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  • Writer's pictureMike Bongo

J.E.D.I. in the Workplace

Updated: Jun 22, 2023



I recently listened to an episode from one of my favorite podcasts entitled I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist with Frank Turek. Even though I disagree with Frank on certain theological issues, he’s still one of my favorite apologists. For example, Frank would not have agreed with the conclusion I came to on my last post regarding 1 Timothy 4:10.


Here's a quote we should all commit to memory: "One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful." –Dave Willis. That’s how I feel about Frank Turek. I have great respect for him and have learned a ton from him and his ministry Cross Examined.


In the podcast, which you can listen to in its entirety here, Frank dealt with questions that one could ask if they are employed by a company that is requiring their paid staff to attend a type of diversity, equity, inclusion, and tolerance training. Now being referred to within certain organizations as JEDIs. (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)


Diversity trainings seem to be popping up regularly in various workplace settings. This can be controversial and tricky to handle for Christians who want to honor the Lord, and love Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, and love their neighbor as themselves.


I don’t want to paint with a broad brush and lump all trainings into one category, because I’m certain there are different trainings, with different things being taught all across corporate America. Nor am I saying that there’s nothing of value in these trainings. Many may teach very good and needed principles that we all need to hear and should be abiding by.


However, after interacting with many believers who are in the secular workforce, I know this topic is a struggle for them. Therefore, I believe some helpful tips as to how to approach this situation, would be welcomed.


This post isn’t designed to tell you what to do in your particular situation, with your particular convictions. This post is simply a recounting of something I listened to recently, and I thought it would be a good idea to pass on to my brothers and sisters in our church family. If it helps, great! If not, I hope to hit the mark next time.


If you are asked, encouraged, and/or required to attend one of these diversity trainings, and you find that to be troubling to your conscience, what should you do? Do you comply? Do you not comply? What do you do?


Frank’s helpful advice in the podcast is to start by asking questions. An approach I definitely agree with! In many situations, asking questions is better than making statements. As Frank states in the podcast, “Asking questions is easy, answering questions is hard.”


I would like to share with you many of the questions Frank posed to his audience. Do with these as you see fit, but I thought they were worth sharing. You may not need to utilize them now, but you may someday.


Full disclosure: I changed some wording, and added my own thoughts as well. (I couldn't resist.) However, most of this is straight from the podcast. I found these to be helpful, and I hope you do also.


Here goes…


A PRELIMINARY QUESTION:


Can I ask some questions to get clarification on our company's policies regarding tolerance, diversity, equity and inclusion?


TERMINOLOGY QUESTIONS:


I notice our company values tolerance. What does the company mean when it uses the word tolerance?


I hear a lot of talk about diversity. What is our definition of diversity?


Are we looking for diverse talents? Are we looking for diverse preferences? Are we looking for diverse skin colors? How does diversity help workplace performance?


How about equity? What is the company’s definition of equity?


How about inclusion? What does the company mean when it uses the word inclusion?


How does the company understand the concept of justice?


PROBING QUESTIONS:


Do we all have to have the same political, religious, and moral beliefs in order to work here?


We agree that everyone should treat each other with respect, and be truthful and polite to one another, but does that mean we all have to agree on everything all the time?


Are you asking all of us to agree on all sexual practices and sexual behaviors? And what does that have to do with workplace productivity?


Does the company think it's right to force employees to violate their consciences, or to even ask employees to violate their consciences?


Why does our company think it has the medical expertise to address, even create policies, for people with gender dysphoria? Are we medical professionals with training and knowledge specific to this area of study?


Why is the company seemingly forcing people to take firm positions on very controversial political, moral, and social issues that have very little, or nothing, to do with work productivity?


I treat everyone with respect regardless of any political or moral disagreements that we may have. I certainly don't want to force people to act in ways that are contrary to their conscience, I only ask the same respect in return. Is the company willing to grant me that?


Does the company consider themselves to be tolerant? If so, and I offer an opinion that's contrary to theirs, the company will be tolerant of me, right?


Would you agree that you can only be tolerant when two parties disagree? My conscience won't allow me to embrace ideologies that I believe are wrong. Can I disagree, without the threat of being labelled, ostracized, and/or terminated?


A REMINDER...


If you choose to utilize any of the above questions to engage with your supervisor or H.R. department, my advice is to always remember Peter’s words in 1 Peter 3:15-17: In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.


A FINAL WORD


If you are part of our Living Water Church family, you have heard us use the word diversity on a regular basis. If you would like to know more about our understanding of diversity, you can read our statement here.

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8 Comments


Guest
Jun 27, 2023

Sometimes a paycheck is better than achieving the moral high ground. I'd be prepared to have another opportunity lined up if asking some of these questions. My understanding is that companies will tolerate what _they_ recognize as diversity. My religious beliefs are tolerated for me to observe them without question at work, conversely others tolerated beliefs are allowed to be observed without me questioning them in the workplace about it. Most importantly THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WE ARE TRYING TO REACH WITH THE GOSPEL!!, not to run from them in fear. Be a light, share the Hope, love your neighbor as yourself.

-Steve

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Guest
Jun 24, 2023

Thank you for a great post, Mike. Having the right questions is imperative for our understanding what to respond to before determining how to respond. It also has the chance to be instructive to those holding to a position contrary to your own, which is the loving thing to do.

Thanks again!

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Jim Benna
Jim Benna
Jun 23, 2023

Great questions.

I'm no longer in the workplace, but I'll try to keep these in mind when needed.

Thanks merely Mike.

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Unknown member
Jun 24, 2023
Replying to

You're welcome. 🙂

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Guest
Jun 22, 2023

Wow. I didn't Know there was a way to converse like this at work. These are good questions that would help me gain clarity In a civil way and not feel so insecure/timid all the time when changes occur at my job. Thanks pastor mike!

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Unknown member
Jun 23, 2023
Replying to

I'm glad you found it helpful! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.


Signed,

merely mike 😉

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Janet Richey
Janet Richey
Jun 22, 2023

Our young Christians in the work force should read this. Great job, Mike, on such a relevant piece.

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Unknown member
Jun 22, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

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