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Formal Rejection From A Fundy


R. S. Martin
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Maybe that's too rigid a title. Just don't know what to call it. I'm still kind of reeling in shock and disbelief. Today I got a registered letter from my optomotrist informing me that his office would no longer provide services for me as of Sept. 1/06. He enclosed my clinical records and advised that I look in the Yellow Pages for another optomotrist. I'm curious if anybody else has experienced rejection on the secular level like this. Here's the story:

 

The letter was dated for Aug. 17. On Aug. 11 I had been in to see him for my check-up. He raced through the examination at a phenomenal speed. I was not aware that it was actually over. He sat down at his desk and started chatting about theology. I'm studying theology so I was quite willing to discuss theology. I love it. Helps me understand why people believe and behave as they do.

 

Bit by bit, like a circling hawk (though I was barely aware of it), he got more personal. When he asked specifically for my beliefs I indicated that I am not committed to any church, that I know what I believe but I don't know what to call it. That normally satisfies people. He kept pressing me, "What is it?" He wanted me to state specifically what I believed.

 

I was feeling uncomfortable, cold on a spiritual level if that makes sense. Like I should leave the situation. But I did not know why I felt this way. I knew that I did not like the direction the conversation was taking. But there's remedies for that. I can handle situations. So I thought. So I stuck with it. Hadn't the slightest idea on how to get out of it without offending him or looking rude. In looking back I realize that offending him should rightfully have been the least of my worries but I needed more distance before I could think so logically.

 

Suddenly he started telling his personal story. He explained how wonderfully the Bible hangs together from front to finish. The wonder of the miracle sounded in his voice. It showed as he smoothed out his hands over his lap to indicate the long, seamless and harmonious strand of thought in the Bible.

 

I knew dozens of arguments to counter that, none of which could be adequately addressed in a few minutes of chit-chat after an eye examination. I did not understand where he got time to just sit and chat for ten minutes. I guess that must be why he rushed the exam. In reflecting on the situation I could tell myself he was sexually aroused. I've never been married so I am very inexperienced in that area of life, and probably naive into the bargain.

 

After hearing his story I felt obligated to share a bit of mine. I told him that Christianity made no sense to me. Couldn't think of a fast way to address my life-long questions about the central tenet of the Christian faith in just a few minutes of chit-chat. As to my present religious beliefs--I don't have any but I was going to meet with a local Pagan after the weekend. I managed to squeeze out the confession that I was going to meet with the Pagan but I didn't know yet that I didn't have any religious beliefs so I didn't say it. I was still exploring but didn't know how to say it.

 

There was a moment of awkward silence. I forget exactly in what order topics were discussed but the moment passed and somewhere along the line he emphasized how much sense Christianity made to him. Finally I figured out how to sum up the conversation and bring things to a civil, harmonious closure. With a burst of insight I said, "I think that is the difference between you and me. For you Christianity makes sense. For me it doesn't."

 

There was another uncomfortable pause. He suddenly realized that he shouldn't be wasting his time. He did leave me with his favourite author and also the name of his church. I asked if he had read Spong. He didn't know the guy. I didn't have the info on the tip of my tongue and he somehow just knew that having his email address would solve the problem.

 

It solved the problem, all right. But I am quite sure it was not the solution he expected. When I got home I looked up his favourite author on the internet. That is when I realized what kind of person I'd gotten involved with. A rabid evangelical fundamentalist. Baptist is the denomination he told me. I looked it up, too. An elite church for the wealthy. Lots more spicked up than the Baptist church just down the street from me, though it too is quite a set-up, too. Just a different flavour.

 

I didn't even want to send him the info anymore. It felt like casting my pearls to the swine. But a promise is a promise. I sent it with an explanation that a person who likes his author will probably not like Spong.

 

Eventually, reality began to settle in. What this man had done was outside the bounds of decency. He had taken advantage of me in a very subtle way. It was spiritual rape. I sent him another email and told him so. I told him I would change doctors before I would convert to anyone's church. The next business day I called to have next year's appointment booked with another doctor in the clinic.

