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to think ask your views on this

(71 Posts)
farandawaysheran Sat 08-Dec-12 14:24:32

I work for an international education provider, it was our end of term dinner last night.

We had a discussion about the fact we'd chosen a veggie restaurant to accommodate a colleague's religious beliefs. He said that he was sick of feeling marginalised because of them and we had a chat about how the world was changing and becoming tolerant.

I literally went to the loo and came back to another colleague in tears as she had mentioned looking forward to her brother's same sex wedding ceremony over the Xmas break and the same guy had told her that her brother was unclean and unnatural.

I would like a few views on this as I am shocked at the hypocrisy but other colleagues have said leave it as he is deeply religious and totally entitled to hold this view.

MammaTJ Sat 08-Dec-12 19:42:28

I would have told him that the colleagues brother is sick of feeling marginalised !! In fact, you still could. I do not share this mans religious beliefs, I am not gay, I still respect those who do/are.

Acekicker Sat 08-Dec-12 19:46:03

Ah it becomes clear now you've mentioned the diversity training. If its anything like courses I've done it will have had a section on how if all your social stuff centres around booze it could be excluding those who don't drink etc... What this guy has done though is seized on it to justify his twattish tendencies and have everything the way he wants it. Key things he needs to understand:

You can go to places that see booze on works do, just not have work organised things where the purpose is to get rat arsed.

More importantly you can still be offensive even if it is your religion which you use to justify your bigoted views. He has actually broken the rules by being homophobic, if a do is organised by work people even if it is outside work hours etc you are still bound by the laws on diversity and respect in the workplace.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sat 08-Dec-12 19:52:00

I own a steak house and have 2 gay members of staff. If=n fact they are a couple. Come to us next year grin

All joking aside though. I can't believe he feels everyone should accommodate him and then thinks its ok to say what he has. he is a dick and I hope she complains.
Tell Mr Bigot that we do some amazing veggie food.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sat 08-Dec-12 19:52:26

If=n fact they are a couple should read In fact they are a couple

lovebunny Sat 08-Dec-12 19:53:35

people from different religious and cultural backgrounds do not hold the same worldviews. not everyone is a white western liberal focused on democracy and what they see as 'human rights'. by expecting him to hold that view you are making an assumption that some people would think of as racist. i just think its a matter of genuine, well-meaning, ignorance. you do not know enough about people from cultures other than your own to be able to accept that they can and do see life differently from you.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Sat 08-Dec-12 19:55:49

Lovebunny are you seriously saying that this man wouldn't have realised calling the womans brother what he did was ok? Or have I misunderstood.

Because thats just manners, that you do not openly call someones family disgusting.

farandawaysheran Sat 08-Dec-12 20:14:01

Mama: excellent line, I've noted that one.

Acekicker, I wish you were my colleague! That's so helpful, thank you! I will follow those points up; the Xmas do traditionally was a piss-up but there were always people there who didn't drink either usually or because they were driving or whatever.

Brady, your place sounds like my kind of place! Need red meat and red wine tonight, plus a little spiteful fashion-based banter!

Lovebunny, I'm a bit confused. Are you saying that because my colleague minded her brother being insulted that she is somehow racist by holding him to accepted standards of decency?

I never claimed that we were 'White western liberals focused on democracy and human rights. That sounds like a pretty racist assumption to me!

We were, if it really matters, a bunch of several nationalities, holding fuck knows what political beliefs, off on an annual night out for fun. Which was ruined by one person behaving rudely.

Sorry if I misunderstood your post, it seemed a bit odd?

CombineBananaFister Sat 08-Dec-12 20:34:59

FFS If its a xmas do, then it can be xmassy-you can't accomodate everyones beliefs/feelings/ tastes its up to them if they come. Everyone is also allowed their own beliefs/opinions but SHARING them is another matter, being respectful, ADULT and living in a civilised society, to me, is not saying things if it would cause undue offense in a situation where its not necessary-thats what 5 yrs old do who don't know any better. I think people seem to confuse having strong beliefs and opinions with having carte blanche to say what they want to others - 'well-meaning ignorance' is not acceptable ,whatever your 'worldview' LOVEBUNNY. You do not have to express it-on a more basic level I would not let my DS call someone fat/ugly/idiot whatever.

