Wedding guest dress & conservative faiths - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
If the bride knows her sister's position on her religion and wants her sister to attend there are ways to make that happen.
What ways?

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My point, which I keep coming back to, is that expecting/requiring the guests to meet the religious requirements of a church that is not their own is not necessarily a more respectful situation than guests not meeting those expectations (either unintentionally or in some cases by choice). There is context to be considered.
Which returns to the question: is requiring a couple change their venue the same as requiring a guest change their intended style of dress?
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#62 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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What ways?
Well there is the change of venue option, having the ceremony held outside, having two services (ie a civil service and a religious one).

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Which returns to the question: is requiring a couple change their venue the same as requiring a guest change their intended style of dress?
I guess it depends on how important it is that the ceremony be held in that venue versus how important it is that the person in question attend and how deeply held the guest's convictions are about a religious institution dictating who would and wouldn't be deemed appropriate. Context.....

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#63 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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Well. I must admit it is the first time I've heard it suggested that it is reasonable to recommend that a couple to be married significantly alter their wedding plans to accommodate the preferences, not the needs, of a single guest. I'm not sure how offensive it would be to ask a couple to actually do that is really being perceived here alongside the theory of it.
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#64 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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lol i like this thread. karen i see where you are coming from and it is interesting b/c i think i agree with you but in my head it sort of comes out a bit different. first and foremost.. and i think we all agree on this is that a big huge factor in whether or not something is rude or disrespectful depends on how the situation is handled. if there was nothing about it on the invitations it would be ridiculous to get all up i arms about people's disrespectful clothing. if there is something on it and a few people aren't following as closely it would be unbelievably rude to single them out and exclude them. plus why would you want to do that on your own wedding day?

i think it would be a bit ..(not sure of the word..over the top?) and unnecessary to not allow some one dressed 'inappropriately' to attend the wedding once they are there. but i think it is so incredibly disrespectful to intentionally ignore the traditions of a religion when you are in their place of worship. wedding or no wedding when you enter a place of worship you should respect w/e traditions, rules, etc that are important to, and observed by the people who worship there.
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#65 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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i actually think it is up to the invitee... what is more important attending the wedding of someone you love or ... well or what? taking a stand against .. um? not even sure what here.
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#66 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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Wow!

ANY wedding in ANY house of worship? I cover my shoulders and avoid anything skimpy.

Why? It's respectful.

PERIOD. Why would I NOT be respectful?
i disagree with this kind of. it is not necessarily disrespectful not to cover your shoulders. i think it depends on the religion. some catholics believe going to church (i was catholic growing up so thats why i picked catholics) w/o covering your shoulders but many many many would disagree. so i don't think it would be disrespectful to go to a catholic wedding without covering shoulders. if a catholic asked me to do so i would... but i admit i would be a bit miffed b/c i know it is a personal choice not a religious mandate. if it were a christian religion besides catholicism i would also do it and i might wonder if it was a custom throughout the whole faith or just their church or just their preference.. but either way i would respect their wishes... i can't imagine why i wouldn't
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#67 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 07:52 PM
 
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i actually think it is up to the invitee... what is more important attending the wedding of someone you love or ... well or what? taking a stand against .. um? not even sure what here.
Thanks for your post above.
WRT this post, one of the PPs (can't remember who now - EF Mom?) said they would choose not to attend which seems to me to be a reasonable, polite response if they felt strongly about the issue. I don't know that it is a choice I personally would make, but it is a choice that deserves as much respect as those who would choose to be offended by the clothing someone wore to a religious ceremony in my opinion. I don't understand why it is shocking to someone who puts more value on appropriate clothing than attendance that someone would choose not to attend rather than be forced to into a situation they feel uncomfortable with. It seems that it is two different sides of the same coin to me.

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#68 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 08:40 PM
 
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Using her wedding as a platform for your protest would in practice be a protest against both the belief structure and her participation in it. And I venture to guess it would be very difficult for the hypothetical sister to take the refusal as being just the former.

Were I to have decided I'm opposed to the institution of marriage and therefore settled on not being willing to witness my own hypothetical sister's wedding out of an unwillingness to imply approval of the institution by way of my attendance, I guarantee she would not just shrug and say "no problem." Her hypothetical self would be not so hypothetically hurt.
Not too long ago, I received an invitation to a wedding that stipulated that female guests should wear teal and male wedding guests should wear brown suits. The guests, not the wedding party, mind you. I declined the invitation, sent a gift and wished them well.

