I've been dealing with a rather uncomfortable situation for the last few days...
To understand it best it's probably better to start from the beginning. I was raised in a very traditional, but rather liberal, Christian denomination. My Mom was ordained as a deacon when I was a teenager, by that time I had drifted away from the church as teenagers do...
Later in my early twenties I came back to the church, same denomination different parish, where my Mom was stationed at the time, as a part of my general "getting my crap together period" where I met a guy I'll call "Bob" and all was well for a couple years.
Then the crap kinda hit the fan, when the denomination decided to finally start ordaining openly LGBTQ, partnered, priests and bishops. I was thrilled, I wasn't "out" then, but I had a few friends in the community and it seemed like the right thing to do.
Unfortunately the particular parish I was involved with, where my ex-wife and I were married, and my Mom was a clergy person, disagreed with the body of the larger Church and decided to have a meeting about it.
And there was "Bob" leading the charge to, more or less, schism with the Church, and making wise cracks about "praying away the gay." Bob being something of a lay-leader drew a lot of people to his side. Which to be honest was absolutely devastating. I really loved these people. I went through a lot of stuff with them, so it was incredibly hurtful to hear them say what they were saying about LGBTQ people.
Being me, I couldn't help, but say what I was thinking.
There's a really ugly word in the English language. "Faggot" a bundle of sticks, it comes from our people, back when we used to burn people alive for being gay. When we talk about these things it's probably worth remembering our history.
I realize that may not be an accurate origin of the term, but I'm not the only person who's connected those dots: https://youtu.be/Vi8zeaxtB-w
In any case that's when I left the church. I couldn't bear the idea of being associated with that kind of hate.
Now, here's the uncomfortable situation, I've been having to deal with Bob all week at work. And he keeps trying to talk to me...He absolutely knows I'm not interested in having a conversation about why I left the church and how he contributed to that. I'm at work. I know you can't argue with religious zealots.
Part of me really wants to rip his worldview a new one, but I know it's a lost cause. The larger international church is on my side, but it doesn't matter for a guy like Bob. He's simply convinced of what he believes, and there's no way to argue with that.
What should I do to avoid a confrontation with "Bob"?
I'm not at all interested in talking with "Bob" about anything. Unfortunately, I've been put in a position where I have to be in close proximity, while I'm at work.
Bob is not a colleague, co-worker, or in the hierarchy of the organization that I work for. More of a customer, in a hospitality environment.
I work for a religious non-profit organization, that's effectively owned by the larger Church. Going to HR isn't really an option in this case, because the organization is pretty small and doesn't really have an HR person. Being a religious non-profit some of the usual work related solutions aren't available.
My only goal is to avoid conflict with Bob. We both have very strong and opposing views and I know that talking to him will likely lead to a massive problem/argument.
I've already tried polite brush offs on his first couple of approaches, but every time I pass him he tries to engage.