Forum: Arts / Religion

How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 02:33 AM

So today at the inlaws my father in law was telling me about a Portuguese festivity that is going on in June... this one the Holy Spirit festival. Basically part of it is that some families in the church get to bring home a Holy Spirit crown for a week and apparently it's a fairly big deal. Hubbys cousin is big into this whole thing and into organizing the festivals at the church.

So cousin was talking to the inlaws and wanted Teresa to be one of the girls who is crowned (again a pretty big thing in their community, I've tried reading up on it I don't get it but it's not something I grew up with).

Well we are back to the apparent issue that Teresa can't participate in this whole shindig because she isn't baptized.

I'm not 100% against it, but I'm not supportive of it either. I've told hubby he can take her and have her baptized if he wants, but he has to arrange everything. I will show up on the day of. I'm not doing any more courses through the chruch ever again. I just really feel that even though she does have the option to change whenever she wants, I don't want to pick a religion for her either. AND I feel like it's going to be pushed on her the second that I get her baptized... which brings me to the above.

So I know that it's a big thing for the Portuguese community, and I want to be respectful of that but in the same token I'm about as comfortable with it as I would be squeezing into a size 2 7 inch stiletto heel... I'm very very uncomfortable in religious events, and I feel like in a way I'm setting her up to have more religious crap forced on her. BUT I don't want to offend any one either.

I haven't talked to hubby about it, but as usual I know that it's going to turn into an argument or fairly heated discussion.

I don't want to offend by politely turning it down, but I don't want to be a door mat either. I don't think that his family quite knows how I feel about the Catholic church at this point.

I'm trying to stay open minded, I really am... but I'm just not comfortable...

17 Replies to How to politely say no...

re: How to politely say no...
By imadanseurPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 02:51 AM
I think it is a good compromise that you'll show up if he arranges the baptism. I am surprised she can be baptized unless you have converted (did you have to do that to get married?)

Here is my own personal views toward letting kids "choose" their own religion. I'm not saying I am right and other people are wrong so everyone reading this...CALM DOWN, and eat a cookie. Many statics say that if your child isn't raised with any religion the chances of them suddenly choosing one is slim to none. If you really do want her to choose for herself then you need to expose her to a variety of religions and spiritual settings. (Obviously she's young, but its amazing what they comprehend right??) I knew a girl at college that had parents of 2 different faiths...Buddhism and Christianity. She went to temple, she went to church, she went to yoga and learned about Hindu from the teacher at the yoga studio, they took her to synagogue and actually taught her all about different religions and how similar they are. She is a Buddhist that believes in Jesus Christ.

I think some religion was forced on me at times, but when I look back it did give me some guidance, boundaries, exhibited the way the Universe/God wants us to treat one another, love, compassion etc. Yes you can learn that other places, but at the end of the day why is it bad to hear that from someone else besides your parents??

If it was me (which it isn't), I would ask my husband once she is baptized, can we agree that she isn't required to do anything else for your religion or does she have to be confirmed too? You deserve to know what other expectations are coming in the future, and as her mother you have the right to put your foot down and say no especially if you compromise on this. IMHO
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 27, 2013 08:00 PM
Edited by LlamaLlamaDuck (113868) on 2013-01-27 20:05:08
I had my religion chosen for me as an infant (aka baptized Catholic) so I'm catholic by that fact. I'm far from a practicing catholic.

We did discuss the whole comfirmation and other sacrements, and he wants her to do her first communion because at 9 he doesn't feel she is old enough to make that choice herself. Fair enough, but ask a 9 yr old girl if she wants to wear a nice white dress and have a party, she's gonna pick it.

I'm definately leaning towards saying hell no to the whole holy spirit thing... husband doesn't go to this event... so why are we going to participate in this?

