Next summer, Reddit user ioncloud9 intends to get married. But not all is well — and once again, religion is at the root of the trouble.
My mom has been asking me… what kind of ceremony I’m going to have and [saying] how important it is to have a Mass. She knows I’m not religious but she still thinks I’m supposed to follow the same rules and norms she adheres to. My fiancée isn’t religious at all but was raised in a nominally, more culturally, Catholic family.
So today when I said I wasn’t having a religious ceremony, she said “Then what’s the point of having a ceremony? It means nothing without the religious aspect. You’re just having some nobody there say some words and it isn’t a sacrament. It’s a mockery of the sacrament.” And basically she and my dad have stated their objections and how they probably won’t be coming because its a sin to participate in a secular wedding.
In the wake of the wedding announcement, old and half-buried family resentments have been revived.
They’re also holding the fact that years ago (… I was an adult living on my own at the time) they asked me to go to church with them on Christmas and Easter, and I refused. And they’re saying, Why should they go to my wedding when I wouldn’t go to church with them on their most important days of the year.
It doesn’t seem to occur to the parents that the two most celebrated days on the Christian calendar are not about them, but about something that allegedly happened to someone else roughly 2,000 years earlier and an ocean away. Nor does it appear to make a difference to them that their son will (presumably) only get married once in a lifetime; by contrast, Easter and Christmas roll around every year.
There are some clever bits of advice in the Reddit thread. Here’s one that stood out to me.
Verify that before your conception, she [ioncloud9’s mother] believes that her god knew you would be an atheist. (An all-knowing god really couldn’t help but know this). Then ask her why this god didn’t either: A) choose a different sperm cell to fertilize that egg (or not allow that egg to be fertilized), or B) what her god’s motives are for wanting you to be atheist? And then ask what right she thinks she has to question her god’s desire that you be atheist.
Ioncloud9 could “win” the argument with that approach, but it probably won’t do much to heal the rift.
Perhaps this one will be more effective:
[Tell them,] ‘The point is that we love each other and are formalizing our commitment to each other. Whether we make this promise to each other or to God the idea is the same. If you don’t want to think of this as a marriage then, fine, think of it as a celebration of our love. I’d like for you to be there, to support me on one of the most important days of my life. However, if you can’t find it within yourselves to set your objections aside and support your son and future daughter-in-law, then by all means stay home.”
If they don’t attend, the parents are apt to second-guess their cold-hearted decision sooner or later. To be this unyielding and unforgiving toward your own flesh and blood (out of misplaced fealty to something that isn’t even in the Bible) is likely to be a cause of misery and regret for all their remaining years, whether or not they face up to it.
For every example of religion supplying the glue that helps hold a family together, there’s another example, and perhaps multiple ones, where it does the exact opposite.
In any case: If not attending their own son’s wedding over this pettiness is the Christian thing to do, it’s no wonder that secularization continues apace.
(Image via Shutterstock)