The News-Sentinel asked: According to a recent survey, more than a third of Americans report that their religion has not been accommodated in the workplace, or they’ve witnessed religion not being properly accommodated. How should workers respond when they feel their beliefs are not being respected at work?
1. No one should force religion or faith upon another.
2. Everybody should consider the feelings of others.
3. Everybody should not make others feel uncomfortable.
4. Everybody should understand that everyone has different thoughts and faiths.
I was born and raised in Japan where the country is based on Buddhist culture and thought. Four years ago, I moved to the USA, where the country is based on Christian culture and thought. Even though I respect American culture and thought, it is sometimes difficult for me to understand these viewpoints. I need to understand and study American culture, Christianity and other Western religions. At the same time, I should let people know about my thoughts on Buddhism.
Nobody can make room in their mind listening to others when they think that they or their own religion has the only right viewpoint or that their religion is the only credible and respected religion in this world. Everyone should try to make some space in their mind to accept another’s thought.
Many different people work at any given place. There is not just one concrete form to resolve this issue. Employers and employees should sit down together and talk about this issue to find the way to express their religion so that no one feels excluded. There must be the way to not disturb the workplace activities or business, and a way for everybody to feel comfortable at any given workplace.
The Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki is the minister of the Buddhist Church of Lodi.