Sunday, June 1, 2008

Publix + Jesus = BFF

Seeing a pattern? If not, please refer to my previous post and then laugh at my hysterical joke. If you don't laugh, well, tough.

Anyhow, here's a little tidbit of information for my mommies out there: Atheist, jewish, catholic, buddhist, rastafari, muslim, great-pumpkinites, whatever. Did you know that Publix is BFF with Jesus? I didn't. And I like Publix. My neighborhood Publix is awesome. The manager, a very dashing Mr. Tom Chiles is one very cool cat and always makes an effort to say hello. Plus, the store is clean and nice and has great food and Dante always gets a cookie from Rhonda at the Bakery. So, I like Publix. Publix is my friend. I like Publix so much that when Dante was born, I joined their Baby Club and got a big childcare book for free (a $20 value) and coupons quarterly for the past two years! Nice eh?

But alas, Publix is BFF with Jesus and I have an issue with that. Not because I'm jealous and want Publix all to myself, but because I have this teensy weensy eensy beensy issue with corporations that do business with faith-based organizations. You see, I'm a firm believer (no pun intended) in that little notion that faith and religion are private matters; issues that should be personal and not shoved into everyone's face. If you love Jesus, good for you! If you think Cabbage should be sacred and prayed to, then go for it! If you believe that we're all aliens from the planet Craputron and that we should all worship a left over tuna sandwich, go right ahead! I'm not here to stop you. What I am here to stop you from doing is reminding me and proselytizing to me about why I should believe what you do and how I am wrong if I do not. Now, when a public corporation gets into cahoots with an organization like this, I get a little icky feeling in my stomach and get cranky. No, it's not the "Angry Atheist" in me that feels this way, rather it's the Human Being that I am that believes that everyone is entitled to a voice, not just those who scream the loudest about being right.

So why do I now think that Publix and Jesus are BFF? Well, since Dante is turning 2 next month, he has now "graduated" to the Publix Preschool Club. We got the paperwork for it the other day and I filled it out and signed him up on their website. It's pretty much the same thing as the Baby Club but the actitivies, newsletters, and coupons are now geared more toward a toddler and older child. I didn't have much time to check out the site the other day so I just signed him up and let it be. Tonight, though, I had time to peruse the website more clearly and in reading some of the activities and guides for parents I noticed a logo advertisement at the end of each article that said MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and then a website. I clicked the site and THIS is what I got:

MOPS International is a Christian non-profit organization that believes in working with local Christian churches/parachurches to maximize ministry opportunities to God’s Kingdom. MOPS programs are chartered in churches of many different denominations and Christian traditions, but all share the common desire to reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to bring glory to God in everything.

Um, say wha? This is what the Publix Preschool Club is about? Sorry "sisters in Christ" but this "sister" is saying "sayonara" to Publix Preschool Club and kindly telling you to take your faith-based organization and shove it up your glory hole. Catch my drift? What the hell does Jesus have to do with being a mother and raising a preschooler? Why the hell has Publix decided to join up with this group of idiots? What, I have to believe in an imaginary friend or I won't get $1.00 off Huggies Diapers? Give me a break. I'm really disappointed in Publix for aligning themselves with such a close minded, biased organization. And again, I'm not speaking as an Atheist here, I'm speaking as a non-Christian. There are MILLIONS of people who do not believe in the same *ahem* tenets this organization has so gallantly posted on its site, so not only are they excluding mothers who are non-believers, they are excluding all other non-Christian mothers.

So, of course, I cancelled my membership and in the "reasons for cancelling" box I clicked "other" and when asked to explain I did. I simply stated that I did not support faith-based organizations and as a non-Christian I would not be a part of a club whose main contributor was a group that clearly discriminates and excludes those who are different and who believe differently than they do. I also told them that religion and parenting and coupons didn't belong in the same sentence, let alone the same room.

And now I'm pondering writing a letter to Publix. I don't know. I've just got this really bad taste in my mouth from all of it. It's really frustrating sometimes to be a non-Jesus lover because it seems like those who are BFF with Jesus ruin it for the rest of us with their shouting and yelling and butting into everything. I've lost my Publix now too. *sniff*


Anna & Ryan said...

The Taco Time (chain restaurant in case you don't have it) plays the Christian station 24/7. So if you go in to have a taco salad you're listening to Life 92.2 or whatever the whole time. It makes me want to stick a hot poker in my ear, but it also makes me annoyed, because if someone was playing devil worship music in their restaurant that wouldn't be cool. You know? Can't we just listen to oldies or something neutral? Geez!

Richard said...

