Diversity is not the goal

I like to think I am a tolerant person. But sometimes, I think I am just kidding myself.

Why I signed up to teach at a Christian School, I thought I would have the mild annoyance, but that, for the most part, I would barely even notice, especially at a school that advertises itself as religious diverse. I thought, “It may be a Christian School, but they teach Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains and Buddhists and Agnostics and Atheists. So, no big deal”

I was wrong.

My own religious journey is long and convoluted, and I will not bore you with it now. But the end part is that I am not a fan of organized religion, I think spirituality is important, I think there is something up there, and I enjoy the intellectual pursuit of a higher power, though I don’t go in for faith, including faith in the certainty that there is no God at all. I have studied religions, have read most religious texts cover to cover several times, and occasionally envy those who find belief obtainable.

But the back-handed proselytization that seems to be rampant in the school drives me insane. The chapels where the Christian students explain why Christianity is awesome, when none of the other students are given a forum to speak. The thrice-weekly assemblies where a Christian student or faculty member stands up and says, “I am not trying to convert anyone, but Christianity is awesome and you are missing out.” The Religious Education classes where the children are taught all about Christianity and ignore all other viewpoints.

At our Monday faculty meeting, the Principal was forced to quell a rebellion against the religious members of staff who think we are not doing enough to convert the heathens. He led us in Church hymns, and gave a pictorial journey of his Christian faith, and then mentioned that 109 of the 158 faculty members identify as Christian. The fact that a person believes converting people should be a condition of a first rate education strikes me as hypocritical, vile and morally wrong.

This is not everyone, of course. There are some lovely people here. I think they do not realize how hard they push and how offensive the proselytizing is to the non-Christian, although most of the non-Christian students just shrug it off, so it may be just the people who gave Christianity a shot and politely declined.

I love the kids here, and meeting so many people from so many races and creeds (and religions) has been the best part of this adventure. And it gets spoiled when I am asked to look at this incredible diversity and reject it in favor of religious assimilation. I prefer my diversity diverse.

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About the Author

I moved to India. I mean, why the hell not, right?