A friend and co-worker made a trip to Ireland over the summer.  She knows I love all things Celtic, so before she left, she asked if I wanted anything.  I told her I'd love a Celtic knot pendant or something along those lines, and I gave her a price range that I'd be willing to pay.  She said she'd do her best.

Today, she came over  and brought me a T-Shirt.  She apologized for it not being a pendant, but she said she didn't see anything in the price range I gave her that didn't look cheap.  Ordinarily, that would be fine.  I agree that I'd prefer not to get something that looks trinkety, and I wear T-Shirts all the time.  The problem is it's stylish black T with a  big honkin' Celtic cross on it.

Now, I actually like the looks of the Celtic cross, but wearing this will definitely make it appear that I am endorsing something I absolutely do not.  I paid her for it, and I certainly appreciate the gesture (I'm 99% positive it wasn't done in spite.  I doubt she knows I'm an atheist), but she will wonder, I'm sure, why I never wear it.  I thought at first I'd wear it when I work out, but many of my students often come in the the fitness center.

I guess I should have been more clear about what I liked.



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It's a shame how they've managed to corner the cross entirely for one religion. I saw an absolutely gorgeous cross necklace that I'd love to have, if I wasn't afraid of being mistaken for a Christian. .__.

What you should do is tell her that you do love celtic crosses but that the message it sends to fellow people is that you are of a religion you don't adhere to. And you do not want to deal with people's assumptions about your personal beliefs, especially students.
It's just a nice pattern.

Funny, here in the U.K. I wouldn't assume anyone wearing it was a Christian. People wear T-shirts
with all sorts of variants of symbols and flags just because they're cool T-shirts.

Now a swastika would be different...
Not the case here, I assure you. If I wore that in public, I'd be asked a couple of times what church I go to in the first few hours.
Is the cross on the back or the front? If it's on the back, perhaps you could wear it under a blazer just to show her that you do appreciate and wear it. If it's on the front it's trickier, but I suppose you could wear it under a dark dress shirt.
I don't think crosses really mean you are religious, but I do think if you wear one and aren't religious you might not really be thinking. But that is because I get people in my work all the time that want to get a tattoo of a cross or an angel. I ask them, "Would you consider yourself religious?" and when they say, "No" or "Not really." I tend to think, most people don't think about things, but only because they are considered publicly acceptable and look cool. I tell them that maybe they want to rethink what they want to wear on their body for the rest of their life, and make sure that it fits who they are really.

I completely understand the not wanting to wear the cross thing, I wouldn't. I am uncomfortable that we even have crosses and a few religious themed paintings in my work place. She just put them there because they were cheap at a garage sale, and it was pretty design to fill the space. But it makes me uncomfortable.

I hear people say how they like it when people don't push their religion on other people. That is how it should be. Screw that. If I cam in spouting about how the unicorn god would save us all from the trolls and gelflings, they would tell me how crazy I am. I grow more and more intolerant of society.
If she ask just tell her you hung the shirt on your wall.
I would wear it anyways if it looked cool, firstly because I do not care what people think and secondly because said "religious" symbols have no significance for me whatsoever. A cross means nothing to me because I pushed its meaning out of my mind so to speak.

That being said, I understand your situation. I think you should tell your friend next time she buys something for you that you don't like that kind of symbolism, and I'm sure your students are intelligent enough to know that you're not endorsing or part of any kind of religion.
Bear in mind it's not a boring cross and will probably look like an expression of Irishness (in this case) rather than Christianity. However, you seem to know the judgements the people around you will make and I can't disagree.
It's a shame that you can't wear it outside, at least without something over it. If it's comfy and you derive personal satisfaction from wearing the pattern, sleep in it or wear it on days you don't plan to leave the house/sofa. This is what I do with my unacceptably nerdy t-shirts, as people come up to me with similar misapprehensions when I wear my MatLab shirt (it was free okay, and the misapprehensions are usually more fun than being asked what church I attend).
Or just wait until the 17th March. If you can't wear it then, well that's just ridiculous.
Haha, that's actually a great idea. I wear too-large or nerdy shirts on days I don't leave the house as well.
Or just explain that they've horribly misunderstood and how dreadfully embarrassed you are that it wasn't clear that what you meant to be identify yourself as was a crucifixion fan.

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