Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Religion - And how it rubs me the wrong way

Don't get me wrong. I try not to judge people's religious beliefs. In fact, it's very easy not to care about who someone's god is, or which book they base their lives on, or how they praise and worship. It's like the whole idea of who's sleeping with who. It's intimate and private. And for the most part, it doesn't interest me.

So I was very infuriated, when for the second time, and I mean, the SECOND time, someone asked me to accommodate a client to my therapy program, because, according to that nincompoop who came up to me, they belonged to the same church. It made me want to hit someone, something, anything.

It all felt real cheap. In my book, people who think they deserve to get special favors are nothing but morons. Specially if they think telling me that they belong to this particular religious ministry would make me quake in the knees and drop down to kiss their asses.

I provide my services to all kinds of people. Young, old. Male, female. Gay, straight. Roman Catholic Christians, Protestant Christians, Muslims. Genuinely nice clients, really annoying condescending clients. Clients who pay, clients who pay half of the fee, clients who can't pay.

From the very start, my basis for client accommodation has been the first-come first-served scheduling. It works, because it's fair.

So to have somebody come up to me, and ask me to accept someone into the program because they share the same unbelief at making the sign of the cross, or because they sing the same hymns, regardless of the fact that they're at the bottom of the schedule list, just makes me want to cry out something significantly loud and profane.

This brings me back to my second year in college when for a project in Audiology we had to make our own vocal play books. Vocal play books, easily enough, are books used to teach and elicit sounds. I remember devoting a page of my vocal play book to a cackling witch. A. Because I just love witches, and B. Because witches can make really high-pitched sounds when they cackle. I was pretty proud of my book, primarily because I'm not artistic and so to be able to finish something even as infantile as a play book was a big deal. But I guess that pride was cruelly crushed when the instructor, during my book presentation, called me out for putting a witch on my book. She said it was offensive. I didn't really believe then, that I would offend a four year old kid for showing her a cackling witch on her broomstick. If anything, I think she'll probably just comment on how it was a pretty terrible drawing. The instructor said I had to be more sensitive about people's religious beliefs and cultures. To say that I hated her for calling me out and pretty much embarrassing me in front of my future colleagues, would be an exaggeration. But I have to say, that ever since that incident, I never took her seriously again. After all, how can you ever take someone seriously after she lambasted you for having an imagination?

I may sound like someone with a grudge, and I wouldn't even parry that description. For all I know, that is true.

But now that I am reminded why she was so disagreeable to my witch, because as she tried to explain it, I wasn't being sensitive towards people of different religion and culture, I start to wonder why she didn't call out the students who presented talking pigs and cows in their books. Cows are sacred in India. Some Hindu households have cows and these cows have names, addressed with respect and treated as members of the family. And of course, how can anyone forget about the infamous pigs? Pigs are haraam in the Islam culture. Muslims are prohibited to eat pork or even touch their carcass. In fact, a toy company even had to take out the pig from their farm animals toy set, fearful that it would offend Muslim customers.

Unfortunately for me, the instructor was only offended by my witch. She probably had no idea that things like Hindu and Islamic cultures exist and that the snorting sound of a drawn pig, or the moo-ing of a cow might actually do bigger damage.

Times like this I regret that I wasn't brave enough to give authority figures a piece of my mind back when I was younger, specially now that I'm aware of how some of them might not have even owned a mind of their own. I guess I'm a late bloomer.

All this comes down to, is that in my profession, nobody's going to get precedence just because he believes in god, or doesn't.

And I don't care if it gives me hell.


  1. You're awfully active lately; whereas, I'm in hiatus.

    Favors are intrinsic in Filipino, but for those of us who are exposed to the world at large, the utang-na-loob system becomes a bane and a pain-in-the-ass. Oh, little favors are nothing, sure, we could accommodate that; but, if they involve a bigger picture then that's where the problems are.

    It also really ticks me off.

    As for your former instructor - she's ignorant and stupid.

  2. January is like, my whining month. Hahaha!