What’s the Opposition to Religious Talk in the Workplace?
LifeWay Research has data from a new survey that answers the question:
Despite several high-profile court cases over the past few years that tried to limit religious speech and the display of religious items in the workplace, most Americans have no problem with either. According to a recent survey by LifeWay Research, less than a third of Americans have issues with those who display religious items at work. Also, less than 4 out of 10 mind religious talk in the workplace.
The survey asked respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement: “Coworkers should not display religious items at the workplace.” Respondents were also asked to agree or disagree with this statement: “Coworkers should not talk about religion at the workplace.”
Opinions differ by age, with young adults most open to religious talk and religious items in the workplace and senior adults most resistant. The survey shows that 25 percent of 18 to 34 year olds somewhat or strongly agree that coworkers should not display religious items. In contrast, 44 percent of those over the age of 65 agree. The same trend is true in regards religious talk. A total of 33 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 31 percent of 25 to 34 year olds said they agree that it is wrong for people to talk about religion in the workplace. However, a majority of those over the age of 65 (54 percent) agree that talking about religion does not belong in the workplace.
I find it intriguing that the younger generation is more open to religious talk in the workplace. This research corroborates other research about the openness of young adults to spiritual issues. During my years in the corporate cubicle, I found a lot of people open to talking about spiritual issues. In fact, when I started seminary and worked bi-vocationally as a minister, several people at the office would come to me for “spiritual advice.” The difficulty for me was one of degree: how much should I say? And how much company time should I use to talk to a person? I typically talked openly but briefly, prayed with the person, and then offered to extend the conversation at lunch or after work hours. What’s your take? To what degree should believers talk about spiritual matters in the office?