’d tell her it won’t be easy, but just keep your head down and, if it’s horrible, keep looking for another job.

  • You can always be a true believer when you walk out the door in the morning and stop being one each day when you walk back in your house. Belief is funny like that. It wouldn’t be like you were lying about any behavior that you actually did. Just thoughts.

  • pyvsi

    I vote for taking the job. The Christians shouldn’t be bothered with one more “hypocrite” in their midst. No, not all Christians are hypocrites, but in my experience hypocrites are the majority.
    I think she should do well on the job, treat people with respect and compassion, and count how many times people declare they see the “light of Christ” and the “Holy Spirit” at work in her, just for laughs. Once she’s moved on to a different job, let the Christian work people know what’s up – she bore all the “fruits of the Spirit” without the Spirit at all. What a concept!

  • Derek

    Hmm, I just re-read the post. Somehow, I totally missed the “behind 2 months in mortgage part.” Admittedly, that does change things a little as far as jobs that she could find that she would need to take care of that. The lower paying jobs that are available may not handle it, even with several.

    But, I’d still have to be up front with them. If they insisted on discriminating on basis of religion, then I’d simply smile and say, “Sweet, my lawyers should have a field day with this. I think I’m going to enjoy retirement.” =D

    Seriously though, I don’t know. Keep us informed if you can Hemant, I hope everything works out okay for her.

  • Claudia

    I’d vote for taking the job. Integrity is great, but a little short-term hypocrisy is forgivable to avoid homelessnes.

    Still, I worry for “Amy” in terms of how feasible it’s going to be for her to pretend to be a fundie, especially if she’s not a deconvert (an ex-fundie). Think of it this way; just how fast do you suppose we’d be able to spot a fake skeptic if we were working with them in a context relevant to our beliefs? Assuming they don’t want any data up front (what church do you belong to? Who’s your pastor? Can we have his number? What is your previous experience in Christian group, with references) that still leaves day to day activities in a context that sounds like religion is absolutely unavoidable.

    Try to get the job, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was found out (and fired) in very short order.

  • GawdofThunder

    Take the job, I know I would. It could be very amusing, and the source of many of interesting tales. Like someone said earlier, it’s just like acting. Be sure to report back on the craziness… And keep looking for something better.

  • If you are behind in your mortgage then any job will do. ANY job. Of course I’d rather do a job that didn’t involve deceiving an employer or lying about religion but then wouldn’t we all? If it were me then it would have to be short term though.

  • Nikki

    As long as the job does not entail doing anything that directly goes against your morals/ethics, and as long as you do not have to sign anything stating that you believe certain specific things, I’d say take it. If you just have to treat people with dignity and kindness (you know, the way christians always do) while you do your work, that should be a no-brainer. If you have to write tracts and organize missionary trips and protests against abortion, then that will be a lot more problematic.

    As long as you don’t actually have to sign anything stating that you are a christian, they legally you should be fine. A good friend of mine has a christian gymnastics school, but that’s just so she can get into the dozens of christian day care centers and elementary schools around town. I’ve worked for her before, and she is married to an atheist. She doesn’t care what you believe, she just wants you to do your job and do it well.

    BTW, depending on how they receive their funding and the type of organization they are, they can DEFINITELY discriminate on the basis of religion. Religious schools, churches, and certain other organizations can all make it mandatory that a certain percentage of their employees be a specific religion – and that certain positions be filled with people of a specific religion.

  • Justin

    It’s unfortunate that she has two obligations that are in conflict. She needs to make good on her promise to repay her debts, but also has a moral obligation to be honest.

    It wouldn’t be easy, but I would take the job. When you’re not sure what to do, do whatever harms you less.

  • littlejohn

    Mrs. littlejohn, at the age of 50, returned to college to earn her teaching license. Unfortuately, the quickest, least expensive program was at Indiana Wesleyan, a Methodist school that includes a lot of Bible-banging and professions of faith in every class. The missus is just as committed an atheist as I, but she somehow put up with it until she got her license. It didn’t kill her, and it’s opened up an entirely new field of job possibilities. I’m glad she did it, but I’m not sure I could have stood it.

  • Deiloh

    Work in a theist office isn’t much different than work anywhere else. Religion and polarizing issues rarely come up. If they do, fundamentalists vary in opinion as widely as any other group and Amy can disagree or agree as she feels. Unless she has a working knowledge of the religion, she may be at a disadvantage in debate but that should not prevent her from presenting logical and well reasoned statements or from asking pointed questions. And of course there is always the option of letting an issue go in the interest of keeping peace. Since Amy presented herself as a Christian she is in a sticky spot, she could lose respect and possibly her job. I would recommend that she stick with it in order to cover the bills but keep her resume polished and be ready to move where she can feel comfortable telling the truth.

