When it came to jewelry, the rule was simple. Don’t wear anything flashy, like dangling earrings, or necklaces that will reflect light into the camera. Makes sense. But I never thought that wearing a cross necklace would be considered “flashy.”
The first time I wore one to work, I was told to take it off because it would be distracting to the audience. I wanted to keep my TV job so much; I did it. It didn’t seem to matter to management that I wasn’t covering religion.
While putting the cross — given to me by my parents — in my purse, I told myself that it was the right thing to do in the name of objectivity. I convinced myself that management was right, and I needed to keep my religious views hidden, so I didn’t appear biased. I got the message: Real reporters don’t wear religious symbols.
As the years went on, and my crosses hung in my jewelry box, I realized that I didn’t even feel right wearing them outside of the TV station either. In my head, the unofficial work rule bled into my personal life, taking me farther away from God. Somehow, I thought, someone will see me wearing a cross in a grocery store and decide that I’m not objective, and then I’d be denied the ability to report the news, a job I loved.