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If it's more a case of a young adult expecting that he can do something in your shared home that goes against your consistent, well-known religious views, and he's angry because you've said 'No, son, even for you, I don't make an exception on this issue', I actually think his inability to accept your moral boundary is a sign of immaturity, and a weak sense of personal values.

Both of which I'd not be surprised to find in young adults.

In the end, it's OK for you to have a moral sense of what is OK and what isn't for your home, and it's OK for him to have a differing moral sense of what is OK and what isn't for his home. 

Moms, in particular, can say 'no' to children, and still be a caring, loving mom. 

But you can't manage or control the reactions of someone who hears a 'no' and has it rattle their own sense of self. I have a feeling that a more independent, mature and grounded young adult (as they tend to become with experience) could simply say 'Well Mom, I disagree - when I'm living independently, I'll do things my way.' and leave it there. 

It's difficult because we don't know the exact issue - I can think of issues I'd be inflexible about re young adult behaviour in the home, and issues I'd negotiate, as well as subjects that are non-issues for me. Only you know yourself, your moral stance, its importance, your son, how intensely to feel and respond to his reaction...so only you can judge to what extent you or he are justified in your respective stances. 

It's very difficult when you 'fall from grace' in the eyes of a child who has historically been close, and compliant. That it's difficult doesn't mean you're wrong. It doesn't mean you're right either. Same goes for him. 

All I'd be wary of is trying to justify your views. If you are content you are choosing the best, most moral thing, there's no need to 'win'. You don't need to have any long arguments about it, and neither of you need to have people taking sides about it. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, moonflower said:

Well if it's religious that's usually pretty easy and in fact I often try to explain moral choices to my family in religious terms because people are more accepting ime of religious behavioral prohibitions than moral ones without religion behind them (which really really really irritates me but that's another thread).

Just say look, say your best friend was an Orthodox Jew and you wanted him to attend your wedding at your Christian church.  His religion (depending maybe on sect, as I understand it, but I'm not a Jew so I don't know for sure) says he can't enter other houses of worship.  It's as disappointing for him in this situation as it is for you, but it is what it is.

It's often easier to understand these things when they're depersonalized.

A friend not attending would be very different than a parent not attending. 

3 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

If you don't attend events in your child's home because of their chosen living situation I would absolutely expect that to have an affect on your relationship.  You are basically choosing to cut them off unless they do things on your terms.  

They can know how you feel and your beliefs.  But if your beliefs become more important than the love and the relationship, that doesn't tend to go very well.  

 

3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Doesn’t everyone have beliefs that are more important than a relationship?

I believe people are made in the image of God, and that by loving the people around me that is how I live out my faith, and how my love of God. So although I wouldn't kill or steal just to please my child, I also wouldn't cut them off, or whatever, if they kill or steal. 

I look at all the stories of Jesus, and see how he felt that caring for others was more important than following the letter of the law - say saving the animal in the ditch on the Sabbath. Sure, savingt that animal was participating in something that goes against the faith in a very clear way. And yet, Jesus felt helping another being was more important than breaking a moral rule/law.  That's a God who understands grey areas, and showing compassion versus "keeping the faith". 

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3 hours ago, LMD said:

I can absolutely imagine a scenario where my need to be able to speak/live what I genuinely believe to be true is more important than capitulating because my relationship with someone, even my child, might be affected. That would feel like an inauthentic relationship to me. Lovingly holding my boundaries does not have to be a bad, relationship ending thing.

 

x 100.

 

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To answer OP - yes I think relationship can survive, but I think it will change.  May be not better or worse, just different. If, for example, my child was getting married in a church (we are not Christians), I would be VERY upset and probably angry and most likely wouldn't go to the wedding, but I wouldn't cut them out of my life and would have to re-adjust various aspects of the relationship.

It's hard for me to understand the concept of putting relationship with family above everything else bc if the person in your family does something that goes again your own values, believes, morals - how can it not change the way you see them or the type of the relationship??

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2 hours ago, Catwoman said:

 

I hope so, too.

I’m assuming that, in Scarlett’s case, she believes her son is doing something immoral that goes against her religious beliefs, and she doesn’t feel that she can be true to herself or her faith if she accepts what’s happening.

Whatever this is, it has to be BIG if Scarlett feels she has no choice but to risk her relationship with her beloved son, so even if I would have handled the situation (whatever it is) entirely differently, I have to take Scarlett at her word on this and support her in this thread. I feel like she is trying so hard to do what she believes is moral and right, and this must just about the hardest thing she has ever had to do.

I really hope there is a way for her and her son to meet in the middle and find a solution that will be acceptable to both of them.