Oh and sidenote... he refuses to plan the baptism, including calling the priest... so therefore that is part of the reason why it hasn't taken place... and apparently some of the family (aka the grandparents) feel the need make it a big thing which for some it might be for me it would be like celebrating having a root canal, so anyways they would want a big party and all the family there... I would have grandparents, and god parents there and that is it.
re: How to politely say no...
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 03:03 AM
I am religious (but not Catholic), so feel free to take this with a grain of salt :)

To me, it seems like this has a pretty big cultural emphasis that makes it different than any old religious event. I know you don't want her to feel forced into a religion, but I can't help but wonder if she will feel excluded from this part of her family due to inability to participate in these apparently important cultural events. Just my thoughts.
re: How to politely say no...
By imadanseurPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 03:07 AM
^That is a good point.

We did discuss the whole comfirmation and other sacrements, and he wants her to do her first communion because at 9 he doesn't feel she is old enough to make that choice herself.

So what does he want to her choose, Catholic or nothing? What else is he willing to expose her to so she has a choice. It's like having her only eat apples and then expect her to figure out what fruit she likes when she is 9. Well if she hasn't even tried something else its going to seem so foreign.

If she does her first communion, doesn't she eventually have to be baptized?
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 03:16 AM
And thats where I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place... I don't want to elminate that part of her heritage from her life, but in the same token there are plenty of non religious portuguese events out there that she is more than welcome to particpate in. My husband doesn't go rushing out to go to these events and I don't feel obligated to pack up the family and drag us there either.

quite honestly I would freely baptize her almost anything but catholic... but that is a different story.

I want her to have exposure to as much as possible. I like the idea of adult baptism only because in most cases that person has made that choice on their own.

and yes to have a first communion you need to be baptized.

My mother in law suggested lying about her baptismal status to particpate in this event by the way.

This is about all I could find about the Holy Spirit crowning/festival . . . . . .
re: How to politely say no...
By Gavrilushka
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 05:10 AM
Openly express how you feel. Tell them you don't want to indoctrinate a faith upon your child, but you are very open to expose her to her cultural roots. Just not religion.

However, keep in mind a lot of European traditions do stem from Catholic/Christian faith. Basically I see it as a cultural thing which people add a religious slant to because they want to.
re: How to politely say no... (karma: 2)
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:41 PM
Edited by Kekoa (69553) on 2013-01-27 23:39:33 grammar woes
You should probably take what I say with a grain of salt because I'm a committed atheist who plans to teach my kids about all religions, Christianity included, as a series of myths that impact our culture. That way, they know basic references to religious things but never view it in a supernatural light. So yeah, keep that in mind as I continue...

If you don't want her to do it, don't. I highly doubt she'll feel left out as time goes on, especially if you make a point to do other fun things. If a kid has an option between seeing a movie with their friend or going to church, they're going to pick the movie. That'll avoid feelings of being left out.

I think you're absolutely right in thinking that your in-laws will start pushing religion on her as soon as she's baptized. Right now, you hold the power. You're keeping her at a distance from the church and its activities because you don't want her to get wrapped up in them, and there's nothing they can do. Once she's a member of the church though, that changes. You obviously still have ultimate say, but it'll be easier for them to guilt trip you. You clearly know that.

Now, if your DH were throwing a tantrum about all this, I'd say that you should compromise since it's his kid too. However, from what you've posted, he really doesn't care all that much and it sounds like the little resistance he's offering is coming from his family. If he were a dedicated Catholic who NEEDED his kid to be in the church, you know he would have taken you up on your offer and gotten her baptized.

One thing I would do is have a fun ritual you do every Sunday or holy day that doesn't involve church. Growing up, we would sleep in, have brunch and go to the bookstore on Sundays. It was SO fun and I never felt I missed out on going to church. When I have kids, I sort of think it would be fun to do something similar, or maybe do a family hike and picnic if the weather is nice. You could also try to arrange the occasional family get together outside of church events.

Long story, I don't blame you and I think you should stay strong since you seem to get more convicted every time you post and DH seems pretty apathetic.
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 28, 2013 06:06 PM
OK I'm glad that no one thinks I'm being unreasonable.

He feels that by baptizing her she has more choices like getting married in a church or even choices with schools... here catholic education is free. However we have decided on public education because its the system hubby went through... and I know there is zero chances of religion being shoved down her throat at school.

I don't see how someone who has made no effort to attend church in the 7 years we have been together can be so intent on having their child baptized... though he does do the no meat on good Friday and ash Wednesday... he also expects Teresa to do the same... I'll take a steak please... I even feel like that is forcing it on her.