  • Jason

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  • Take the job if you can get it. A few years ago my husband was out of work and found an ad for a maintenance man. However, the ad specifically stated that applicants MUST BE CHRISTIAN.

    I was disgusted and wrote to the job search site ASAP saying it was discriminatory. Yes, this was a christian school but can you imagine the fuss they would kick up if a private atheist organisation specifically stated that applicants (for a maintenance position no less!!!) MUST BE ATHEIST?

    If people ask about your church, youth groups et al. Just tell them you feel the spirit of christ within you and don’t need other people to pollute your relationship with HIM. (It’s not technically lying either)

  • santosh

    We all hate our jobs and lie in interview. There aren’t any CEO’s or presidents who got there jobs by telling the truth.
    don’t worry about lying, as long as you are getting paid.

  • Tgr

    “You could call her a hypocrite if she worked there, but frankly…”

    Not a hypocrite, but a liar, actually, as she would willfully deceive her employer. Of course, since she doesn’t subscribe to any religion, she is free to choose her system of ethics (or lack thereof); but I, for one, would value a honest Christian more than a dishonest atheist.

  • Thegoodman

    I know the consensus is “take the job” but another thing to point out is that while a Christian might abhorred at taking a job for an atheist company, atheists have no such code.

    The fact is that most companies in the US are founded by a religious person with their religious values instilled in that company. There isn’t anything most of us can do about that and most of us go on working for these companies despite disagreeing with their original mission statements (aside from the current PC mission statements).

    I’d be a pastor at an apostolic pentecostal church if it paid enough.

  • Richard P

    Consider it training for your new acting career.
    Do what you need to do to survive. Don’t hurt anyone. That’s all that matters.

    Hopefully it’s a job preaching, imagine the seeds you could plant, before they caught on and through you out….

  • I spent a month temping at World Vision and it was one of the worst jobs I’ve had. It wasn’t because of the weekly prayer meetings, though those were weird, but because my boss was inconsistent and misleading. She implied strongly that I would be offered a position and failed to give me an estimate of the length of the work. The gig lasted a month, but despite asking every other day I didn’t know when my last day would be until 2 pm on my last day.

    I don’t know if all Christian workplaces would be like that, but it burned me on trusting Christians to be professional.

  • There is another very serious consideration here. Amy says that this is a fundamentalist christian organization. I don’t know about other places in the country but around here, the fundamentalist churches are notorious for promising wages and paying in prayer. They have problems paying their bills, especially to their employees.

    And the NLRB won’t touch complaints about it.

    Before seriously considering taking it, I’d check to see how their record of paying pans out.

  • Derek

    Tgr Says:
    ((“You could call her a hypocrite if she worked there, but frankly…”

    Not a hypocrite, but a liar, actually, as she would willfully deceive her employer. Of course, since she doesn’t subscribe to any religion, she is free to choose her system of ethics (or lack thereof); but I, for one, would value a honest Christian more than a dishonest atheist.))

    Just rather felt I should provide the flip-side of this statement. As a Christian business owner, I would value an honest atheist more than a dishonest Christian.

    Cheers and Excelsior!

  • En Passant

    I perceive a significant difference between lying to get a job and conveniently omitting details to get a job. When the church in which I grew up offered me a part-time job, I leapt at the opportunity. They never asked me if I still believed in their religion (though I hadn’t been to a service in about five years) and my job did not require me to do anything that contradicted my beliefs. If it had ever come down to a personal conflict, where they put me in a position of choosing the job or my integrity… it’s hard to say for sure, but I think I could have lived without that job more than without my integrity. Good luck to Atheist Amy, whichever option you choose!

  • Justin C

    I would say defiantly take the job. And instead of going to church still be looking at other job offerings.

    We ridicule the devoutly religious for letting religion govern their lives– Yet we let denial of religion govern ours.

    I have stopped thinking of myself as atheist and started thinking of myself as areligious. Atheism implies an active denial of god. I just don’t care if god exists.

  • CatBallou

    I’m astonished at the number of people here who are urging hypocrisy and dishonesty. Where’s all the “you can be good without god” talk? And in what possible sense is “turnabout is fair play” a moral statement?
    If an immediate need for money is allowed to trump “personal qualms about what a job represents,” where does one draw the line? If lying is OK, if taking money from “the enemy” is OK, why isn’t just stealing it from Christians OK? After all, their churches don’t pay taxes!
    We–and I mean everyone, not just atheists–can only consider ourselves to be ethical and principled if we base our behaviors on what we think is right, not on what we think other people “deserve.” That’s why it’s not OK to torture suspects, no matter what we think (or know) they’ve done.
    I don’t mean to draw a parallel between lying to get a job and torturing, but instead to say that abandoning your principles for gain is the same as not having any principles at all.

