|Take the sentiment and reverse it for me.|
Now let me make this utterly clear. She didn't say it in any sort of condescending or challenging way. She was genuinely concerned that I would be put out by the prayer, and she was simply doing her duty as a hostess to see to the wellbeing of her guests. I took it in the spirit it was intended and let her know that I was perfectly fine with it as long as it didn't require audience participation. It didn't, and after the forty-five seconds of prayer was over, we continued to have a good time for the evening.
That incident really typifies my experiences since I began letting people know my feelings on matters religious. I personally have experienced very little animosity from my theistic friends. People who know me just seem to accept it even if they don't understand or agree with it. From former students (Hi, Allison!) to fellow teachers, to the staff at the school, everyone seems to accept a person's beliefs as personal matter, and they don't let it cloud their ideas about what constitutes a good person or a good educator. The reverse is true as well. A number of folks close to me have deep rooted beliefs that I do not share in the least, but I recognize them as intelligent, vibrant, caring human beings who I am fortunate to have in my life.
I guess what it comes down to is that even though I feel on the large scale theistic beliefs do more harm than good, that doesn't mean that I hold the same for the individuals who accept those beliefs.