I'm an agnostic. I don't feel that my hypothetical sister's religious dress requirements are any more or less valid than the people with the teal/brown fetish. In fact, in terms of what "modest" dress implies, I'm less put off by the color scheme.

I'm not trying to change any bride or groom's mind, my hypothetical sister included. I'm not protesting outside the church. I'm not on the phone harping at her or trying to get the pastor to change the "rules" for me. I'm just declining to attend a function because somebody else wants to impose their religious beliefs on me. That's entirely my choice, and it hardly involves a platform for protest. That would be the case if I complained about it.

The sister getting married doesn't require me to be a doormat by rolling over on the dress issue, either.
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#69 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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Wow!

ANY wedding in ANY house of worship? I cover my shoulders and avoid anything skimpy.

Why? It's respectful.

PERIOD. Why would I NOT be respectful?
Out of the last 30 or so weddings I've attended about 28 have been in Christian churches of one sort or another. Every single bride has worn a strapless gown, and in the majority of cases, so have the attendents. So, not everyone thinks that shoulders are offensive to a diety.
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#70 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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I don't feel that my hypothetical sister's religious dress requirements are any more or less valid than the people with the teal/brown fetish. In fact, in terms of what "modest" dress implies, I'm less put off by the color scheme.]
ok so i agree with you.. i am agnostic too and i have to admit i don't really understand the emphasis on modesty and i do not necessarily think it is a positive thing to emphasize (no offense or judgement intended.. it is a complex subject we would need a whole new thread for) the color thing you mentioned is totally absurd... i am right there with you and would have done the same thing. its like having a themed wedding and requiring (as opposed to suggesting) that people come in costume.

i think it is different with religion though. my opinions on things like this would probably tick people off so we will just say i am not neutral on the subject. but i understand that people's religions are really important to them, i may not agree with it, like it, or even respect it but i know that it is true.

if the bride and/or groom are people that i love i think i could put my feelings aside and attend their wedding, dressed as the request, because i may not like or respect their religion or its customs but i love and respect them as a person and as someone important to me. if i am close enough to someone to be invited to their wedding (assuming the couple isn't like a third cousin or something) i think i hope that i would be able to attend, dressed modestly, and celebrate their marriage with them because i love them and they are important to me.

if someone i love and respect invited me to a wedding and asked me and dp to dress in leopard print or something i would think they were flipping nuts. bridezilla comes to mind.
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#71 of 114 Old 07-02-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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Well. I must admit it is the first time I've heard it suggested that it is reasonable to recommend that a couple to be married significantly alter their wedding plans to accommodate the preferences, not the needs, of a single guest. I'm not sure how offensive it would be to ask a couple to actually do that is really being perceived here alongside the theory of it.
Well if we are talking about a sister then presumably those feelings would be apparent from the get go - before the planning stage and not sprung on the bride and groom as the invitations are being returned. Both my parents suggested date and location changes for my sister's wedding to make it work better for them. I don't think it is uncommon for families to have those sorts of discussions.

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#72 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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I'm just declining to attend a function because somebody else wants to impose their religious beliefs on me. That's entirely my choice, and it hardly involves a platform for protest. That would be the case if I complained about it.

The sister getting married doesn't require me to be a doormat by rolling over on the dress issue, either.
I guess I do find this a little over the top. Wedding guests would not be asked to wear some kind of special, religiously significant costume. I assume women guests would have in their closet more than just strapless mini-dresses. They would simply have to choose the dress with the sleeves and below-the-knee skirt instead of the skimpier one. It does not seem like a betrayal of principles to me.
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Out of the last 30 or so weddings I've attended about 28 have been in Christian churches of one sort or another. Every single bride has worn a strapless gown, and in the majority of cases, so have the attendents. So, not everyone thinks that shoulders are offensive to a diety.
Part of the problem here is that people are lumping everything called Christian together, and making assumptions about certain churches based on their own experiences. The OP was talking about a wedding in an Orthodox church. Orthodox Christianity has very little in common with Protestant denominations, in theology or practice. I suspect some PPs are thinking, "I'm a Presbyterian (or whatever), and I never heard of any such concept, so these Orthodox people are just expressing some personal preference."
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#73 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 01:52 AM
 