I think the difficulty, besides not knowing what the actual situation is, is what does mean to accept or not accept something you find immoral about the behavior of another person. It sounds as though he know his mom disagrees with whatever he is doing. So in that sense she is definitely not accepting it. Does he expect her to change her mind and approve of it? I can certainly understand her not wanting to change her mind about something she feels is wrong. Or is it something more along the lines of he is living with his girlfriend, he knows his mom is opposed to it, and she won’t come to their house because she sees that as condoning the behavior and maybe even sinful on her part, and he does not. He sees it as his mom being part of his and his girlfriend’s life and spending time together. That just seems like a very different situation to me. But since it’s all hypothetical without the details, it’s not really possible to understand the actual situation.

I have the same hope you do about resolving the situation.

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46 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

A friend not attending would be very different than a parent not attending. 

 

I believe people are made in the image of God, and that by loving the people around me that is how I live out my faith, and how my love of God. So although I wouldn't kill or steal just to please my child, I also wouldn't cut them off, or whatever, if they kill or steal. 

I look at all the stories of Jesus, and see how he felt that caring for others was more important than following the letter of the law - say saving the animal in the ditch on the Sabbath. Sure, savingt that animal was participating in something that goes against the faith in a very clear way. And yet, Jesus felt helping another being was more important than breaking a moral rule/law.  That's a God who understands grey areas, and showing compassion versus "keeping the faith". 

I think this is a selective reading of scripture. He also literally threw people out of his house who were doing things against the law. He called people to repentance with acts of mercy, but didn't sin. I think this line of thinking in your post can be used to manipulate people into doing things they don't want to do (if you really loved me, you would X. If your God is love, you would do Y for me because you love God. If you really loved Jesus you'd stay in this bad marriage with me). I also think (religion aside) sometimes the loving thing to do, for others and oneself, is to have a boundary. I think it can really hurts if that boundary affects a close family member.

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Everything will be okay, Scarlett. I admire you for putting God first. That is Scriptural.

Your son knows how much you love him. This too shall pass. Hugs.

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It's hard to say without knowing what the situation is. I completely respect that you don't want to share the specifics, Scarlett. Given that, though, my opinion might change depending on what the actual deal was. I apologize in advance for rambling.

First,  I guess what I'd do is decide if the person has always known my stand and that of my faith on the issue. If so, it shouldn't be a surprise that I've taken my position. Respect is a two-way street. If someone close to me wants me to respect their view, I'm entitled to respect for mine as well even if we disagree.

What penalty does the faith impose for the behavior in question? That would drive things, too, and I'd want to be clear on what those parameters were.

Next, I'd think about how involved I was expected to be. As others have said, expecting me to permit something in my home is different from someone doing something forbidden (but legal) in his or her own home out of my presence. Expecting to me fund or otherwise make the forbidden activity possible is not reasonable.  For instance, if my faith forbids sex outside marriage, I can refuse to permit unmarried people to share a bedroom. I would still welcome the partner in my home, however.  If my religion forbids abortion, I can refuse to take the person for the procedure. (I would expect to care lovingly for the person in recovery after the fact, however.) If I were helping to pay someone's rent and cohabitating were proscribed, I could decline to continue to pay even if it meant the person had to leave school or whatever. But I wouldn't reject the couple. Adults are entitled to make legal decisions. They aren't entitled to insist that others fund them.

I'd try to examine the situation in the reverse as well. What if I were doing something my faith required that the other person strongly disagreed with? How would I want to be treated?

Hope you're able to work things out, Scarlett.

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7 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I agree.  But if you are aware a person has strong beliefs  about a subject.....why be angey at them for holding fast?

Well, I would say it may not *necessarily be anger over holding fast, exactly. 

In a situation with my dh, I wasn’t specifically angry with him for having a different POV at the time. I was angry about his refusal to discuss how to handle our different beliefs, so to speak. “My way or the highway” isn’t a relationship.

For me, pain and frustration often looks like anger.  It’s not; it’s pain and frustration.

It could certainly be possible that someone might understand what your beliefs are, and not realize quite how far the reaction would go in practice. For example, I’ve always known my parent believed my kids should be baptized. It never occurred to me that that might result in a fractured relationship. Fortunately, it has not. My point is that I never pondered that possibility. I’ve always assumed my mother would be my constant, no matter what I did or didn’t do.

I don’t think it’s unusual that a young adult might feel rejected for who they are.  I mean, it sounds like grown adult Scarlett is feeling very much that way, so why wouldn’t a child?  And, yes, that might look very much like anger.

I’m in no position to dissect anyone’s theology, to be fair. But most of the people I know (not all) find ways to be loving and connected without forfeiting their religion. Otherwise, my children and I would have far fewer friends!

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8 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Well, I would say it may not *necessarily be anger over holding fast, exactly. 

In a situation with my dh, I wasn’t specifically angry with him for having a different POV at the time. I was angry about his refusal to discuss how to handle our different beliefs, so to speak. “My way or the highway” isn’t a relationship.