Let me begin my comment by saying I am employed with Publix, and am familiar with the Preschool Pals Program and Baby Club program. And on behalf of Publix, I'm sorry you decided to cancel your participation in our Preschool Pals Program. Upon researching the MOPS organization, I find that their faith related statements are buried a bit in their website, and certainly isn't the forefront of their mission. This organization appears to exist to assist mothers of all faiths/creeds/colors/etc. I think the canceling of your membership was too hasty, as the Publix Preschool Pals programs features NONE of the MOPS organization's religious statements, and is only assisted in ways the involve parenting and childhood activities, ones that are also completely devoid of religious preference.

Your main statement, through some twisted use of the transitive property, that Publix is suddenly directly aligned with the Christian religion, is a ridiculous one. If such a thing were so, Publix would not sell such "vices" as beer, tobacco, or lottery, or even Jewish food products.

You qualify your argument with that you care not what people may believe, but your rant ends with how the percieved presence of a Christian influence within the bowels of Publix makes you disgusted. Even if Publix WERE a Christian company, until Plato the Publixaurus begins to quote Bible verses, and my cashier preaches to me on my way through the line, I don't see any problem with it. All that matters is quality customer service, and being a premiere food retailer.

My only question to you is, if the MOPS organization were an explicitly atheistic organization, using its resources to promote the notion of atheism in children, who you take offense? Based on your reaction to the situation at hand, you should, because it's the same thing both ways.

Alessia said...

Great comment Richard. Let me clarify that I still adore my Publix and actually shopped there yesterday.

My issue with Publix's affiliation with MOPS was clearly stated and no, MOPS' mission statement is not "buried" in its website, rather it is clearly displayed at the bottom of each article of the Publix Preschool Pal's website. Hence my initial curiosity as to how "faith-based" this organization was.

As to your question regarding whether or not I would feel the same way if MOPS was an Atheist organization pushing non-belief, of course I would. If I didn't I would be a hypocrite and I am many things but a hypocrite is not one of them. I would feel the same way if MOPS promoted intifadas.

I think you missed my points clearly stating that I was offended by this group not as an Atheist, but as a non-Christian. Religion has no business in how children are raised and certainly has no business promoting itself (all the while excluding those who aren't like them)on a website that should be dedicated to raising healthy, happy children who are tolerant.

If MOPS and Publix want to continue their relations, I certainly cannot stop them. But I do have the freedom to express my disappointment and to remove myself from the club. Religion is for churches and places of worship. It has no place in a PUBLIC forum for children.

But thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your input and am glad that I'm not the only one reading my blogs.

Alessia said...

One more thing, Richard. There is something to be said about "tongue in cheek". Of course, I do not believe that Publix and Jesus are now "best friends forever" because of their affiliation with a biased faith based organization. If you read my previous blog, would you say that I believed that Target was really in line with Satan?

It is important to have a sense of humor about things and the world around you, and although my issue with MOPS is genuine, you cannot honestly believe that I now think that Publix is akin to a Christian church where one must take communion just so they can oder a half-pound of turkey breast at the deli? Because I don't. I'm sure that there are hundreds, no thousands of corporations that I do business with that are affiliated in some way with religious organizations. I just haven't joined their preschool clubs and discovered it yet. When I do, maybe I'll write another blog and title it, IHOP + Jesus = BFF.

So just relax. I still love Publix. I just don't want to be in their Preschool Club.

Autodidact said...

Jewish food, a vice? who knew! oy!

Alessia said...

I know! Who knew Matzoh Ball soup and Gefilte fish were vices?

Anonymous said...

I can see that someone like you doesn't understand the need for religion in raising a child. So probably your child will grow up to be a crack addict who sells drugs to pay for the terrorists to blow stuff up. You must also support Mr. OSAMA OBAMA for president. Damn hippies think they know stuff. I go to Publix because of the fact that they subsidize Jesus! I mean that means when I buy my skol and Miller, it's blessed by the all mighty himself, no not Jeff Gordon. When my wife/sister usees her Summer's Eve, it's likes Jesus is her OTB...or You that dude at the clinic that shoves things in her hooha to make sure she don't have the kancer or another dudes kid,( I'm talkin' to you DAD!) Anyway all I gots to say is, when I go to Publix, I now feel confident that I am getting a healthy dose of the good book, Fish & Game, and the good book goes a long way with my Taco flavored Pork Rinds.

- Clue Club

P.S. - Hey smarty pants, its Kraputronz. Duh.

Alessia said...

Ladies and Gentlemen....

My brother, the comedian.

And you thought I was the only funny one in the family. My brother tops the list with this.

JM said...

They kick you out of the club soon enough anyway.