L, the lady who comes to help my mother with chores around the house was crying today. I asked her why and she said her daughter had converted to another religion. Her daughter works at a small scale factory, making some plastic ware. She discovered the religious pendant on her daughter’s chain yesterday.
When confronted by the family, her daughter told her that everyone in the factory had been coerced into converting. Refusal meant losing the job. When I suggested she could find work elsewhere, L sobbed louder and said all factories were the same. They all wanted you to convert.
I am not particularly religious, and don’t see the problem if the whole world were to convert overnight to one or another religion. What does bother me is the use of coercion. Forcing anything on anyone, whether a religion or a food habit or a clothing sensibility, gets my hackles all raised and my neck bristling.
I feel helpless for L, because they need the money her daughter brings home desperately. Buying their religious allegiance is blatant exploitation. Being told if you don’t want to convert, you are free to quit the job is clearly giving you a false choice. But I don’t know what options she has, considering her daughter did not even complete class 8. If anyone reading this has something to suggest, I would be happy to hear it.