SirBoobAlot Sat 08-Dec-12 20:39:03

He sounds like a nasty waste of space, frankly. What did he say when she was crying?

Next year, don't invite him.

I hate it when believe use religion as an excuse to... Well, idiots.

crescentmoon Sat 08-Dec-12 20:42:25

interesting first post OP. but i dont even believe your story.

but hey, pissed off at the way the other nativity thread was going? come along and vent about those uppity muslims here on this thread instead!

you mean... you couldnt call it an xmas do because of his sensibilities? and you had to go to a veggie restaurant because it was halal? and you werent allowed to drink just cause he wouldnt have come? and YOU BENT OVER BACKWARDS TO ACCOMODATE HIM and he still came out with that line against your colleague?

ahhh delicious! all the ingredients for a 'these muslims need to be cut down to size' thread!

drcrab Sat 08-Dec-12 20:44:51

There is also the other view of diversity where you embrace the others' beliefs. Not necessarily agreeing with them and becoming them but by respecting them. And so it has to be two ways.

You respect him by having it at that restaurant and he respects you back by not commenting about such things like the gay men marrying or about alcoholic drinks (and you guys don't get plastered in front of him).

We have a diversity coordinator at our international education provider and he's Muslim as v inclusive. He comes along to our Christmas events (we call it Christmas events). This year as was last years was held at a local restaurant that served all sorts of good food. He tends to eat the vege option or the fish.

There are various levels of fundamentalism. And your colleague is perhaps being too extreme for words or at least in the public domain in front of his colleagues.

kim147 Sat 08-Dec-12 21:11:33

I work with a range of people from all kinds of backgrounds and religious beliefs. We are going out for a meal - there is turkey but also a whole range of other foods including veggie options. Some people will drink, some won't.

Our school is exceptionally good at promoting diversity. We also know when to shut up and not say things that might offend other people. However, if I'd have been there and this person had said that, then I would have said something.

kim147 Sat 08-Dec-12 21:12:32

And FWIW, most people of faith who I work with are extremely tolerant of diversity.

FeckOffCup Sat 08-Dec-12 21:27:17

*There is also the other view of diversity where you embrace the others' beliefs. Not necessarily agreeing with them and becoming them but by respecting them. And so it has to be two ways.

You respect him by having it at that restaurant and he respects you back by not commenting about such things like the gay men marrying or about alcoholic drinks*

Agree with this, respect should go both ways. There is no way he wouldn't have realised that his homophobic comments were offensive and it was unreasonable of him to voice them after people had been respectful of his beliefs and culture by agreeing to his requests re the restaurant and drinking.

farandawaysheran Sat 08-Dec-12 21:32:23

Sir boob, when I got back, they were sorting the bill then I guess he'd left. I didn't see him talk to her.

Crescent. Eh? It isn't my first post and I haven't said what religion he was. That's a big old chip you've got there.

Dr crab. Sounds like a good solution, glad to gear it elks for your place

Kim, us too and if I was worried about anyone getting leery and offensive thee were more obvious candidates.

Anyway, just wanted to collect some opinions, which in the main have been really useful!

Thanks to all.

crescentmoon Sat 08-Dec-12 21:58:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CalamityJ Sat 08-Dec-12 22:38:04

Genius! Do as I say not as I do! Religious colleague doesn't like being marginalised because of his beliefs but is perfectly happy to marginalise other people because of theirs? I think the word here is tolerance. Colleagues tolerated his beliefs and thus chose a vegetarian restaurant. But he can't tolerate his colleague's attendance at her brother's same sex marriage? You are right, hypocrisy of the worst kind. Those who have experienced marginalisation/prejudice turning round and doing the same to another marginalised/minority group? Horrid.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Sat 08-Dec-12 22:43:40

He was an idiot to express his views, but he has every right to hold those views. There are a lot of religious people who use the religious texts as a manual for life, rather than a guide and like it or not the majority of religious texts express negative views about homosexuality. Moreover, if your colleague is aware of the level of this man's faith perhaps she should have thought about talking about Civil Partnership (I am a strictly observant Christian btw and support equal legal rights for any couple wholeheartedly) in this setting as she must be aware of how divisive a subject it can be, you should also consider that this male colleague may have found it as offensive to have, what is probably a taboo and shameful subject in his faith discussed so openly, as your female colleague felt about him expressing his views.

