Before Thanksgiving my wife and I got a mailing from Kaufman Homes, a business here in Salem, Oregon.
We use Kaufman's Home Maintenance, a quarterly service where a Kaufman handyman guy checks a bunch of things in your house and does minor repairs as needed.
I like that I no longer have to maneuver through the crawl space under our house to change the filters on our two heat pump air handlers. That was never fun, and it got less fun the older I became.
What surprised us was the decidedly Christian message Kaufman Homes sent to their customers. This is the front and back of the fold-out mailing. The inside parts were fine -- some advertising along with a group photo of all their employees.
Well, Kaufman Team, here's my sincere response to your sincere gratitude.
My wife and I like your company. But we're atheists. We have no interest in giving thanks to the Lord, because we don't believe in God. Nor do we have the slightest interest in experiencing the hope and joy of Christ, because we don't believe in Jesus.
I suspect that for various reasons, many of your other customers didn't appreciate your Christian mailing either. Maybe they're atheists like us. Maybe they're Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or some other religion.
And maybe they're part of the growing number of "none's," people who don't embrace any organized religion, yet don't consider themselves atheist, falling into the spiritual but not religious camp.
Regardless, I can't understand why a business would assume that all of their customers are open to a Christian message. It must be that the owners of Kaufman Homes are so avidly Christian, they feel a duty or calling to spread a Christian message to their customers.
But how would the owners feel if, say, they got a mailing from a business urging them to experience the hope and joy of Allah this holiday season. Or telling them to give thanks that they have forsaken religion for atheism.
It doesn't seem to be a good business practice to tailor a holiday message to a subset of customers, even if, as is almost certainly the case, most of those customers are Christian.
We live in a pluralistic society where everyone is free to follow whatever religion they choose, or to not follow any sort of religion at all -- as my wife and I do. Until we got the mailing, we spent zero time pondering whether Kaufman Homes was a Christian business. We simply liked the service they offered.
Now, though, it feels weird that Kaufman Homes used their business relationship with us to basically proselytize in the name of Christ. Naturally we're unaffected by the mailing we got. Atheists like us are used to living in a largely Christian nation where often it's assumed that everybody loves Jesus.
I just wanted to share how we felt about the mailing.