I'm sure we will find compromise... but it doesn't involve any holy spirit crownings.
re: How to politely say no...
By Gavrilushka
On Thu Jan 31, 2013 01:18 PM
I think the best compromise you can do is to still teach her about religion, but at a more mature age. I'd say 8 - 12. There is no point in putting religious things on a child when they any younger. They won't understand ANY of it. It would be like "We don't eat meat on Easter because Jesus died and Jesus was a good guy." Does that mean they actually understand what they are doing? Of course not. Same goes to church. The children just copy everyone around them because they dislike the idea of 'being left out' which is another reason why, if I were raising a child, I wouldn't be taking them to churches and such.

I'm a non-practising Russian Orthodox and lean more towards the agnostic/atheist side of things. My partner is outright atheist. I have memories of going to church at a young age, but I was so BORED. My father was a shining role model to me and he slept in church. :P
While I have some religious memories, they didn't deeply affect me as such. Which is another thing you should keep in mind. Even though she may be exposed to Christian elements, if you teach her about the various faiths out there and tell her to keep an open mind on certain things, then chances are they may have no affect on her or she will simply find her own way around. We live in a very diverse and thinking society now where homosexuality is becoming acceptable and governments are cracking down on discriminatory attitudes made by churches based on their self-interest (even if it is against the law). I think, even if she is exposed to the more positive elements of religion, don't let anyone leave her in the ignorance corner when she is old enough to begin to understand and comprehend things. Then expose her to the good and the bad, teach her your values and your views too.

I'm not questioning your authority as a parent. Not at all! I think it's so wonderful you are putting so much thought into enriching your child's life, but in the matter of compromise, you can let your husband teach her what he has to offer and then you have your turn on teaching her too. It's at least better than just having her be put through a Christian lifestyle.
At the moment, talk to your husband about why he thinks it is so important for her to have a church wedding or to be put in a catholic school. Tell him that you think the whole church wedding thing is her choice and that her religious path should be her choice too. Remind him that it's never too late to be baptised so there is no need to put a faith on her before she can decide.

Like I said before, it's really heartwarming to read a thread on a parent wanting what is best for their child's enrichment and learning in life and to let them grow and develop under your guidance, not your wants. So often I hear parents instead talk about how they want to choose virtually everything for their child's long term growth like putting them through tutoring when they are only 5 (yes I know a parent doing this...).
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 31, 2013 02:08 PM
He told me he made a promise to bring her to church... I chuckle at that because I asked him why he doesn't go. I'm not stopping him. I would rather go to the dentist and have s root canal than go to mass... but again that doesn't mean he can't take her on his own... nor is there a rule that she has to be baptized to go to church.

I have my mom who feels the need to mention it as much as possible.driving me nuts. We watched my wedding video the other day ans my mom was like and that's the church where you are going to be baptized. She seems to think.its my husband that doesn't want her baptized.... nope its me.

They don't see my point and frankly I don't see how a splash of water on a kids head is a big thing. So we are stuck.
re: How to politely say no...
By J1ll
On Thu Jan 31, 2013 02:32 PM
I grew up Catholic but as I grew older and learned to form my own questions and beliefs I detached from Catholicism.
Personally I want my children to have their own moral compass and not rely on the concept of God and hell to decide if something is right or wrong. However I respect and even enjoy the community feeling of being part of a congregation.
My husband insisted we be married in a church. I couldn't have cared less- I was leaning toward an outdoor ceremony plus I had already been married once but to appease him we set out looking for a church and religion we felt right about. We settled on an Episcopal church (though sometimes we go to the UU church). And we go once/month or so, not every week.
It's the right balance for us. I hope you and your family can find whatever the right balance is for you.
I don't think you're being unreasonable but sometimes we have to compromise our personal objections and make allowances for those we love.
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 31, 2013 02:39 PM
I'm not stopping him from teaching her or taking her to mass... I'm not even stopping him from having her baptized. He just has to make the arrangements. I however will not attend any classes. I'm willing to show up on the day.
re: How to politely say no...
By popergerm
On Tue Feb 26, 2013 04:16 AM
hmm, with family there is often great pressue to do things a certain way, but, there are times for change, and times for holding onto who we are, I find people that dont like the church were hurt by it in some way or another, or they dont know what we truly belive.

for first communion though one must be baptized first, after all you cant run before you walk.