  • absent sway

    I wouldn’t recommend it. My hubby’s still a believer of sorts and refuses to work for Christians now because of numerous bad experiences with them taking him for granted, as if it was a church volunteer setting and not a professional setting. We have seen this scenario played out for a family friend employed by a church as well. Obviously this is just anecdotal but keep your eyes open for this kind of thing if you decide to go for it. I think it’s a poor idea, but sometimes desperate times…

  • DGKnipfer

    Take the job for now. keep looking for a better job.

  • JJR

    I have applied for librarian jobs at religious institutions but I draw the line at any employer who asks me to sign a declaration of faith or any such document; It has nothing to do with my ability to perform my professional job and is none of their business. If they would have me, I would be alright doing library cataloging or Reference work for a Catholic institution, say, or a Jewish private school. I would not deny my atheism but I wouldn’t draw attention to it either, nor would I censor myself in my library work to conform with dogma.

    It’s mostly evangelical Protestant institutions that are heavy on the whole “declaration of faith” signed pledge document thing…of which I tend to steer clear in any case.

    I basically throw down the gauntlet, which comes down to: “what do you want more, a skilled, competent library professional or someone who most closely conforms to your institution’s reigning ideology, their skill set being strictly a secondary consideration?”

    I can work for the former, I cannot work for the latter.

  • Per Edman

    Take it and then be the best, nicest, wisest damn employee they’ve ever had, before coming forward with the truth. (That being christian and being good is not covariant.)

  • littlejohn

    I think we may be throwing the word “dishonesty” around too much. Look at your own resume. Have you listed everything a potential employer might find offensive? Of course not. You’ve only listed those thing relevant to the job you’re seeking. Chairman of the Keg Committee at your college dorm may be what some of your friends remember you for, but your future boss doesn’t need to hear that.

  • Zarathustra

    Two things make this World go ’round….. Sex & Money. Take the job, but keep looking for something better! The bills must get paid, if you have no other choice right now, just avoid letting your true beliefs be known and take their money for a while.

  • Zarathustra

    While you’re at it…. maybe you can be a little subversive, and subtly spread a little doubt amongst the ‘believers’!!! I like doing that…

  • catherine

    I agree with everyone saying she should take the job, but also that she should try to find a different job as soon as she can.

    I was a Christian for enough years that I could probably fake it if I needed to. but I wouldn’t want to unless I absolutely had to.

  • Derek

    littlejohn Says:
    ((I think we may be throwing the word “dishonesty” around too much. Look at your own resume. Have you listed everything a potential employer might find offensive? Of course not. You’ve only listed those thing relevant to the job you’re seeking. Chairman of the Keg Committee at your college dorm may be what some of your friends remember you for, but your future boss doesn’t need to hear that.))

    I’m pretty sure the dishonesty talk has more to do with this part of the post:

    “Their job posting was seeking devoted Christians and I stuck some ‘Praise Jesus’ in my cover letter, just to get my foot in the door.”

    That doesn’t sound like just listing qualifications relevant to the job. It sounds like a conscious effort to mislead. Perhaps I’m mistaken (and I rather hope so), but I’m having difficulty reading it differently.

  • Staceyjw

    TAKE THE JOB, if offered. Don’t lose your house over philosophy.Keep looking for another job, of course.

    Lie if you have too. If they want a letter, say you homechurch and write it yourself, have a sympathetic friend sign it.I would be happy to give you a reference if needed 🙂 Your life is more important than lying about your religion. In this economy, you do what you have to if you want to stay afloat.


  • Donna

    Ask yourself this question — as you should be anyway since you haven’t been offered the job yet — what am I going to do if I don’t get this job? Then do it, hon, ’cause it ain’t worth selling who you are for.

    Like Cat, I am utterly amazed at the hypocrisy in the comments here. We brag we’re more honest etc. then encourage someone to be dishonest in getting a job.

    I guess it’s a matter of choosing what’s more important to you: material things or being true to yourself.

    But, hell, let’s stop pointing fingers at other people for being hypocrites then. We are no better than they.

  • Chubbles Lumpkin

    survive first.

    philosophy later.

    “But, hell, let’s stop pointing fingers at other people for being hypocrites then. We are no better than they.”

    who gives a damn about hypocrisy? I don’t.

  • I’ve worked in a church office before. For a short time, but still. It was protestant as far as having a female pastor, but that was the extent of it.

    I was wiccan at the time.

  • penn

    Take the job and pay the bills while you look for a new job. I don’t think there is any shame in doing what you have to get by as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else. No gets hurt if you say “Praise, Jesus!” and don’t mean it. If Amy came perform the job and it’s worth keeping her home to work in that environment then I say go for it.

