{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "So, I declined to attend the holiday party at work and I explained my reasoning to ONE co-worker. (I'm a Christian but don't celebrate Xmas because I believe it's rooted in paganism.) I guess word spread because this morning, someone forwarded me an email from an angry colleague saying that I don't understand the Bible and I shouldn't claim to be Christian...should I report it to HR? I feel conflicted because I don't want to cause further trouble and get the person who sent it to me involved", "post_id": "61c3856c45b0e7003dec7b8b", "reply_count": 129, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "55375ce690f5eebe1d2a0f88", "bowl_name": "Tech", "feed_type": "crowd" }
null

So, I declined to attend the holiday party at work and I explained my reasoning to ONE co-worker. (I'm a Christian but don't celebrate Xmas because I believe it's rooted in paganism.) I guess word spread because this morning, someone forwarded me an email from an angry colleague saying that I don't understand the Bible and I shouldn't claim to be Christian...should I report it to HR? I feel conflicted because I don't want to cause further trouble and get the person who sent it to me involved

likefunny
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I genuinely understand your sentiment. However, let me tell you a secret. Realize when you’re invited to the holiday party, it is etiquette to either decline and say that you will be out of town, have conflicting obligations, or something of that sort (Short and concise is better). However, if you don’t have a valid excuse or perceived logical excuse (Perception is reality), it is always advised to drop in for 30-45mins. So you go in and introduce yourself to your colleagues (a few, not all), your manager, and the next level above your manager.

See your promotion and career at a certain point, if performance is up to par, are based on relationships. If you learn and apply this early, your career will benefit. However, If you don’t, your career will suffer. Oh, another thing, never say anything to a coworker you do not want to be repeated; if he or she does not like you, he or she can ruin your career with a sentence. (Politics, religious discussions, Etc at work will take you down faster than the Titanic. Avoid them!!!)

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WOW, I'm so surprised at the comments in this thread. Holiday parties should never be mandatory and if you're uncomfortable going then that should be 100% ok. Does that mean people will look at you like you're a party pooper or don't want to be part of the team? Maybe, but you shouldn't have to disregard your principles for a work get together. If you're performing well and aren't being a day to day nuisance to those with different beliefs then you're not doing anything wrong.

I may be off base, but is there a chance it's not just this one instance? If you adhere so strongly to your beliefs that you don't want to show up to a holiday party, it isn't a stretch to think that those beliefs play a role at the office on the day to day as well. If you aren't going around preaching, judging, or otherwise putting people off with your beliefs then there shouldn't be a problem.

As for the email. That is definitely not ok no matter what. If you just want the dust to settle then save it for future reference if needed and try to move on. Hopefully it's died down now that the party is over.

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Lol the Hindus, Jews, and Muslims go to the holiday party. As we non Christians have figured out, the holiday party is an excuse to eat and drink with colleagues. The manager was out of line but you seem really exhausting.

likefunny

I thought the original question that OP posted was whether or not they should escalate this to HR. I see a lot of people responded about their religious belief but I didn't see any answers to the actual question.

And for those who say that they've never met a Christian that didn't celebrate Christmas, I was raised in a church that taught that the way Christmas is celebrated is a pagan tradition per the Bible and Christmas trees weren't allowed. Because you've never experienced something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

OP, I would honestly keep this to yourself for now along with your opinions going forward since you have an understanding of the environment that you work in. That's my advice on your actual question. Good luck to you.

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Okay so. Here's my deal. Yes, I'm a Christian. Do I go out of my way to point this out? No. Do I care what religion anybody else is? No. Do I think Christmas is based on paganism. Yes. Do I care? No. Because so is Easter. Our culture has turned these holy days into something completely different. But...Do I want to have fun at the Holiday party? You bet. You shared with one friend and now there's gossip. That's hurtful. Your manager was cruel. That is unprofessional. Should you go to HR? It depends. You probably have a case for religious discrimination. If not that, you were bullied and/or harassed. If it were me, I would maybe point this out to my manager but not go to HR unless the bullying continues. You're entitled to your beliefs and a workplace free of discriminanation and harassment. In the future, chose your friends wisely.

likesmarthelpful

Lol @hedonist pagan. I can't even be mad at that one. Thanks for your insight @U1

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I mean - I thought Christianity was founded on not understanding the Bible . That’s the whole reason for the need to have weekly meetings about it isn’t it?

funnylike

You rock! And I thought I had smart retorts!

