In some cases, you know the reaction to your atheism won’t be very positive.
But there are times you don’t expect a reaction at all — When you’re not even telling anyone about your Godlessness. Still, a loose/simple connection to atheism results in an unwarranted remark.
Ray Harrington experienced this firsthand.
He bought The Portable Atheist at a bookstore.
Here’s the story, in the form of a letter he wrote to Borders’ management:
… As a very loyal and regular customer, (I shop at your store almost weekly and always make a purchase) I was shocked and offended when the woman ringing in my books commented on the book; “Atheism, eh? Well… I guess I’ll keep my comments and thoughts to myself.” This was said with such arrogance and blatant mockery that I stumbled over my words as I paid for my books and left.
For Ray, the comment infested itself in his mind and he continued to think about long after he left the store.
Personally, I think he’s overreacting; even though he may have noticed a smugness in her remarks, I doubt the clerk had any idea she said anything wrong (even though it was indeed offensive).
But Ray is right — change the word “atheist” and the whole exchange becomes truly disturbing:
“Jew, eh? Well… I guess I’ll keep my comments and thoughts to myself.”
Like I said, Ray is writing a letter to Borders’ management.
Is he doing the right thing? Should he be taking another course of action? Or no action at all?