Attending ceremonies you disagree with - Mothering Forums
1 2 
Spirituality > Attending ceremonies you disagree with
pumpkin's Avatar pumpkin 04:40 PM 09-23-2010
We are a different religion than our families. A sibling is going to perform a religious rite for their infant. It's something we disagree with because we think it should have the consent of the recipient. Do we attend anyway to keep the family peace? It would mean bringing our toddler and I'm not sure how I feel about exposing her to these things. Not only the specific ceremony, but it is being done in the middle of the regular sunday service so we would be attending that as well.
Posted via Mobile Device

odenata's Avatar odenata 04:57 PM 09-23-2010
I'm an atheist, but I would attend the ceremony and feel okay bringing my children. As they grow up, my children will be exposed to lots of different beliefs and religions (purposely, on my part, but also would be anyway), and I would like to be a part of that, to answer any questions they might have, and to help them look at different belief systems thoughtfully and respectfully. My goal is to raise freethinkers, and so I will tell them what I believe, but will also help them to understand other beliefs and religions.

I'm assuming this is an infant baptism. I was raised in a church that did these, and it was considered a way to welcome that baby into the church family. I would want to support my sibling in something that is important to them and their religion, which I don't see as supporting that religion itself. I would attend, but not participate.

A note: When I say my goal is to raise "freethinkers," I am not implying anything about other's goals, or saying that other ways don't promote freethinking. Just explaining where I am coming from.
_ktg_'s Avatar _ktg_ 05:10 PM 09-23-2010
I too am assuming this is baptism or welcoming rite into a faith & community. I would attend with my family as this is a wonderful opportunity to promote respect, tolerance and point out the common elements between the 2 faiths.

My sister had her son's baptism in a beautiful church and I took my boys around and pointed out the elements of my faith which were interwoven into the catholic church.

I will say - the priest did add a wonderful statement before the affirmations which was - please respond if your faith allows. To me that was a wonderful recognition that we all come from different backgrounds/beliefs and treating them with the respect they all deserve.

Unless the ceremony presents elements which are simply out-of-bounds for a child (like dancing naked in a field ), I would read up on the type of ceremony and be able to provide factual answers to their questions about the faith.
texmati's Avatar texmati 05:17 PM 09-23-2010
It depends-- if there was something in the ceremony to which was very incongruous with my faith-- animal slaughter, etc, I would politely decline.

If there was something to which I was morally opposed-- the c-word, for example, I may just decline; and it depends on the situation if I would do it politely.

Otherwise, I would go.
odenata's Avatar odenata 05:17 PM 09-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by _ktg_ View Post
Unless the ceremony presents elements which are simply out-of-bounds for a child (like dancing naked in a field ), I would read up on the type of ceremony and be able to provide factual answers to their questions about the faith.
My kids would love to dance naked in a field! I can barely keep clothes on them at home.
_ktg_'s Avatar _ktg_ 05:27 PM 09-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by odenata View Post
My kids would love to dance naked in a field! I can barely keep clothes on them at home.
I know, right? But its not often you see a sunday service with that element
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 05:32 PM 09-23-2010
I don't attend ceremonies or religious events that are inconsistent with my faith.
KaylaBeanie's Avatar KaylaBeanie 03:46 AM 09-25-2010
No advice, but

My siblings are both religious. I'm not at all. Thankfully my brother/SIL don't practice infant baptism, so it hasn't been an issue. However, my younger sister is insistent that I be the godmother to her future children. I have no idea what I'll say or do when the time comes.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 04:35 AM 09-25-2010
I'm an atheist. I don't really care what anyone does in the the name of their god as long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone. I have attended baptisms, religious weddings and funerals. I was invited to a bar mitzvah but was unable to attend. I would not attend a bris if invited.