 

Today I got this registered letter informing me that no more services were available for me from that office. It felt EXACTLY like the cold blasts I get from fundies on the internet all the time. I couldn't believe the similarities. Even less could I believe that this was happening in real life. It felt like a cold and damp blast from the virtual environment.

 

I decided to stop in at my pharmacy on my way home. If I was lucky, my pharmacist friend would be in and have a few minutes time to talk. I was lucky. I showed him the letter. I told him the history. He was boggled. He had never seen this kind of thing happen in this city, but agreed that religion was definitely behind the thing.

 

He referred me to his own optomotrist and told me what a very nice and competent lady she was, and added that his whole family goes there. I said, "I trust you." He looked up the address and phone number and sent me home feeling warm and cared for. There may be a dark spot in this city but there is also a lot of light.

 

Whew! that feels good--to have it all written out in front of me like this. Not some slimy groveling hand in the dark any more. It's here where I can see it in all its hideous ugliness. Next time I find myself in such an uncomfortable situation I will not hesitate to excuse myself early on.

 

Anybody else got tales of rejection from professionals, retailers, or other business people because you don't believe the right things? How did you handle it? Did I over-react? Maybe I should have just rebooked without telling him how I felt. But something tells me that I could never have felt safe in that office again if I had not confronted him. I guess it was the right thing to do.

 

Ruby

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Wow... did he ever ask you to convert to his church? That's where I get confused in the story... it seems though that after all that happened, it's best you don't seem him anymore. I can't believe he was that unprofessional! How rude! I wonder if you mentioning Paganism has anything to do with it, or if it was your "spiritual rape" comment. I know most fundies I know would take HUGE offense to that phrase. :HaHa:

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Taph, thanks!

 

Wow... did he ever ask you to convert to his church? That's where I get confused in the story... it seems though that after all that happened, it's best you don't seem him anymore. I can't believe he was that unprofessional! How rude! I wonder if you mentioning Paganism has anything to do with it, or if it was your "spiritual rape" comment. I know most fundies I know would take HUGE offense to that phrase. :HaHa:

 

It was quite obvious to me that he hoped to get me interested in his church. He didn't say so with words but actions speak pretty loud and clear--information, tone of voice--that kind of thing.

 

Pagan is probably what made him so rabid in evangelizing me.

 

I think the word rape is quite appropriate. I want them to become aware of the serious violation of personal rights they inflict on people.

 

He won't see me anymore and I won't see him. I'm quite sure it's the word rape in there. I suspect he's scared I will bring formal charges against him. Funny the way guilty consciences work.

 

Ruby

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I had meant to mention--I had a wonderful meeting with the Pagan. We talked two hours non-stop and stopped just because it was time to go home. I got answers to many life-long questions but found out it's not really the thing for me. I also checked out liberal Christianity and the place where I'm at today is that I'm not religious, I'm just spiritual.

 

By "spiritual" I mean what some people call a religious experience. For all I know, it's nothing but a psychological event inside my skull, a certain way my neurons fire. Or, put another way, I get them to fire this way sometimes. I don't think I'm about to have an epileptic spell because I can control when I bring it on. It's just the way I am and I'm fine with that. It's a relief not having to check out all the religions anymore. But who knows what I'll feel like tomorrow.

 

Maybe I should post that somewhere else. I hadn't meant to make this thread only about me....

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I hope you didn't take me the wrong way... I don't pity him at all! I just think it freaked him out, and I find that amusing that he would be freaked out. They totally don't get it.