 

 Exactly. In my case, I was told with a shrug, "That's your problem." There's no way that response doesn't affect a relationship going forward. Mutual respect for different points of view fundamental issues demands more.

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Hugs

 

I don't know where my boundaries would be.  I haven't had a child do something against things I feel strongly about. YET!  This might be an extreme example, but I wouldn't allow a grown child to live in my home while on hard drugs (well, even milder drugs I wouldn't either I guess).   I would try to help them get help, I would take them to rehab, but I wouldn't allow it in my home.   But I would still love them deeply, pray for them, and offer resolutions if they were willing.

 

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I firmly believe that personal boundaries are rules for how you conduct yourself - not rules you put on others.

I had a mother who was extremely boundary driven and conflated her personal boundaries with my growth as a person.  Guess who I don't talk to?  Ever?  What I needed was love.  What I got was conditional acceptance. 
You, as a person, can choose not to do something because it goes against your moral code.  If you don't believe in living together before marriage or whatever the issue is, then you really shouldn't live with someone before marriage or whatever.  BUT, if you choose not to show love to a human being because they don't meet your moral code, then your code has failed you entirely and completely.  If you blame it on religion, your religion has failed you and turned from the commandments it follows.  Christianity talks quite a bit about love- love your neighbor AS yourself, it comes right after love the lord God with all your heart.  This is it.  Not punish, not set rules upon.  Love.  If you cannot love another as you love yourself, you failed.
 

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7 hours ago, SereneHome said:

To answer OP - yes I think relationship can survive, but I think it will change.  May be not better or worse, just different. If, for example, my child was getting married in a church (we are not Christians), I would be VERY upset and probably angry and most likely wouldn't go to the wedding, but I wouldn't cut them out of my life and would have to re-adjust various aspects of the relationship.

It's hard for me to understand the concept of putting relationship with family above everything else bc if the person in your family does something that goes again your own values, believes, morals - how can it not change the way you see them or the type of the relationship??

I think that for many people, having their parent refuse to attend their wedding because of where it was held would end the relationship from their end. It's saying I hold my anger/resentment/dislike/whatever of Christianity to be more important than your feelings or our relationship. 

7 hours ago, EmseB said:

I think this is a selective reading of scripture. He also literally threw people out of his house who were doing things against the law. He called people to repentance with acts of mercy, but didn't sin. I think this line of thinking in your post can be used to manipulate people into doing things they don't want to do (if you really loved me, you would X. If your God is love, you would do Y for me because you love God. If you really loved Jesus you'd stay in this bad marriage with me). I also think (religion aside) sometimes the loving thing to do, for others and oneself, is to have a boundary. I think it can really hurts if that boundary affects a close family member.

Yes, of course there are places he stopped people from sinning. But my point was, there are other places where he in fact said it was okay to sin, if the reason was compassion. Now, when to know the difference is the key, but there absolutely is scriptural support for putting kindness above the normal rules of one's religion. (this is in fact an ages old practice, and why Catholics who are say, fasting from meat on Friday but end up at someone's house who didn't know who gives them meat to eat for dinner should just eat it and fast another day. Kindness towards one's host (who is the image of God) is more important than the rule of fasting. The same idea underlies the concept of economia in the Eastern Orthodox churches.)

2 hours ago, Valley Girl said:

Next, I'd think about how involved I was expected to be. As others have said, expecting me to permit something in my home is different from someone doing something forbidden (but legal) in his or her own home out of my presence. Expecting to me fund or otherwise make the forbidden activity possible is not reasonable.  For instance, if my faith forbids sex outside marriage, I can refuse to permit unmarried people to share a bedroom. I would still welcome the partner in my home, however.  If my religion forbids abortion, I can refuse to take the person for the procedure. (I would expect to care lovingly for the person in recovery after the fact, however.) If I were helping to pay someone's rent and cohabitating were proscribed, I could decline to continue to pay even if it meant the person had to leave school or whatever. But I wouldn't reject the couple. Adults are entitled to make legal decisions. They aren't entitled to insist that others fund them.

 

Right. Living out one's beliefs is different from expecting others to hold them. So if I'm Vegan I will not prepare you a turkey on thanksgiving. But, it would be wrong in my opinion to refuse to go to my son's house for Thanksgiving because he is making a turkey. I can attend, and just not have the turkey. He would be wrong to sneak turkey into my food, or insist I eat his turkey, and I would be wrong to refuse to go just because he is eating it. 

55 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I firmly believe that personal boundaries are rules for how you conduct yourself - not rules you put on others.