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I don't think it is uncommon for families to have those sorts of discussions.
I don't think "sis, I know you really want to have your wedding in the Caymans but we can't afford to attend that," or "oh my god, did you know the day you picked is the same day as my husband's parent's 25th anniversary party?" or "that church looks great but it's going to be really hard for me to get my wheelchair through that entryway" are common conversations to have. "You just have to hold your wedding away from your church because I really can't bear to not have my skirts above my knees" ... that one I would venture to guess is considerably less so.
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#74 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I don't think "sis, I know you really want to have your wedding in the Caymans but we can't afford to attend that," or "oh my god, did you know the day you picked is the same day as my husband's parent's 25th anniversary party?" or "that church looks great but it's going to be really hard for me to get my wheelchair through that entryway" are common conversations to have. "You just have to hold your wedding away from your church because I really can't bear to not have my skirts above my knees" ... that one I would venture to guess is considerably less so.
I think you are missing the bigger picture. In the same way it isn't just about the clothes for those demanding modesty, it's not just about the clothes for those who think that attitude is demeaning, disrespectful, ungodlike (pick whichever applies). And so what I have said, which you seem to be ignoring, is that both sides of that equation deserve to have their viewpoints respected. If clothing is more important than people it doesn't really matter which side of the discussion you are on - it's the same thing whether you are the one demanding a certain kind of clothing in order to attend a wedding or whether you are the one declining the invitation.

As for your example, I've attended weddings where the initial venue and or other significant elements were changed by the bride and groom in order to provide a more inclusive, hospitable celebration for all their guests. I think that is part of being a good host and speaks to the value they place on their relationship with their guests.

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#75 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:44 AM
 
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I'm not ignoring it; I am quite consistently disagreeing that the two considerations are deserving of equal weight.

And you are quite correct that for neither party in question it is just about the clothes, but for one party it is about including their loved ones in an important aspect of their life and for the other it is about openly rejecting a principle of an aspect of their loved one's life. For one it is "I really want you to attend this place of importance to me," and for the other is it "this place that is important to you is repellent to me." I'm sorry, I really just can not perceive the equal consideration due there.

I think you're looking at is just as modesty principles vs. free choice principles, a totally theoretical exercise in the balancing of beliefs, and not on the more human level of just how much more it would hurt to have a close relative say "I can not stand this thing that is so important to you and am willing to make a show of my disapproval on one of the most important days of your life" than it could ever possibly hurt to have a close relative say "I know dress standards offend you but it's important to me to hold my wedding in my church and we do have these certain guidelines."
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#76 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 04:33 AM
 
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"You just have to hold your wedding away from your church because I really can't bear to not have my skirts above my knees" ... that one I would venture to guess is considerably less so.
I think that's an oversimplification of the issue, though. In the absolute sense, it's possible that the dress code could be restrictive enough to the point that a woman may not feel comfortable attending the wedding because she has issues with the religious belief of the sister that dictates that kind of dress. She may not feel she can do something that supports it. In general I think it is a fairly simple issue and asking for no bare bellies, short skirts, visible thongs or what have you, but I could see that things could possibly get to a point in dress requirements where a person just wasn't comfortable with what that symbolized and might just decide to go to the reception instead of going to the church, or might skip it altogether.

Now I am a person who missed the weddings of two sisters because of scheduling issues. I asked my one sister to wait another week, she wasn't willing to (I was 17 and in college, she was 16 and called me up 3 days before, but I absolutely could not get away that weekend because of academic requirements), so I ended up not going. I also have a brother who did not attend my wedding because it was in a Presbyterian church and he is a Jehovah's Witness, and he did not feel comfortable being under the roof of a false religion. That is his choice, I didn't bear him any ill will.

I think what it comes down to for some people is that they can take certain dress restrictions for religious purposes as a condemnation or a compromise of their own religious beliefs and may not be willing to go that far, even if it is a family member. I think it would be the flip side of the coin of a bride or groom not allowing a family member to attend if they didn't adhere to a dress code dictated by their faith. Again, I think there are certain standards that most people here would find reasonable, but I could see a hypothetical sister's wedding situation where a person felt like it went beyond the point she was willing to go.

However, with the original post, the wedding guests did turn up dressed how they wanted to dress, in a way that some found way too revealing but they weren't turned away. In that case I could see a member of the wedding party feeling like her relative was being disrespectful and addressing it with him or her at some point later on.
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#77 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If the invite says something simple along the lines of "no low cut dresses and no short skirts for the ceremony," that's not a particularly restrictive dress code. If someone can't bear the thought of not baring her breasts for the hour (or however long) of the ceremony and would refuse to attend a close relative's wedding because she couldn't bare her breasts...well, that makes you wonder.