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Do not report to HR. Someone expressing that they disagree with your personal views should not come off as "angry colleague"; they simply do not look at Christmas the same way you do. Do not be so sensitive to people's response to your opinion. Just don't engage in further conversations about it. Let it go. (If you have an unpopular opinion, prepare for backlash. I'm giving this tip because I am always the person with unique views and I question everyone and their opinions.)

likehelpful

I think this type of topic has sensitivity and the reaction of others that can be unwarranted compared to what you said is out of line. BUT, be mindful that the 'line' of expressing your beliefs in a way where it could offend or come off as overbearing also creates sensitivity in others.

All in all Christmas has NOTHING to do with the company Holiday party! This fact should diffuse this discussion when looked at from an activity perspective.

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How could you report someone for voicing their religious views when you did the exact same thing initially? Like what

I don’t blame people for telling their work friends about this. Should they have kept it confidential? Maybe, probably. But yours is a notably strange opinion, I can see why people wanted to share it with others

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There's a difference between stating your personal belief system and then telling someone else they are wrong for not sharing the same system. The OP just said, "I'm opting out because this is against my religion", but didn't actually criticize or condemn anyone for attending the party. The responder DID criticize and ridicule the OPs personal beliefs and was rather forceful about their own. There's a big difference here. Folks are allowed to believe what they believe without actively being jerks and putting down one another.

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Wow, religious people judging how religious one is over another. It’s just ridiculous. Most Christian holidays are rooted in paganism. You and your co worker need to lighten up. You can go to heaven without being so strict.

Personally if I was you I would have avoided the whole thing by saying you had another event the same night, (spouses party the same night, kids have some kind of thing, there’s plenty of understandable excuses.)

You chose to express your religious beliefs and others are expressing theirs. It all comes across very judge-y. It’s a holiday party not a Christmas party, there are plenty of holidays all around this time.

Go ahead and report them to HR, it’s just going to have HR see you as a pot stirrer. If the coworkers think you are crazy now, just wait until you go Karen on them with HR. That will gain you so much since you come across so righteous.

likefunny

Did you read any of the other posts? Serious question because I never once judged other people for celebrating Christmas. It's been five years that I've declined to attend this party and I've never once told people why. This is the first time and I only told someone I thought was a friend because she was "genuinely" curious. Please get your facts straight before you come at me.

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Your work holiday party should be non-denominational though, right?

Can you not just celebrate the end of the year with your coworkers? Are they asking you to dance around a Maypole and worship Odin? Good lord (pun intended) y’all can be so exhausting and ridiculous about the most trivial things. I’m an atheist who believes religion is one of the worst traits of humanity, but I can still be in a room with a holiday tree without engaging in histrionics.

To your original question, though: yes, you should report that e-mail to HR. It’s *really close* to illegal behavior and wildly inappropriate for the workplace.

The person who sent it to you is already involved, and if this mail was sent/stored on company servers then the company has legal exposure they need to address ASAP — someone criticizing a coworker’s religious views via company e-mail is a 5-alarm legal fire.

likehelpful

Okay thanks @Cerner healthcare

As someone previously said, you sound exhausting.

likefunny

Just an FYI, she is a manager and I wanted to report her because she shouldn't be allowed to flaunt her authority like this.

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If you were a true Christian you would not refer to Christmas as xmas so I say just keep your thoughts to yourself. Christ - is the key part of the word Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season. I am not judging at all. Just giving you a perspective I do not feel you realize. If I am wring and you are a God fearing person then let Him deal with the situation and lay all your cares upon him.

