I guess I could have mentioned that I work for a federal agency, and the guy in question was maybe 2 or 3 from the top in the national hierarchy. Which you may or may not consider relevant.
I also take issue with those of you who are Americans and say, "You don’t know it meant Christian prayer."
In one word - bullshit. I’m not sure what America you guys might have been living in, but it is a different one from mine if you know a whole bunch of white males with Italian-sounding surnames who worked for the federal government for more than 3 decades, who practice a faith other than Catholicism or protestantism. May be one or 2, but not many more.
Heck, across all “caucasian” US citizens, I bet Christianity trumps all other religions combined. And in the society I have lived in, the majority of white males retiring from high positions in government or business, would attest to Christian beliefs. YMMV - but I doubt it.
I’m certainly not upset about this. Heck, in terms of the intentional and non-intentional slights a nonbeliever experiences every day, this one barely makes the radar. But I thought it was mildly interesting.
IMO, it is entirely different for a government official, or even a manager in most private industries, to reference their religion, than it is for one of the subordinates, or any person in their private life. Unless you work for a church - or a religion-related business or charity, I feel your religion should be largely seperate from your business life. Of course, you should be permitted to wear crosses, yarmulkes, or head scarves to the extent it does not interfere with your job functions or pose a safety hazard. But that is, IMO, far different from referencing your religion in an officewide memo.
For those who try to analogize religion to exercise, smoking, etc. - I suggest religion as a protected class has a vastly distinct legal character than those attributes/preferences.
Finally, for me, the real impact of this reference to prayer was to suggest that there was an irrational element to his decision-making. I find it interesting. A great many people would see his statement and think, "Wow! He prayed over the decision. Shows what a tough decision it was and how hard he searched for the correct answer."
For me, I wonder why he didn’t go the whole nine yards and kill a chicken so as to examine its entrails…