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#78 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 05:00 AM
 
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If someone can't bear the thought of not baring her breasts for the hour (or however long) of the ceremony and would refuse to attend a close relative's wedding because she couldn't bare her breasts...well, that makes you wonder.
I understand, and I was trying to make that point, but I don't think that is the full argument. I think EFMom and Karenwith4 are saying there are situations that they would feel like being required to adopt a certain style of dress in order to attend would be an abnegation of their own beliefs, and they may not be willing to do it.
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#79 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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If the invite says something simple along the lines of "no low cut dresses and no short skirts for the ceremony," that's not a particularly restrictive dress code. If someone can't bear the thought of not baring her breasts for the hour (or however long) of the ceremony and would refuse to attend a close relative's wedding because she couldn't bare her breasts...well, that makes you wonder.
The minute those words appear on the invitation, I'm sending regrets. It's not that I must wear revealing clothing. I don't even own much in the way of revealing clothing. However, when the bride starts telling me that I must conform to her "modest" religious dress code, whether that dress code is no low cut dresses or don a burka, I find that offensive on many levels and I'm declining the invitation, close relative or not.
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#80 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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Ok, so what about this. You're a bridesmaid, the dress the bride chooses for you is ultramodest, do you refuse to be a bridesmaid because of that? What's the difference between that and being asked to dress with certain modesty standards so as to not distract others/respect the standards of the bride?

On the flip side, if I was asked to be in a wedding and asked to wear a dress I felt was immodest, I would politely tell the bride that I cannot wear a dress because xxx and explain. Is that offensive?

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#81 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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Ok, so what about this. You're a bridesmaid, the dress the bride chooses for you is ultramodest, do you refuse to be a bridesmaid because of that? What's the difference between that and being asked to dress with certain modesty standards so as to not distract others/respect the standards of the bride?

On the flip side, if I was asked to be in a wedding and asked to wear a dress I felt was immodest, I would politely tell the bride that I cannot wear a dress because xxx and explain. Is that offensive?

I think in the case of being in the wedding party, it needs to be mutually agreeable or you politely decline to be in the wedding party. I would guess that the religious issue would be somewhat obvious at the time the wedding party discussion started because presumably the two people know each other pretty well. These are probably good issues to bring up very quickly if one is invited to be a bridesmaid for someone for whom religous "modesty" is an issue, or if one is religiously "modest" themselves.
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#82 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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But...any time you attend a wedding, it's just not about YOU. My sister isn't Orthodox yet she gladly complied with wearing the shawl I gave her to wear in the church for the ceremony because she loves me and decided to put away whatever quibbles she may have had for that day. If she marries her Jewish boyfriend, you bet I'll dress however the synagogue wants me to. There's a lot of "my rights and my beliefs" going on in this thread...that's fine, but when a relative or friend invites you to their house of worship, regardless of how individualistic you generally are, that's an honor in itself and shouldn't be thrown in their face.

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#83 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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Just wondering - is this partly a feminist issue? Would it be different if the "modest dress" request were put to male guests? If a bride asked the men attending not to wear shorts or tank tops, but only shirts with sleeves and long pants, and to remove their hats in church, would that be considered equally offensive to non-religious guests?
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#84 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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Just wondering - is this partly a feminist issue? Would it be different if the "modest dress" request were put to male guests? If a bride asked the men attending not to wear shorts or tank tops, but only shirts with sleeves and long pants, and to remove their hats in church, would that be considered equally offensive to non-religious guests?
A good question. It's rather more rare for men's clothes that would be suitable for a wedding to be immodest. The only thing I can imagine as likely is men wearing nice shorts to a casual wedding, which some religious traditions would consider immodest. There are some that like men to have beards, but I have never heard of that being demanded of guests. I believe many synagogues have head coverings for male guests available at the door, so that could be considered similar to asking a woman to cover hair or wear a shawl over a low neckline. I've never heard any complaints that this is offensive.

I have seen a lot of men recently, younger ones, who don't seem to know the conventions with regard to hats in public spaces. Usually this is with regard to baseball caps.

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#85 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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Come to think of it, most of the men at my wedding were covered neck to wrist to ankles with suits...I wonder if any of them secretly yearned to come in muscle shirts and short shorts....?

Seriously though. I just realized that most men are more "modest" than women are encouraged to be.

