Religious Symbols - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 01-02-2002, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
cynthia mosher's Avatar
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Religious symbols

This topic was originally posted in this forum: Spirituality
Author Topic: Religious symbols
Member posted 06-30-2001 06:49 PM
I am a practising Catholic. I don't talk about God unless someone else intitiates the conversation, I'm in Church, talking to my children or here on the Spirituality forum. I wear a cross around my neck if I am wearing clothes that cover it up. If not, I take it off, especially at work. I'm not ashamed of my spiritual beliefs but I am so worried about offending other people who may not share my faith. I am not offended by other people's religious symbols, I'm actually facinated by them. Am I right in being discreet or am I just worrying about nothing? Does anyone else feel this way?

Member posted 06-30-2001 09:39 PM
I wear a cross sometimes when I feel like wearing a necklace. I am a little perplexed though I must say about the fact that you don't wear it in fear of offending others. Why do you feel this way? I am genuinely curious, not being rude. Dh and I have close friends that are Hindus, we stay at their house which is decorated with many references to their religion & vise versa if they come to our house. When we go somewhere together in public, we each all wear whatever we feel comfortable in, with or w/out our religious attire or jewlery, etc. We all get along wonderfully and our differences aren't offensive to each other. Maybe people are more accepting of differences than you think? Just a thought.

Member posted 07-01-2001 04:45 AM
That is really my question. Am I worried too much about offending others? Are non Christians offended by my statement of my faith?

Member posted 07-01-2001 06:27 AM
Speaking on behalf of all non-Christians everywhere ...
no, no, just kidding. Speaking on behalf of myself only, I can't imagine being so petty as to be offended by you wearing a cross. Piffle. There's always someone willing to take offense at the smallest things, but those arent' really people whose opinion you want to consider anyway.

Now, mind you, there's a big difference between wearing a cross and wearing a tee shirt that says in large lettering "I'M CHRISTIAN AND THE REST OF YOU ARE IDIOTS" or some such thing.

Wear your cross, and take the comfort it gives you. Only a mean-spirited person would begrudge you that.

(It goes without saying that when you encounter someone wearing a pentacle, you'll treat them with the same respect, right? actually, since I just said it, it doesnt' go without saying at all, but you know what I mean.)

Ginger in the woods
Member posted 07-01-2001 11:39 AM
I heard that there are people who get offended at the sight of people wearing a cross, because they say, "if your son died by a needle, would you wear a hypodermic around your neck???" I dont agree with that one, that's just what I heard. ~Ginger

Member posted 07-01-2001 11:55 AM
One thing that I wear is a very, very small virgin mary charm around my neck. You can't really tell what it is, unless you get very close. It's comforting to me and gives me strength (especially as a mother). And I also decided to get it instead of a cross, so not to offend anyone.

Member posted 07-02-2001 05:33 AM
I am not offended at all by someone wearing a symbol of their faith, and quite frankly, don't understand why anyone WOULD be. However, I do understand your hesitance to declare your faith to the masses, simply because it's a sad fact that religious persecution is alive and well in the 21st Century. Although, as a Catholic, you would probably be less likely to have someone confront you because you 'offended' them, by wearing a symbol of your faith, than I would for wearing my pentacle.

Member posted 07-02-2001 09:00 AM

Originally posted by Kel:
Although, as a Catholic, you would probably be less likely to have someone confront you because you 'offended' them, by wearing a symbol of your faith, than I would for wearing my pentacle.

Your statement is very sad but very true. If only everyone could open up their minds to understand that we all find comfort in different rituals and beliefs.

Member posted 07-02-2001 01:00 PM
I have never been bothered by religious jewelry worn by other people. I don't even notice it most of the time. The exception is very large cross necklaces worn by males -- I notice those. (Not to take offense or anything, although I do tend to think that the guys who wear outsized crosses seem to REALLY REALLY REALLY want me to know that they're Christian.)
I find some of the Christian t-shirts out there to be tasteless. (Like the "LORD'S GYM: HIS PAIN IS YOUR GAIN" t-shirt, just to name one offhand.) But I think plenty of the secular t-shirts out there are tasteless, too, so...

Several years ago, a Jewish boy at a southern high school was suspended for wearing a Star of David necklace. (On the grounds that a six-pointed star is a "gang symbol.") He appealed to the school board, which upheld the principal's ruling. They compounded their offensiveness by saying that they didn't understand why this boy was so eager to wear a religious symbol, since he didn't seem to be a very GOOD Jew. (When I read that, I threw my newspaper across the room and yelled, "I want that standard applied to all the idiots out there with WWJD? bracelets!!!")

Anyway, much to this small-town school board's surprise, this issue got national coverage and they were promptly attacked by both the ACLU AND the Christian Coalition. (When the ACLU and Pat Robertson are joining forces against you, it's definitely time re-examine the location of your head.) They were also sued. They backed down about two days after that.

Member posted 07-02-2001 04:10 PM
Hi Ann;
Being Wiccan, I wear a silver pentacle on a chain around my neck all the time. Whether I wear it under or over my shirt is another matter, however.

At work, I keep it under my shirt because I do not want differences in religion to become a barrier to being able to work with my co-workers. Not to say that I think that they might be intolerant, but the personal matter of religion is not a part of our work and should not (to my mind) become a factor in how we deal with each other professionally. If ever I am asked, I do not hide my religion and I have yet to encounter anyone who has a problem working alongside a witch. I just don't bring it up...

When not at work, I will have my pentacle visible as often as not; it is seldom a conscious decision. I do know that, being part of a seldom understood spirituality, that others wearing a pentacle may be judged by what others see of me, so I am happy to represent Wiccans in a positive light.

I don't think it's right that a person should be automatically pigeon-holed by someone just because they wear a representation of their faith, but sadly it does happen. Is this the reason you feel that your cross might be "offensive" to someone, Ann? I think that there is a lot to be said for just being a good person and letting people see that cross, pentacle, Star of David, etc. in that light!



Member posted 07-02-2001 05:08 PM

Originally posted by taverner:

I don't think it's right that a person should be automatically pigeon-holed by someone just because they wear a representation of their faith, but sadly it does happen. Is this the reason you feel that your cross might be "offensive" to someone, Ann?


No, actually, I think it's more that I don't know whether a Wiccan, Pagan, Jew, Muslim, athiest, or agnostic will feel uncomfortable by my shiny gold cross. Maybe it's because I don't want people to think I'm out to evangelize or make a statement. The cross gives me personal comfort and I don't want it to be perceived as a sign of a closed mind. Hmmmmm....

Member posted 07-02-2001 05:16 PM
I think you should wear whatever you are comfortable wearing, whether it's a cross, an ankh or something else. What you wear as jewelry isn't anyone's business unless it's lewd or something!

Member posted 07-02-2001 05:26 PM
I think it's okay to wear religious symbols, regardless of the religion. Now, if you wore, say, some Nike paraphenilia, I would be offended by that, but religious symbols are just fine.

Earth Mother
Member posted 07-02-2001 08:39 PM
As a Pagan (but of course speaking only for myself) I have never been offended by a display of another faith's symbols. If your cross brings you comfort by all mens wear it proudly!
On the other hand I have certain symbols that I feel are too personal to share. I often wear these hidden under my clothes & next to my skin but not out of any shame or fear and that's okay too!

I guess what I'm getting at is do what you're comfortable with! If someone is offended they can always look away!

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