Worra, it's not just about being able to pick an option from the menu, cross contamination could be a worry/problem (I know about this a I have CD, and as an observant Christian have dietary concerns).

HermioneE Sat 08-Dec-12 23:12:21

Nolittlebuddhas- no, the male colleague should have considered that HIS views were potentially going to offend, and should have stfu about them.

If he has the right to talk about his food/drink preferences and expect people not to criticise, then why can't she talk about her brother's wedding and expect the same courtesy?

helenlynn Sat 08-Dec-12 23:16:34

Oh, yuck, NolittleBuddahs. You're saying people shouldn't allude to the fact gay people even exist, so as to avoid offending homophobic colleagues. Can you see how a workplace in which this attitude was adopted would be discriminatory?

If a colleague of mine had made the comments the OP reports or the comments you've made, I would complain. If it didn't get anywhere, I'd make the complaint formal and mention the relevant piece of legislation, which is the Equality Act 2010. If it were still not addressed, I would go to my trade union.

People sincerely believe all sorts of barmy things, and they're quite within their rights to do so, but they don't have a right to what amounts to hate speech in the workplace. You don't just get to come out with any old offensive, discriminatory stuff and play the I'm Religious -- Get Out Of Jail Free card.

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Sat 08-Dec-12 23:34:35

HermioneE, I did say I thought he was an idiot to express his views, but I also think his right to hold those views are important and what motivates those views matters. As my own religion matters to me. I simply meant that Op's female colleague should have considered how difficult the subject of homosexuality can be for some people to hear about and discuss and so this may have motivated his behaviour rather than dislike for the colleagues. We have all overreacted at some point when we have felt uncomfortable. Although I am against the attack of gay people and their lifestyles am I equally against attacks on deeply religious people and their beliefs. People are perfectly happy to condemn people who express conventionally negative views of homosexuality, but are not willing to consider that there are those who due to religious/ cultural beliefs who feel that those who express positive views on the subject should be reprimanded.

What I am basically trying to say is that if we can respect one opinion, we should respect the opposite opinion even if we don't or can't agree with it.

FWIW, I don't think the OP has made it sound as though her work place is not particularly accommodating of this guy on the whole, the tone sounds as if it was felt to be a huge imposition to find a venue to accommodate his needs (We had a discussion about the fact we'd chosen a veggie restaurant to accommodate a colleague's religious beliefs. He said that he was sick of feeling marginalised because of them and we had a chat about how the world was changing and becoming tolerant.) Why should his beliefs and the fact that he was being catered for be discussed in this way? I would have been offended.

So perhaps he thought rightly or wrongly, that he should say how he feels about things carte blanche and see how his colleagues liked it. However, he should not have made the poor woman cry.

kim147 Sat 08-Dec-12 23:38:46

People are certainly entitled to their opinions and in a free society should be able to express them.

However tact and diplomacy are often called for and this sounds like one of those times.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 08-Dec-12 23:39:01

Nolittle are you at it again?

WorraLorraTurkey Sat 08-Dec-12 23:40:08

This thread is just one of many today that's made me rub my chin and go "Hmmm"...

NolittleBuddahsorTigerMomshere Sat 08-Dec-12 23:44:01

Helenlyn I know all about the EA thanks. If you read my last post hopefully my point will be clearer. I don't what is so yuck (please use a more adult word when speaking to me, an adult, in future). I just said that we should try to think about the situation from the other point of view and to borrow your phrasiology I don't think people who are gay should be able to play the 'I'm gay so don't comment on my lifestyle card, but you're religious and a biggot, and it's OK for me to say so because society says so card.

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