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#86 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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But...any time you attend a wedding, it's just not about YOU. My sister isn't Orthodox yet she gladly complied with wearing the shawl I gave her to wear in the church for the ceremony because she loves me and decided to put away whatever quibbles she may have had for that day. If she marries her Jewish boyfriend, you bet I'll dress however the synagogue wants me to. There's a lot of "my rights and my beliefs" going on in this thread...that's fine, but when a relative or friend invites you to their house of worship, regardless of how individualistic you generally are, that's an honor in itself and shouldn't be thrown in their face.
I don't think that by declining an invitation pleasantly, wishing the couple well and sending a gift, one is throwing anything in anyone's face. If an "honor" includes the opportunity to have someone else force their religious practices on me then it is an honor I'll cheerfully decline. If the person issuing the invitation wants to be offended, then that's entirely their choice.

As for it being a feminist issue, for me that's perhaps tangential. I wouldn't attend a wedding where the invitation stipulated that everyone present must recite the Apostle's Creed or perform any specific religious practice. If those things were performed by other people during the course of the ceremony, I'm more than fine with it. But if my attendance hinged on me doing those things, thanks but no thanks.

While I do think the issue of modesty is a feminist issue, I don't think the nature of religious "modesty" is within the scope of this thread--there have been others dealing with it.
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#87 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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I don't think that by declining an invitation pleasantly, wishing the couple well and sending a gift, one is throwing anything in anyone's face. If an "honor" includes the opportunity to have someone else force their religious practices on me then it is an honor I'll cheerfully decline. If the person issuing the invitation wants to be offended, then that's entirely their choice.

As for it being a feminist issue, for me that's perhaps tangential. I wouldn't attend a wedding where the invitation stipulated that everyone present must recite the Apostle's Creed or perform any specific religious practice. If those things were performed by other people during the course of the ceremony, I'm more than fine with it. But if my attendance hinged on me doing those things, thanks but no thanks.

While I do think the issue of modesty is a feminist issue, I don't think the nature of religious "modesty" is within the scope of this thread--there have been others dealing with it.
So it's more worthwhile for you to make a statement about being "forced" to wear modest clothing than it is for you to participate in a special day that you've specifically been invited to? This discussion is far less about feminism than it is rugged individualism, which is the real religion we're talking about here. Your rhetorical forced Apostle's Creed would never happen, but you subtly equate this with wearing appropriate clothing in houses of worship where this is the standard.

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#88 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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So it's more worthwhile for you to make a statement about being "forced" to wear modest clothing than it is for you to participate in a special day that you've specifically been invited to? This discussion is far less about feminism than it is rugged individualism, which is the real religion we're talking about here. Your rhetorical forced Apostle's Creed would never happen, but you subtly equate this with wearing appropriate clothing in houses of worship where this is the standard.
I don't see a wedding invitation as a command performance. It's an invitation which may be accepted or declined at the recipient's discretion, just as it may be issued or withheld at the host's discretion.

And yes, being required on an invitation to follow someone else's religious "modesty" code is exactly the same to me as being told I need to follow any other of their religious practices. There's nothing subtle about it.
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#89 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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So it's more worthwhile for you to make a statement about being "forced" to wear modest clothing than it is for you to participate in a special day that you've specifically been invited to? This discussion is far less about feminism than it is rugged individualism, which is the real religion we're talking about here. Your rhetorical forced Apostle's Creed would never happen, but you subtly equate this with wearing appropriate clothing in houses of worship where this is the standard.
Again it is not just about the clothing for either side of this discussion. If we would be willing to accept someone declining a wedding invitation because being in that particular house of worship is against their religious philosophies then we should be willing to accept that someone can decline because of similar personal philosophical reasons. If as a religious person you are willing to make an issue over clothing and attendance and expect that to be respected, I cannot understand how you can logically fault someone for taking the same stance. The fact that one is based on the doctrines of a religious sect does not in anyway give that position more weight.

Liquesce if we are going to discuss this at a human level rather than a philosphical one, I have to say I have a hard time with people who put their religious doctrines ahead of relationships and my position on the issue would depend a lot on the context of the situation...which is what I said before.

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#90 of 114 Old 07-03-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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i agree with you in certain circumstances. if their church does not have a custom of everyone entering the church having covered shoulders, heads, knees or w/e and it is just their personal preference (or belief) that people should do these things then yes i absolutely agree it is the same thing and i would have a problem with it too.

if it is customary in their religion to have one's knees, head, shoulder's or w/e covered inside their places of worship i think it is asking someone to respect a custom.. not forcing religious practices. the best secular example i can think of is asking people to take off their shoes when they come into your house. when our school visited a hindu temple we all had to take our shoes off for instance. when we visited my cousin's synagogue the men were asked to wear yarmulkes.
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