You believe that the recipient of this particular religious rite should consent to; according to your beliefs, will it harm the recipient if the rite is performed without his/her consent? Or will it just be null and void? Could the recipient elect to have the rite performed when he or she is of age to consent?
Contrariety's Avatar Contrariety 04:45 AM 09-25-2010
Out of respect and support for our families, DH and I have gone to many church related things. However, now with our kids getting older, we have decided to back off a bit. Mainly because we don't want our parents to use these types of religious rites of passage as a spot to get a wedge in between us and our children, which could happen if it peaked the kids' interest. We are both ex members of the faith to which our families still belong. I don't want to confuse DS about what my beliefs are(n't). We are more than happy, however, to attend the requisite family dinner/get together that always follows. I'm also quick to volunteer to stay behind and get the food ready. We still want to be supportive of the mile markers in our loved ones' lives, but would really rather stay away from the religious parts of it.
A_Random_Phrase's Avatar A_Random_Phrase 04:46 AM 09-25-2010
I would go, unless it was a bris, because I believe that is painful to the infant. A toddler wouldn't have many deep questions, wouldn't be influenced much by it, I would think. If your child were older, you could explain your beliefs in the matter. Like a pp said, children will be exposed to many things you don't believe in.
NewMoonMum's Avatar NewMoonMum 06:31 AM 09-25-2010
I agree with Random. I think it depends on what exactly is happening, if it's something you actually feel is harmful to the child, or simply something you would choose not to do with your own child.
I never could attend a Bris. Way too passionately against circ'ing.
But I also am a firm believer in religious freedom and while we will invite our kids to participate with us in religious rites, they will choose their own religious path, if any. Yet I did attend my nephew's Baptism.
Maybe weigh how strongly against it you feel, against what if any tension it would cause within the family?
enkmom's Avatar enkmom 02:38 PM 09-25-2010
My father hasn't been to church in 50 years, my mother never went to church, and my sisters are athiests. None of them would ever consider Catholicism in a million years, but they all respectfully attended all the sacramental events in my life (I'm a convert) and those of my children. Their presence did not mean that they agreed with what we were doing (they don't), it meant that they respected our beliefs and were happy for us. That's all.
peainthepod's Avatar peainthepod 02:57 PM 09-25-2010
It would depend on the ceremony and how much it conflicted with my morals and beliefs.
Smokering's Avatar Smokering 01:43 AM 09-26-2010
I wouldn't and don't. I didn't attend my nephew's Catholic baptism (come to that, DH's family didn't attend his adult, Protestant baptism either). I did attend SIL's wedding, which was a full-on Catholic nuptial mass - we didn't "do" the mass, but we did go. I guess you could say that was inconsistent, but it seems like celebrating a wedding (or, if it ever comes to that, a death) is different to an event with no civil significance, specifically tied to a doctrine we don't believe. We still celebrated the pregnancy and birth with other occasions, such as the baby shower, so it's not like we were ignoring the kid's existence.
kcstar's Avatar kcstar 03:08 AM 09-26-2010
I also say it depends on the event and your beliefs. I can remember my Catholic parents specifically not attending at least one wedding because either the Bride or Groom had been married before. And I'm sure my parents would ONLY have attended a same-sex wedding in very limited circumstances (i.e., had it been a wedding for one of their children).

As a Unitarian Universalist Pagan, I'm a lot less worried about things like that.

I have not been invited to a Bris. I think that if I do receive an invitation, it would be because I was close to that family, and I would give serious consideration to attending to honor that closeness, despite my dislike of circumcision.

Coming from a Catholic background, I have no problem attending an infant baptism. I would probably have to stay silent or revise my phrasing for any promises the congregation is asked to make, but I don't see a reason not to attend.

But for you, with your concern about consent of the recipient, I think 2xy's questions are key.
Quote:
You believe that the recipient of this particular religious rite should consent to; according to your beliefs, will it harm the recipient if the rite is performed without his/her consent? Or will it just be null and void? Could the recipient elect to have the rite performed when he or she is of age to consent?

pumpkin's Avatar pumpkin 03:31 AM 09-26-2010
I can attend weddings and funerals in other faiths and it doesn't bother me. It's because the adults are choosing to practice their faith. It seems different when it is imposed on a child.

We have decided to attend to keep the family peace. This particular ceremony is not worth taking a stand. We still aren't sure we want DD at the service, but if we attend she has to come. That is partly because we don't know what message might come in the typical
Sunday service at this church and partly because it will mean getting DD up earlier than normal and asking her to sit quietly for
way too long. We can barely go out to a quick dinner with her. I don't think she can sit quietly on a bench for
1.5 hours. We will probably have DH and I take separate cars. That way DD and I can come in a little late and slip out after the
part of the event involving our family.
Posted via Mobile Device
ktgrok's Avatar ktgrok 12:27 PM 09-26-2010
"we don't know what message might come in the typical
Sunday service at this church"

