This is from Annie’s Mailbox, a column in our local paper, The Daily Breeze, July 15, 2007.
What do you do when people try to push their religion on you? I was approached by someone the other day, and she made me very uncomfortable since I don’t agree with a lot of what she said. She also insisted upon leaving a pamphlet with me. I don’t want to join this religion, and certainly don’t want to carry their material with me. How do I politely, yet firmly, make them leave me alone? I don’t want to be rude, but I might snap like a dog that’s been poked too many times with a stick. What do I do? —RELIGIOUS ENOUGH
Are these people you know or people who approach you on the street or ring your doorbell? If you don’t know them, it’s OK to be dismissive and ignore their efforts to proselytize. Say, “No, thank you,” and close the door or keep walking. If these are “friends,” you will need to be more assertive. Tell them directly, “I would appreciate it if you would stop pushing your religious beliefs on me.” If necessary, end the conversation by leaving. Throw away any literature you don’t want. And stop feeling guilty about it.