When atheists are form filling, how do they answer the question "what is your religion?"? For most of my life I have written “No religion” or “Atheist”. But when I was a 17-year old schoolboy in the 1950s applying to get into St Peter’s College at Oxford University I encountered this question and I answered carefully by writing “C of E”. All the undergraduate colleges were nominally Christian with heads called Masters.
My response proved to be a useful device because everyone in England knows that C of E stands for the established Church of England---yet it was not what it meant to me.
For me it stood for Critic of the Establishment.
Phew. I can only add that by good fortune at the interviews I was never asked questions about religion. I had been so sheltered from religious practice that, as I recall, I was 15 before I saw the inside of a church, and only then because out of curiosity one day I went inside one just to see what the interior looked like.
I am appalled if not surprised at your experience, Beth. It may not be especially polite, but sometimes letting the hospital know you have a figurative "round in the chamber" with the safety off is what it takes to keep them from subjecting you to unwanted proselytism. That hospital staff is complicit in such actions makes it all the worse. And, of course, this once again reminds me of a favorite quote:
"Mr. MacClure," Kiku said softly, "as a distinguished predecessor once said, in dealing with certain types you must step on their toes until they apologize."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, The Star Beast
Here's an attitude which I suspect is shared by many of us with respect to hospital shamans prowling the halls. From time markers 7:25 to 9:30