That’s a weird thing to announce at work. It’s a really Christian thing to do to call something someone else does pagan or rooted in the devil and then get mad when there are consequences for you. No one wants to hear your Christian opinions about how people are satanic in the workplace. Keep it to yourself. (Ps, I’m formerly Christian— and now agnostic)

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You can’t expect to say weird stuff like that and for it to stay private.

likehelpful

As long as the email didn't threaten you with physical harm and that's the only example forget it for now. Also if you don't have to work with that person and he/she doesn't make personnel decisions affecting you directly then maybe let it go for now. But keep a copy of the email just in case you need documentation.

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Everyone holds leadership to some unspoken, untold standard that is unique to each person viewing them. "Fairness" to be in a management position really doesn't exist because it's subjective. This managers' ability to perform the job expectation is not exclusively tied to being a good person, however you define good.

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If you think this has potential to snowball into something that impacts you professionally- yes, report to HR to begin creating a paper trail. If not, just let it go but save the email.

likesmart

Yeah, I would save the email at a minimum. It does sound like it's more of a personal attack rather than a simple differing of opinion.

Welp.....the most important rule. You don't discuss your religious beliefs at work. Most company handbooks exclusively say this. So technically neither of you are in the right. You also don't need to give a reason why you don't want to attend something outside of work. I'm a black female. But at work I don't know what BLM is, I don't know what feminism is, I don't know who is president. Or vice president. I don't even know why I wear a cross around my neck. I know absolutely nothing! Outside of work I have my beliefs. I attend church, I know who I voted for and I know what I believe. Get the picture?

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You're right, Christmas is rooted in paganism, and most of Christianity is!

likesmarthelpful

As a fellow Believer who is very open about my faith being a core part of me, I understand the sentiment, but my view is there are much larger battles to fight around equity, justice, integrity at work. Keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, definitely track it. “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:13)

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perhaps it’s not your place to try and find justice in a petty workplace squabble.

“beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of god, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the lord.’” (romans 12:19)

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God is a woman. 🎤

upliftinglikefunny

Flagging it to her before reporting would be wise. Amiably make clear you do not want to discuss religious matter in a work setting, and ask her to agree to disagree. She will need to stop engaging you in religious discussions in that case. I am also getting the feeling she has not been respectful in her language and you can point that out as well. Factually you are probably correct in the sense that the holiday is rooted in the pagan festival of Yule, but opinions definitely defer and I’m sure you know how many people got killed for the date of Easter. Last thing any company want to get into is a religious conflict. If she keeps doing it report to HR. You will likely not be able to live well in the future if she is above you and that angry with you anyways in the case she doesn’t stop.

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Thanks FDE1, that makes a lot of sense. She's not the amicable type though which makes it difficult to even consider a conversation.

I find it interesting that you would bother to give a reason for not attending a holiday party. Sadly since you put the reason out there to be heard, people do judge. The email that was forwarded to you was not addressed TO you, nor is there anything wrong with that person expressing their opinion. This isn't an HR issue, this is a personal issue in which you appear to have been offended by someone having an opinion about your beliefs.

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Bringing any talk about religion into the workplace and you’re asking for trouble. If you felt so strongly about your position on the matter and felt like declining attendance was necessary, then you should have declined for a more generic reason. Declining for that reason is bound to get a response from someone.
Also, it sounds like the coworker forwarded you that email without the knowledge of the sender… that’s fueling the flames.
There are obviously other dynamics involved in your workplace so I’m not going to advise on what you should do now but I would advise in future to keep religious discussions out of the workplace (including your reason for declining the Christmas party).
PS I’m Jewish and I still attended our offices Christmas party. In addition to celebrating Hanukkah, I also put up a tree and stockings, do presents, etc. Despite the holiday’s pagan roots (which there are historical reasons for…) today the holiday is about family, friends, giving and togetherness.

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