 

I've never had anything like this happen to me, but one time I did talk to a professor at length about religion (not one of my religion professors, a pharmacy professor). He told me about his NDE and gave me a magazine about Creationism and evolution's "flaws." After I tactfully told him my views, he treated me totally differently after that. It was obvious he did not like me. Not to derail the thread, but I had the final stage of a miscarriage right before a final exam, and I didn't know what else to do except tell him (because he is an OB/GYN doc), ask him if I was okay (because I felt very un-okay, and I had been bleeding and sick for the past two weeks), and show him the evidence. He shrugged me off and said I was fine and that I should take all my exams as scheduled, including the one ten minutes from then. I am positive this is because I was a strong agnostic, or because of his stereotyping of me, that he was sure I had somehow self-induced an abortion. After talking to my family physician, I now know I should have gone home right then and rested the rest of the day, if not week, to let the process complete. (I didn't have health insurance and couldn't afford a D&C, which is what they do to "get everything out" so I had it completely naturally... which can take weeks, I started bleeding two weeks before and three weeks after I had the miscarriage).

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Ruby...

 

Yer more patient and forgiving that I'da fuckin' been in the same or similar situation.

 

Goofy son of a bitch not only broke his code of professionalism but has opened himself and practice up to have his useless sectarian ass sued off..

 

If this bullshit happened at his office/business premises not only is he a religious predator but an incomptent breaker of professional trusts.

 

Might be best thing to walk away and let EVERYONE you know why you are no longer his patient.

 

In business you can have hundreds of satisfied customers. it takes but one unserved or poorly served person to really fuck over said business.

 

I am astounded myself.. Thinking myself I'da pulled out daFatman's Big Red Button of FOAD and pushed it on the carksacker in the midst of his bullshit..

 

ArRrrRRrGGHhhHHH!

 

kevinFL

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Not even close to what happened to you. I was seeing a mental health counselor. I told her at the onset I was an atheist. She recommended a book. It was written by an ex priest. Which was okay, but when I got to the part where he had built an altar in his house, I dumped the book and her.

I've told my doctor I'm an atheist but never thought of telling my ophthalmologist or dentist.

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Well, my brother is a fundie who owns a constuction company and he is sometimes led by religious motives to refuse certain customers. He will build stuff for people of other religions but refuse something like a mosque. Since he knows I'm an atheist I think he will have no problem building anything for atheists, but I'm not so sure he'll take on a client if he knows the client to be a Satanist...

 

Cheers,

Rob

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I remember when I was learning to drive, one of my driving instructors was a nun. As we were driving some quiet suburban streets, she started questioning me about my religious beliefs, which, being made uncomfortable, i replied with only non-committal responses. I was actually quite religous and spiritually seeking at the time, but her evangelical, tiger-waiting-to-pounce attitude was a real turn off to me and started to scare me. I began to have trouble focusing on my driving due to her personal questions, it absolutely did feel like spiritual rape.

When i ran a stop sign, she pounced. She actually blamed my running a stop sign on the lack of faith and trust in jesus christ. No shit. She made me get out of the driver's seat and berated me what seemed like hours on the way home, all the time cursing my defiance of the power of jesus, when in reality all I was, was a quiet, shy 16 year old kid.

:ugh:

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Right on RubySera!

 

You handled it right. Don't give the emotional abuser another thought. It gives them too much power if they realize you are still affected by their manipulative emotional and spiritual rape.

 

You are better off away from this creep. You DON'T need someone who doesn't respect you to have access to your eyes. Improper or insufficient care could damage those sensitive orbs. And you only have one set.

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I must confess to being totally baffled!

 

WHY are you people even discussing your religious beliefs with these professional strangers?!? It seems absolutely bizarre to me that the subject even arises. I have NEVER discussed my private life with any doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc. Even when I was seeing a shrink I never spoke of religion. I can't even imagine anyone treating my EYES suddenly bringing up a subject other than my eyesight. Be it religion, politics, sex, movies, hell, even the weather! Maybe it's just me, but I think it's weird. I don't count any doctor as any sort of "friend" to be delving into my personal beliefs.

 

Fact of the matter is, when I don't want to have a discussion about an issue, I tell people in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up and change the subject. Any "professional" who made the mistake of attempting to scale MY walls of privacy would find him/herself summarily thrown through a plate glass window. (No joke. THAT is why I had to see a shrink. I have violence issues.)

 

Your guy, RubySera, is lucky he didn't try that shit with me!

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The issue of religion shouldn't ever even come up at all with a professional.