  • A bit off topic here. Sorry about this.

    Per Edman…did you ever frequent the FIDO echo Holysmoke?

  • Eliza

    If they find her qualifications fit what they’re looking for, but they mistakenly assume that she’s Christian, so be it. Take the job (but keep looking on the side).

    But I definitely agree with some others above that she should not make a positive (false) claim that she’s Christian.

    “Praise Jesus” is interesting – it’s an imperative statement, directing the listener/reader to take some particular action. It implies, but does NOT literally state, that the speaker is Christian. It’s not actually a lie – these people probably do praise Jesus, repeatedly throughout each day. IMO it’d be different if she had claimed she was Christian, or if she were to do so during the interview.

    A relative of mine was hired by a Christian organization some years ago, & when asked about her religion simply said that she was raised Christian (which was true), leaving out any information about her current outlook or practices. Again, they leapt to an assumption & filled in the gaps & were happy with what they thought they heard. (That job has ended up being long term.)

  • She’s got to decide for herself how far she’s willing to compromise herself, and for what price. Does the courage of her convictions stop at paying the bills? For many, it does. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just an all too human thing. For the rare some of us, we take convictions over anything. She’s already shown that she’s willing to compromise her integrity by lying. So how much further is she willing to go?

  • Amy,

    Speaking as someone who is a two-faced hypocrite right now, do it only if you don’t care. If you care about your beliefs and your moral values, it’ll wear on you. You’ll have to constantly watch what you say, who you say it to, how much of your personal life trickles into your work…. You’ll need to be on your extra good behavior at work and away from work, since they’ll probably have you sign something about representing your work outside work. Living a double life is not easy, even if you’re getting good pay (and I am not).

    Can you work for a place that despises everything you are and do? Can you be the person that they want you to be, in everything except mind? Can you maintain that mental strain without breaking?

    I ask you all these things, not because I’m being dramatic, but because I can’t do these things. I’m still in the situation, but it is breaking me down, and I didn’t exactly have the healthiest brain to begin with.

    Split personality. Can you live with it?

    People tell me to keep looking for another job. I am. I’ve been looking for the last year and a half. It doesn’t look like anything is going to fall into my lap any time soon. Can you live with your decision for several years while you try to find something else?

  • Felicia

    I think all job applications involve some level of dishonesty. My employer just had me post a position to our website which required a number of specific, relevant qualifications, but also asked for “an innate love of troubleshooting.” How many people would really have classified themselves this way completely on their own and how many applicants are we going to get who will read this and adjust their resume to make it looks like they have this innate love? Furthermore, how honest is my employer being by asking for such a thing? Does it matter if a person loves it innately as long as they pursue problems efficiently to find solutions? I am very good at a number of tasks required by my job that I absolutely hate.

    It seems to me that what the employer is wanting is not really a believer, but just someone who isn’t going to be causing conflicts at work. That is a valid concern, although I disagree with their solution to it.

  • Wendy

    Take it. Money is money. If the fundies have no qualms about exploiting reality in the name of the almighty dollar, why should we? (Besides having the moral high ground…)

  • Richard Wade


    “Praise Jesus” is interesting – it’s an imperative statement, directing the listener/reader to take some particular action. It implies, but does NOT literally state, that the speaker is Christian. It’s not actually a lie – these people probably do praise Jesus, repeatedly throughout each day. IMO it’d be different if she had claimed she was Christian, or if she were to do so during the interview.

    Peppering her letters with “Praise Jesus” was a deliberate act, initiated by her, with the conscious intention to give a false impression, the conscious intention to deceive. So it’s a lie.

    Lying is one thing, but making curleycue rationalizations to say it’s not really lying is another. If you’re going to lie, at least be honest about it. 😉

    To be clear, I’m not condemning Amy for considering the job. Who am I to sit in judgment when I’m solvent, well fed and warm? There’s something about an empty belly and cold skin to shift our ethics from the principled side to the pragmatic side.

    Avoid lying as much as you can. If you really must, minimize the severity and the duration as much as you can. Clean up your act as soon as you can. Be forgiving of others. We don’t need any saints and we don’t need any self-appointed prosecutors. We need each other.

  • Martha

    We atheists are friendly to all religions and are capable of any job.

  • Jim

    I’ve made it my goal to avoid working with people who believe the Earth is only 6000 years old. Science and religion just don’t mix because the former is about gathering facts, to usually disprove theories, and the latter is mired in a belief system based on suspending reason and intellect – better known as faith. I don’t dislike religious people; however, I won’t even attempt to work somewhere that I could be discriminated against based on myth. Been there, done that.

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