I hope you meet a good catholic person that can show you the good side of the church and what a true beliver does, and I dont mean the holier then thou old ladies, but a genuine self sacrificing person, and the true meaning of what happens during a mass it is a great great thing, celebrating the sacrifice of mass, and the greatest gift ever given that is God became one of us and died to atone for all the origional sin that was and ever will be commited in the world, showed us the path to God and the way to live, and to give us the chance at salvation.

what other god has ever done that in all the religions of the world?

I hope that you can see the true church and not the the coruption in it by men that pretend to do the lords work, but are blind and think they do it and dont actully do so.
re: How to politely say no...
By ChristinePremium member
On Tue Feb 26, 2013 07:17 PM
It is my understanding that in order to have a child 5 or under baptized the parents need to attend "Pre Jordan" classes. I've heard priests say they can not understand why parents would want to initiate their children into a faith community they have no desire to join themselves. I understand this point of view, but I also understand your husband's point of view.

By baptizing your daughter before she is of school age, the decision and therefore options are out of her hands. If she wants to participate as a full member of the community, she doesn't have to go through the RCIA process. She is just "in", like infants who are baptized shortly after birth. However, to receive other sacraments, she is going to have to participate in the Religious Education program just like everyone else who desires this membership.

For many of us, being Catholic is like being Jewish. It is as much a cultural thing, a heritage, as a faith or belief system. It sound like your husband's family is deeply entrenched in this aspect of the Catholic Church. There is a certain value to this but if you object, there is the potential for damage as well.

Has your husband talked to a priest about this? I suspect your parish priest many be willing to initiate your daughter if your husband is a practicing Catholic, but I doubt this will be the case if it is just to please his parents.

Good luck with all of this.

Keep On Dancing*
re: How to politely say no...
By ChristinePremium member
On Tue Feb 26, 2013 07:28 PM
Duh.... I just realized I didn't answer the question: "How to politely say, 'No'."

"We'd love to attend the festival that Uncle Buck is working on but we don't think it would be fair to the little girls who participate in the parish activities all year long to have T. crowned with them. It is a special honor for the genuine participants of parish life and we don't want to cheapen it for the other families. We'll be honored to be special guests."

Keep On Dancing*
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 27, 2013 04:04 PM
Honestly I have no interest in being a part of any religion at this point in my life. I just feel that the catholic church is a little too conservative for me... going to mass and listening to robotic responses just doesn't do it for me. To each their own but I have only ever been to one church service that didn't make me grindmy teeth the whole time and it was a Presbyterian service that was a lot more alternative.

I just don't want her to feel trapped like I have all these years. essentially I feel its been shoved down my throat all these years and that I never had a choice. I don't want her to feel smothered like I did. Another reason for public schooling.

If she were to be baptized I would have nothing to do with anything religious in her life... except for putting in an appearance as needed. Church would be a daddy daughter thing.

Nothing has been mentioned since... so I won't bring it up either.

I know I would have a hard time attending the event anyways as that stuff makes my skin crawl. Thank goodness I work weekends.
re: How to politely say no...
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 13, 2013 01:26 AM
And he is on about it again today. I told him that again HE just has to pick up the phone and arrange it... which I know he seems to be waiting on me to do.

Its as much a cultural thing as it is a religious thing... but honestly if he went to church I might have less of an issue with it.

I told him I would love nothing more than to be unbaptized... and if it were my choice rebaptized elsewhere. The catholic church just doesn't work for me. It never has I can't say never will but its not my cup of tea.

If we have another kid I would rather do a 2 for 1 deal on the baptism... I can get it all done and over with together.

Oh he also complained to me about me not being the willing to make a sacrifice... why cant he make one in this case. I'm not stopping him from raising them catholic just from baptizing... I don't see how baptizing her is going to make more enriched.


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