A while ago I decided to look one of my good friends from High School. We had drifted apart in college in large part due to his becoming more and more involved with the Campus Crusade for Christ and finding less and less room in his life for incorrigible non-believers such as myself. To be fair I wasn’t interested in keeping in touch with him either, as he became more of a fundamentalist hanging out wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
Anyway, like I said I decided to look him up. I had known that he’d become a dentist and found his practice’s website, where unsurprisingly he describes himself as a “committed Christian.” This got me thinking, how many dentists out there, especially in America, describe themselves as committed / devout Christians on their official website, and the answer is quite a few. I picked dentists because that was my entry into this line of inquiry and because it’s the most common quasi-medical specialty. Searching for actual medical doctors generally requires a specialty, and it was harder for me to find examples of cardiologists, etc who wear their religions on their professional sleeves. Usually when other professionals are described as committed / proud / or devout Christians it’s in the context of a church website write-up or in an obituary describing the kind of life a person had led.
So anyway, for the purposes of this post, the specific observation is about Christian dentists, and how they feel that advertising their strong devotion to a specific religion is a benefit to their practice. I’m sure that one could find medical doctors, CPA’s, lawyers, even plumbers who advertise their Christianity, but for some reason maybe somebody else can explain it’s really easy to find the dentists.
This wouldn’t be noteworthy in itself except that the phenomenon isn’t shared by dentists who adhere to other religions. I haven’t seen a single American dentist’s professional website that advertises their status as a proud Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist. Again, I’m sure there’s an outlier to be found somewhere, but it’s not readily apparent and I’m fairly certain atheistic dentists don’t ever advertise on that basis.
There’s also a deeply patriarchal aspect to what I’m seeing. Almost invariably the term Christian is accompanied by descriptions of the practitioner as a husband, father, grandfather or family man. Obviously churches tend historically to be heavily male dominated institutions, so this isn’t all that surprising. Women don’t seem to advertise on the basis of their faith nearly as frequently, or at all that I can find. Literally the only “Christian” female dentist search result I got was for someone who’s last name was Christian.
So it’s all the more remarkable when Christian Americans pretend they’re being persecuted, that their faith and religious freedoms are under attack. Theirs, it seems, is the only religious identity in this country that certain professionals feel makes prospective clients and patients more comfortable, because if it didn’t they wouldn’t put it on their websites.