Maybe you should research this so you are more comfortable?
Amatullah0's Avatar Amatullah0 05:00 PM 09-26-2010
we attend ceremonies that the involved family members see as important, and want us to go to. For example, I go to funerals, and weddings, and I have even gone to church services that my grandfather wanted me to attend, because he had payed the church to say "and we pray for (deceased grandmothers name) and her family, and (insert a long list of other people/families here)" We don't participate in the services(i.e. they are catholic, so theres a lot of standing, kneeling, and repeating after the priest, none of which we do) AND, I explain to DS that we don't believe in these things, and I tell him what we do believe in(even though he is so young, even when he was only about 7months at his first funeral) If it was an issue of sitting through a long service, and a lot of objectionable material, I would be sure to bring something for DS to entertain himself with(quietly) and sit/stand outside the hall, and come in the room for the baptism(or whatever it is)
anj_rn's Avatar anj_rn 06:59 PM 09-26-2010
We do attend services for our family members of different faiths (Grandparents are catholic, mom, sis & BIL are jewish, also have pagans, atheists, etc. we are protestant). We explain to my son where we are going and what we are doing. If he has questions we explain what other pople beleive and how that differs from what we believe. We do not treat it any differently than other things we do (i.e. cousin of same age has light sabers and toy guns because his parents are OK with that. Mommy & daddy do not want you to play with those because they hurt people and it is not ok to hurt people even if you are just pretending.)

It has worked very well so far.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 12:45 AM 09-27-2010
Well I wouldn't go to a Sunday morning thing because it would mean I would have to miss church. But I would certainly join any after church celebration they had to commemorate the event. I would't have a problem attending if it were at a different time probably. There are some protestant churches I just cannot attend. my friend renewed her vows the other day and even though it was a huge deal to her I could not go because I could not stand to be in that environment. I wanted to go. planned to go. Got her a little wedding gift (I did not go to her real wedding and thought this would be cute) but when they time came could not leave my house to go. And even when I was planning on going I was planning on leaving my kids home because I did not want my children to be exposed to such horrid doctrine on any level (they are older though, 14, 10, 7, and more likely to pick up on the details than a 2 year old.)
A_Random_Phrase's Avatar A_Random_Phrase 02:08 AM 09-27-2010
pumpkin, it sounds like you've got it figured out.

In our family, those not a member of the church hosting the ritual only went to that meeting. Very rarely would they stay for Sunday School. And, if you have a very active child, I would think no one would care if you took DD out if she became too active.
CherryBomb's Avatar CherryBomb 07:36 PM 09-27-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
It would depend on the ceremony and how much it conflicted with my morals and beliefs.
I agree with this. It would depend on the specific service as well as exactly who it was for. I'd be more likely to attend services I disagreed with for immediate family than extended, family, for instance.
EFmom's Avatar EFmom 12:29 AM 09-28-2010
Certain things, involving body modification, I wouldn't do for anyone.

Weddings or funerals for the most part, I can do.

Indoctrination of infants or confirmations into the religion make me very uncomfortable. I generally go, if it's for someone I love, but I feel sick the whole time.
philomom's Avatar philomom 12:36 AM 09-28-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
Certain things, involving body modification, I wouldn't do for anyone.

Weddings or funerals for the most part, I can do.

Indoctrination of infants or confirmations into the religion make me very uncomfortable. I generally go, if it's for someone I love, but I feel sick the whole time.
Took the words right out of my mouth!
Bluegoat's Avatar Bluegoat 12:38 AM 09-28-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
Certain things, involving body modification, I wouldn't do for anyone.

Weddings or funerals for the most part, I can do.

Indoctrination of infants or confirmations into the religion make me very uncomfortable. I generally go, if it's for someone I love, but I feel sick the whole time.
How does one indoctrinate an infant?
lovebug's Avatar lovebug 12:49 AM 09-28-2010
i would attend. i use o et so upse with my uncle and is family because they would never attend family events because of this. if its not harming anyone, then i would 100% show my support in te fact that i care about my family.
Viola's Avatar Viola 12:54 AM 09-28-2010
If I were only going to keep family peace, and it was something that would really bother me, I most likely wouldn't go. I'm not sure if I'd go to a bris. I probably would go to a baptism or a confirmation even if it was for a religion of which I was not a participant. Different faiths have different beliefs surrounding baptism or weddings, and it might help to know what the beliefs are behind one that I was attending. It might help to know with a bris, but I think that is one I still would have issues with.

Quote:
How does one indoctrinate an infant?
My church practices infant baptism. It's really about a commitment that the parents have to make, not the child. We see baptism as a symbol that God's grace is freely given, that he doesn't withhold it from those who cannot make an active decision to receive it. I didn't have my children baptized, however, because I wasn't sure that *I* could hold up my end of the baptismal covenant. My children would be free to choose their own spiritual path regardless of whether they were baptized or not.
EFmom's Avatar EFmom 11:10 AM 09-28-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
How does one indoctrinate an infant?
Incorporation would have been a better word choice.
Areia's Avatar Areia 02:32 PM 09-28-2010
This is not something that ever bothered me. Our friends and family want us there to celebrate with them so I'm honored to be included. I don't participate in every part of the service, but will sit and listen quietly during those portions. I don't really think of it as participating in a ceremony - I'm there as an observer lending support and celebrating an important event in their lives.
1 2 

Up