 

I'd say what he pulled merits a formal complaint to whatever state regulating board or department licenses optometrists, with a CC to the state attorney general. I don't know the legality (or not) of what he did, but in any case it's definitely extremely unprofessional conduct, at the very least.

 

I'd probably also tell as many of my friends and family as possible about what happened, not necessarily in detail... but people need to know not to take their business to this clinic, if at all possible.

 

But then that's just me, and I kind of play hardball when it comes to reacting to stuff like that.

 

Legal or not, that was just awful and invasive of him to abuse his professional standing that way. I'm sorry the fucknut put you through that. In some ways I'm not surprised to see it happen, though - hardcore types like that are ultimately into snaring as many converts as possible. The rejection sucks if you say no to them, but saying no is the right thing to do, I think. You're definitely better off without having to deal with this guy and his bullshit.

 

Anyway. I'm glad to hear you've found a new eye doc. I hope it goes well.

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I would report it myself, but don't expect it to do any good... a doctor can "fire" a patient for any reason, as can any other healthcare provider. By the way, optometrists aren't MDs, they're healthcare professionals, but the ones with MD degrees are called opthamologists.

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WHY are you people even discussing your religious beliefs with these professional strangers?!? It seems absolutely bizarre to me that the subject even arises. I have NEVER discussed my private life with any doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc. Even when I was seeing a shrink I never spoke of religion.

If a dentist or eye doctor brought up religion I'd fire them. However, I brought it up to the counselor because everyone thinks you're a christian and I didn't want any talk of spirituality. She did anyway and I found a new one.

I do not go to any catholic hospitals and I do not want a catholic doctor putting a brain dead me on "life" support. :eek: Plus in our area the hospitals and clinics are adding new age crap and spirituality to the healing process. :ugh:

If my doctor believed in that crap I would find another doctor.

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I must confess to being totally baffled!

 

WHY are you people even discussing your religious beliefs with these professional strangers?!? It seems absolutely bizarre to me that the subject even arises. I have NEVER discussed my private life with any doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc. Even when I was seeing a shrink I never spoke of religion. I can't even imagine anyone treating my EYES suddenly bringing up a subject other than my eyesight. Be it religion, politics, sex, movies, hell, even the weather! Maybe it's just me, but I think it's weird. I don't count any doctor as any sort of "friend" to be delving into my personal beliefs.

 

Fact of the matter is, when I don't want to have a discussion about an issue, I tell people in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up and change the subject. Any "professional" who made the mistake of attempting to scale MY walls of privacy would find him/herself summarily thrown through a plate glass window. (No joke. THAT is why I had to see a shrink. I have violence issues.)

 

Your guy, RubySera, is lucky he didn't try that shit with me!

 

First off, he's not "my" guy. Secondly, I did not bring up the topic. Thirdly, it is considered polite around here to make small talk with patients and clients. "How's work/school going?" "Miserable/lovely weather we're having." That sort of thing. I've had indepth and lengthy conversations with people before if they weren't pressed for time and both of us enjoyed the conversation. Where he crossed the line was in insisting that I tell him what I believe. He acted like he was my big brother or something--someone who had a right to really dig.

 

Maybe his god tells him to do it. If so, I guess he'll have to take that one up with god. God has been known to make exceptions in cases were witnessing would be inappropriate. In addition, god is generally known to encourage people to live within the law if they can do so without violating their faith. While operating in the capacity of professional service provider, it would seem god might have wanted him to not push it if the patient was unwilling.

 

About reporting it. I'm thinking about it. I just found out that the entire clinic won't have me. I have no idea what he told the other doctors, why or how they arrived at this collective decision. Anyway, I like the idea of spreading the news. I don't really want to hurt anyone, though. I'm just not making a secret of it and I am upset enough to talk with people I know well.

 

Today I finally made voice contact with the new doctor. Or maybe it was the secretary. She wanted to know why I am not seeing my old optomotrist anymore. I said he just sent a letter and didn't give a reason. Then I said that I know the reason, that when I was in to see him he tried getting me to come to his church and I was offended by that.

