Judge John Hodgman Episode 234: Shut Your Pious Hole

| 11 comments

Libby brings the case against her husband Aaron. Aaron is a minister by occupation, and thinks he should always be upfront about his job when meeting new people. Libby says he should play it cool till he gets to know them a bit better. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Thanks to Peter Counter for this week's case name.

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Comments

My Comments

First of all, as JJH said, the pedicurist and shuttle driver were being very rude.
A complaint should be lodged against the shuttle management (is it the airport or a hotel shuttle?) because no employer wants his employees pushing their faith on customers. I would not have left the pedicurist a tip and spoken with the owner.
Also a "thank you for your concern about my soul, but we have different religious beliefs" would have been appropriate.

But the solution to lie about your job in order to "trick" people into getting to know you better first seems doomed to fail. Once your friends find out that you lied/deceived/misled/mistrusted them they won't be your friends much longer.

Wonderful Episode

This was a wonderful episode. Not only did the Judge uphold the longstanding view that "You like what you like, and do what you feel is good." but for the first time added the addendum that there is a moral necessity in doing this thing. Bravo.

If I may make a humble suggestion, it might also benefit the couple for the Minister to have a business card with '10 Fun Facts About UU' on the back. It takes the conversation out of the verbal (which sometimes leans towards emotional), and moves it to the written (which can be more analytical.

As an extra measure, you could also highlight certain facts that would be more 'Texas-friendly' for lack of a better term. For example:
- UU began, and was heavily involved in abolitionism.
- We preach from many different texts, including the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Etc.

You inspired me

I listened to this podcast and found something I didn't know I was looking for. I live in the liberal Northeast so it was easy to find a UU Congregation. The only thing I have to suffer is the looks my atheist daughters give me - a mix of pity and love for their otherwise intelligent mother.

Thank you Libby and Aaron.

In defense of Texas...

I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life, Austin, Dallas, and the surrounding suburbs mostly, and I’ve also lived in two small Texas college towns, either one of which could be the town the guests on this episode are speaking of.

In a nutshell, calm down, you guys. Texas is not quite the dystopian gun slinging theocracy you all (the judge included, to an extent) seem to be envisioning. The guests obviously know that there are liberal-minded Texan among them, and as one of them I take some offense at the notion that the they are imagining some sort of danger to themselves. I think the actual fear they were feeling was overstated, and as the judge pointed out, they’re probably feeling something more like mild social discomfort.

They’ve been there for a very short time, so some culture shock should be expected, but I think they’ll find more people who think much like they do before long, and their whole appearance on the show will feel like a silly overreaction. It certainly seems like one to me.

Some thoughts

I'm a Unitarian Universalist. It is not very puzzling that Libby would fear for her husband, since not so long ago (July 2008), a Conservative walked into a Unitarian church on Sunday morning, and opened fire on the congregation, who were watching a children's play in Knoxville, Tennessee. While I do not disagree that it might be prudent to keep one's mouth shut about religion, unless the purpose of one's interaction with someone is to politely challenge their belief that all religious people think, for example, that people should not live together before marriage. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Libby really knew what she was signing up for as a UU minister's wife in such a conservative place. And the problem is that unlike other jobs, ministry often carries over to the spouse of the minister, particularly from a conservative perspective of ministry.

Judge Hodgman and the guests did not really communicate the beliefs of Unitarian Universalists well/clearly within this podcast--Judge Hodgman said that the main purpose/belief of the religion is tolerance, a point which I take issue with here. While the tolerance is considered a basic minimum for respectful human interaction, UUs believe in the radical acceptance, or the inherent worth and dignity of every person--meaning that, even though Jim Adkisson perpetrated a hate crime on my fellow UUs, I acknowledge his worth as a person and can recognize that his act sprung from a source of pain and frustration in his life--his inability to find employment, and the effects of poverty. While I abhor his actions, my commitment to living my belief in this and the other six principles of our religion motivates me to seek social (including economic) justice in the world for all people, including those with whom I disagree. I invite anyone who would be interested in the other principles, which cover our shared ideas about the world and its people, to visit What We Believe.

Clearly, I evangelize sometimes--in a respectful and polite way, when a "sharing moment" occurs.

UU Buzz Marketing

If there was ever a religion in need of buzz marketing, it's the UUs. Maybe by being "out of the closet" more, UUs could expound more about their beliefs.

"They never let you forget it."

My brother-in-law is a minister and he told me that he HATES that moment when someone asks him what he does because, as he says, "after that they never let you forget it!" I've watched him in groups and it is totally true - most folks are so discomforted by "a man of the cloth among us" that they can't help themselves but to inject something about it into every sentence. They even get freaked out if he drinks. Geez, let the guy drink - he's not Mormon, he's Episcopalian!

Puzzling mentality from the ministers wife

I found this a very weird case, why would one not be open or even go so far as to lie about ones profession?
The wife seems deathly afraid of the outside world (apart from their clergy), luckily the Judge spoke with grace and sense about the issue.

You'll encounter crazies anywhere, religious or not. To exclude yourself from normal society in this way seems ridiculous, and if you're sure about your beliefs, why actively hide them or sidestep the issue? Still a puzzling train of thought to me..

Not so puzzling

I'm a Unitarian Universalist. It is not very puzzling that Libby would fear for her husband, since not so long ago (July 2008), a Conservative walked into a Unitarian church on Sunday morning, and opened fire on the congregation, who were watching a children's play in Knoxville, Tennessee. While I do not disagree that it might be prudent to keep one's mouth shut about religion, unless the purpose of one's interaction with someone is to politely challenge their belief that all religious people think, for example, that people should not live together before marriage. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Libby really knew what she was signing up for as a UU minister's wife in such a conservative place. And the problem is that unlike other jobs, ministry often carries over to the spouse of the minister, particularly from a conservative perspective of ministry.

Judge Hodgman and the guests did not really communicate the beliefs of Unitarian Universalists well/clearly within this podcast--Judge Hodgman said that the main purpose/belief of the religion is tolerance, a point which I take issue with here. While the tolerance is considered a basic minimum for respectful human interaction, UUs believe in the radical acceptance, or the inherent worth and dignity of every person--meaning that, even though Jim Adkisson perpetrated a hate crime on my fellow UUs, I acknowledge his worth as a person and can recognize that his act sprung from a source of pain and frustration in his life--his inability to find employment, and the effects of poverty. While I abhor his actions, my commitment to living my belief in this and the other six principles of our religion motivates me to seek social (including economic) justice in the world for all people, including those with whom I disagree. I invite anyone who would be interested in the other principles, which cover our shared ideas about the world and its people, to visit What We Believe.

Clearly, I evangelize sometimes--in a respectful and polite way, when a "sharing moment" occurs.

holding minority views

It was nice to hear a case I could identify with, being a moderately conservative evangelical Christian who works in academia and likes NPR and J J Ho. I tend to take Libby's approach, hedging about what I believe about spirituality and political candidates, to avoid the confrontation and judging and bullying. But being in a minority group at work has given me insight and wisdom, at least I hope it has. -- Professor A

Totally agree. My husband is

Totally agree. My husband is currently in seminary, and after we tell people, it is so hard not to immediately jump in and say something to the effect of, "but we're cool!"