Religious Recruitment is a Racket

The door-to-door thing is great for Girl Scout cookies and Christmas caroling, but convincing others to join your religion? Child, please.

Yesterday, I was handed literature by a Jehovah’s Witness on my way to work. This wasn’t the first time. Always a Jehovah’s Witness, too. I mean, I can appreciate that these people are excited about their religion and beliefs system, but you can’t just go passing out church propaganda like it’s a party invitation. You can’t hand me a copy of your monthly newsletter, The Watchtower, and expect it not to find a garbage can.

Faith is, to put it mildly, kind of like a big deal. Wars are fought over religion. People strap C4 explosives to their chest based on what they believe. Among those with the most unshakeable faith, you will never hear, Yeah, so I was walking to work one day and a man gave me a little magazine with God on the cover and it just turned me upside down.

At Minnesota State University, Mankato, I recall going to great efforts to dodge those poor suckers dressed in their white button-up shirts, black slacks with backpacks who wandered aimlessly about the campus, trying to penetrate hangover after hangover with the Word of Jehovah. It offended me, in a way. Choosing a public university was never a question for me. I appreciate the separation of church and state, and I didn’t want my education limited by a set of religious beliefs. So, when these recruiters kept showing up on campus, I was actually offended. They really had no right.

It’s my belief people are either raised a certain religion or they come to one on their own. It’s unnerving to see any religion actively recruit. I understand spreading the Word is rooted an altruism, but wouldn’t you rather congregants come to see a light organically rather than because of a sales pitch?

Let me now crack open this issue of The Watchtower. Without going into detail, let me list some of the articles featured in this month’s issue:

  • The Bible — Is It Really God’s Inspired Word?
  • Should You Be Honest At All Times?
  • Does Proverbs 6:30 Excuse Stealing?
  • Will The Earth Always Produce Enough to Sustain Life?

The sustainability question actually came from a reader. Despite more pessimistic predictions from the scientific community, The Watchtower seems to believe everything will be OK:

“For all the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22) Thus, just as surely as we know the sun will shine each day, we can be confident that the earth will never cease to produce what is needed to sustain life.

Whatever you say, boss.

I look at it like this: Have more faith in your faith. I understand full well the church is a business. Those utilities don’t pay themselves. My mom worked in a Lutheran church as a volunteer coordinator for several years, and from her accounts, I can tell you politics exist within the church, too. This active recruitment might be part of an effective business plan, but I think it cheapens the value of the product. For instance, would you buy an iMac if Steve Jobs had his employees stuffing literature in to the hands of every passerby downtown? You’d be skeptical, at best.

In being totally uninterested, I feel like I’m rejecting someone who has a crush on me. I’m sorry, Kindom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on 1285 NW Saltzman Road. While I appreciate the invite, I won’t be seeing you any time soon. It’s not you, it’s me. And plus, there’s somebody else. But I really hope you find the right worshipper.

Better yet — I hope they find you.

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