 

She said, "Oh dear!"

 

I ended up asking if she wants me. Couldnt really interpret who the "oh dear" was for--me for not liking to be evangelized or him for doing it on the job. She assured me that I was welcome, that they would be happy to have me.

 

I've been in a discussion on another forum about evangelicals in general. That person described them as very well-trained and well-funded. That describes this man. He just cashed in on the normal tradition of this area and started talking about my studies. He did start in with a different tone of voice. He said something like, "You're studying theology?" with emphasis on the last word as though it mattered to him exactly what I was studying.

 

Given that I still use the traditional Mennonite dress, it is not unusual for people to ask what church I go to. They are usually tentative about it, as though they are not quite sure if it's okay to ask. When I feel comfortable with a person we sometimes get into deep discussion.

 

Anyway, thanks to everyone who responded. It feels good to know there is wide-spread opinion that I handled it okay and that he was out of place. Special thanks to the person who talked about having a similar experience and that "spiritual rape" feels like the right term.

 

Ruby

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I wouldn't call it spiritual rape, but completely unprofessional to discuss religion with patients or clients. He was taking advantage of your business relationship to promote his religion. We had a doctor try to push us into Amway in much the same way and we also considered it unprofessional. I didn't report him, but did refuse his Amway promotion. We were fundies at the time and didn't feel right using our relationships with others just to make money. I still don't think that is right btw. Not quite unethical, but still taking advantage.

 

There is a thread at IIDB about a TSA employee that left a note in an atheists luggage that promoted Jesus. She had an atheist book or two in her suitcase, but that was still way over the line, and that person should be reprimanded for using his/her position to prosetlyze.

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I agree with the others. It's unprofessional and bigoted to not serve someone because of their religion. It would be like refusing to offer services to someone because of their skin color or sexuality. Especially a medical professsional. You could try the ACLU, but I don't know if I'd want to take the time. It sounds like everyone in that office is a bigot, and suing won't help. They might provide services in the future, but their attitudes won't change.

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Ruby, what are the laws like in Canada regarding refusing services for religious reasons? That's becoming a hot topic in the USA, with pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control as one example. I thought Canada was more liberal, and maybe you have more of a chance to have this clinic reprimanded in some way. In the states, we can complain to the attorney general, I'm sure there is something equivalent to this in your province. Also contact the Canadian Medical Association, or whatever organization is in charge of health care providers.

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Ruby it's unfortunate that you had to encounter the likes of that asshole.

 

Whenever I hear things like, "How is your spiritual walk?" I basically translate that as, "I'm going to attempt to trespass all over you!" The best defense is a good offense in my opinion. So the best way to counter questions like this are to ask, "How is yours?"

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  • 1 month later...

Great story Ruby, you did the right thing.

 

I think the guy freaked at the email. Good riddance.

 

Other comments raise a new question.

 

If for example, any of us were to seek counselling, would you ask them up front whether they had religious beliefs and whether those beliefs affected or guided the therapy and recommendations?

 

I don't like to piss around with people and can't stand it when they do that with me.

 

If I thought for a second that there was a religious influence, I would not hesitate to ask. To me, this is the same as your accountant having a criminal record. ASK!!!

 

The problem is partly what to ask so you get a good answer without unnecessarily screening them out unless you are looking specifically for an atheist (or other) counsellor.

 

In my way of thinking, I have a right to know. While I conceed the counsellor has the right to reject me, I wouldn't for a second consider it impolite or outside my right to ask about their religious views.

 

Eric

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Yikes, Ruby!

 

This thread happened before I started posting, and I wasn't aware of it until today when there was another reply, but that was ENTIRELY inappropriate behavior from your old optometrist. The silver lining to this whole fiasco is that it afforded you the opportunity to find another eye doctor with better ethics.

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Good on you for telling him he was a spiritual rapist. You're much better off. A doctor who can't keep his friggin' mouth shut and actually interact with patients appropriately has doomed clientle anyway.

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