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I'm working as an English teacher in heavily-Catholic Bavaria, Germany, and I have a few necklaces that have symbols of the Germanic gods on them.  I have Odin riding Sleipnir, Mjolnir, a World Tree that could pass for Yggdrasil or for a tree from another belief system, among others.  I love wearing them and have worn them in the classroom before with no problems from students, even the church-goers.

So here's my dilemma:

One of my students is a Catholic priest and monk.  It's a 1-to-1 class, which means he is the only student in class.  His course is not religion-oriented, but instead is very mundane most of the time.  For example, language on how to address an international group during a meeting, everyday phrases he needs, etc.  He doesn't wear religious garb in class, and has never asked me about my personal beliefs, except to ask me if I'm familiar with a couple of aspects he's mentioned.  But he is a very pious individual. Would it be rude or inappropriate for me to wear my symbols when I teach him?  I don't want to make my students uncomfortable.

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Yes, I can think of times when it is inappropriate, but the situation you are describing I wouldn't think would be one.

Many are pious in their beliefs who are not offended by symbols for other beliefs. I wouldn't think that just because he is a priest your jewelry automatically offends him.

You said you can think of times it is inappropriate.  Could you elaborate on those times?

I use to be involved with hiring people at a very large company. Interviewees (that word looks wrong) who wore religious jewelry to an interview were goners when they walked through the door. I didn't care if it was pagan, the Christians on the board didn't care if it was a cross. If you can't choke it down for an interview you had the potential to be a PIA after hiring.

I wouldn't want someone wearing a cross to a Sabbat open circle, I would find that inappropriate. Likewise, a few years ago I visited my parents around Easter and my Mom asked me to go to a Baptist service with her. I didn't give it a thought until I noticed the usher, who never stopped smiling by the way, staring hard at my witch's knot pendulum. Out of respect, I turned it around so it hung down my back.

I can think of some other situations which could apply in a work situation where you are being paid to represent an orginization, and some other times which people will either agree or disagree with depending on where they are in maturity and life experience.

Before anyone responds and tells me they do what they want where they want, I don't freaking care at all what you do. If you want to wear Bocephious T-shirts to work find a job that let's you wear them. I was responding to the OP's question about offending a student.

If there is no dress code forbidding the wearing of religious symbols, then no, it's not rude or inappropriate.  He has his beliefs, you have yours.  His beliefs should not control what you can and can't wear.

If he were Muslim, should a woman feel uncomfortable not wearing a headscarf when teaching him?

Blackfire, do the colleges in Bavaria, Germany have "safe spaces" yet? 

What's crazy about them?

There are no safe spaces.

Safe from what?

There are no spaces that can keep you safe from the things that upset and vex you, except for the space in your own mind.

Ah, I have to disagree.  There was a separate women-only section of the health club I used to belong to.  I had to retreat there after being hit on very aggressively by men at the club.  I literally had strange men coming up to me, putting their arms around me and telling me I needed to smile.  Yes, they put their hands on me without my permission.  Telling them to fuck off had no effect.  They found that amusing.  After a while, I retreated to the women's section where I could exercise in peace.

So, no, there are places where you can escape harassment.  I am grateful for them.  I see Japan has 'women only' subway cars, so women can take a crowded subway and not be groped or caressed against her will when she can least defend herself.

As for the health club, the harassing men were always different, the manager was never around and the people manning the desks were contract personal fitness trainers and they couldn't have cared less.

You did mention colleges in your email.  However, the latest story I read on 'safe areas' at colleges was about a woman's only study area being closed due to accusations of sexism.

Sounds like a crappy health club.  Hope you didn't lose too much money on that bum deal. 

It was one of the best in town, unfortunately.  Very trendy so I guess people considered it a meat market.

Additionally, Michigan State University receives state funding, so it must comply with state anti-discrimination laws.  Sorry, but I think that making the study area gender-neutral was the right thing for the University to do.

I didn't.  The room was currently being used for the female students who felt  harassed while trying to study.  The students who opposed the closing argued - and had the stats to support it - that more female students felt harassed by male students when trying to study than men did.  So the room wasn't a 'privilege' or a perk.  Who considers needing a room to escape harassing something that's desirable?

Frankly, I don't see much difference between the Feminist call to build a wall around women to protect us from rapist men and Trump's call to build a wall around America to protect us from rapist Mexicans.


Both calls presuppose that the vast majority of men and Mexicans are rapists and we need to be segregated from them for our own protection.  Neither supposition is true, regardless of how some people "feel."

I see a massive difference between the two.  In fact, I see no correlation at all.

ENOUGH men harass women.  Isn't that enough?

Enough to justify giving college women privileged "safe spaces" on the presumption that "enough" males can't be trusted around female students? 

It's not a presumption, Nephele, they have the stats to back it up.

And again, why is it a 'privilege' to have to take oneself out of public spaces to escape harassment?  Why can't some men stop acting like poon hounds? 

America is a wonderful place where citizens have the right to associate with whomever we wish.

Americans also have a right to privacy and NOT having to associate on demand by other people.

I realize that you said "some men" and not "all men."  However, your insistence that women need special study accommodations in colleges implies that all men are a threat.  If it was a matter of just "some men" then they should be individually identified and dealt with by the authorities. 


Anyone who has problems with boundaries and other people should be treated as an individual with a problem -- not as a representative of his or her entire gender, race, ethnicity, religion, whatever.

So if some women have trouble with men raping them, they shouldn't pass any laws, because that "implies" all men are rapists and it should be dealt with on a case by case basis?

If some people have trouble with bigots keeping them from their rights, no civil  rights laws should be passed because it "implies" all people are racists and it should only be dealt with on a case by case basis?

Is that your argument?


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