I had a mother who was extremely boundary driven and conflated her personal boundaries with my growth as a person.  Guess who I don't talk to?  Ever?  What I needed was love.  What I got was conditional acceptance. 
You, as a person, can choose not to do something because it goes against your moral code.  If you don't believe in living together before marriage or whatever the issue is, then you really shouldn't live with someone before marriage or whatever.  BUT, if you choose not to show love to a human being because they don't meet your moral code, then your code has failed you entirely and completely.  I
 

This. 

Again, there is a long history of this amongst Christians. I think of the Catholic nuns who work with prostitutes, Jesus dining with tax collectors, etc. 

 

 

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I also wanted to say, as attending weddings has been brought up before, that I will never understand the idea that people won't attend a wedding of two people that were cohabitating. They have found their way, and are doing the right thing - rejoice! Just like the angels rejoice when a sinner is saved!

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The examples have gone from crime to drugs to religion or birthdays to abortions to the KKK to vegans and turkeys. This thread is a roller coaster of metaphors.

But thinking through those... I think for me, anything that is private or personal beliefs that plays out within your own home or relationships, I would state my case and let it go and let the person do what they need to do. So that would include a huge array of stuff. Nearly everything religious. But also things like diet or relationships or gun ownership or controlled recreational drug use.

If it was something that is public and affects others, then my tune changes a little. When crimes are being committed, then that would usually be a problem, though exceptions for conscientious objections to a law or to something like code violations (say, fixing things in your home without a permit or knowingly always parking in a no parking zone where they don't ticket...) would definitely be considered. On the flip side, things that are legal but endanger or hurt others - say, owning guns that you keep loaded and openly available in your home or verbally harassing someone else - those could also be a problem for me. I have no moral problem with moderate marijuana use (though it's legal here, so). But heavily using anything from alcohol to opiates also starts to be a problem because I don't believe that can ever stay truly private or safe from everyone. And I'm fine with disagreeing about politics, but open bigotry is a problem because it's not a personal belief - it inevitably affects others.

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57 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I think that for many people, having their parent refuse to attend their wedding because of where it was held would end the relationship from their end. It's saying I hold my anger/resentment/dislike/whatever of Christianity to be more important than your feelings or our relationship. 

 

 

 

Well, may be that's how a "child" would take it, but that wouldn't be MY reason. It's not the anger that would make me not go to a church wedding. Holding a certain belief would make me not go.

And this was just one example.

My overall point is that I don't understand the concept of "putting relationship above everything else" bc if the other person does something you find immoral or goes against of who you are or what you believe at your core - how can you have an unchanged view of the person or continue the exact same relationship?

*you - as an general you.

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8 hours ago, MercyA said:

Everything will be okay, Scarlett. I admire you for putting God first. That is Scriptural.

Your son knows how much you love him. This too shall pass. Hugs.

I like what Mercy says here. The more I think about this thread, the more I think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The man didn’t chase down, or participate in the “riotous living,” with his son. Or condone it. He just gave him what was due and let him go. He didn’t go save him from him self. But he was ready with open arms when the penitent son came back. The story is about forgiveness from the Father AND repentance on the part of the son. It’s not a one way story of acceptance no matter what.  Luke 15:10-32. 

Hugs Scarlett. I’m so sorry for your pain. I will pray for you and your whole family. 

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I know we've gotten onto several different but related topics here, but I find the one about religion and how that plays into our decisions an interesting one.  My own thought is that generally my faith isn't about choosing one thing over the other.  It pretty much can be summarized in one statement (as far as how faith plays out in choices):  What is the most loving thing I can do in this situation?  I think any religious laws were put in place to help guide people toward that goal, but the laws themselves are just tools.  Love needs to be the goal.  (I believe that God is the very essence of love.)  

Sometimes, this might require you to do something that may appear to be going against the religious law;  it might feel very uncomfortable and ugly and even painful, but in the end, it still might be the most loving thing you can do.

(Religious) laws often help point us toward that loving goal, but sometimes they get in the way of it.  Also, laws are quite general; there aren't laws governing every single situation with all of the subtle nuances and relationships involved.  I think it's much easier to steer with love as the driving force behind our actions rather than getting tangled up in all the laws.  I don't meant to disregard religious laws either;  we need to carefully consider them while remembering what they are:  tools.

Also, I don't think using love as our guide requires us to do something ourselves that we feel is clearly wrong, but it certainly might require us to place ourselves in the very midst of those situations.  Everything in you might want to run as far away from it as possible, but that action might not be the most loving thing you can do. 

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Definitely meandering around to different examples, but honestly you described what he's doing as "horrific" and I can't think of anything I would use that word to describe unless it was something that caused real harm to others along the lines of crimes against other people - assault, rape, murder, drug dealing, etc.   And if it was something like that,  I certainly would not support my child committing such acts. 

But, to take the example of living together before marriage.  It doesn't harm anyone except the couple who are "living in sin" (if that is your belief).    Since it's pretty much guaranteed that they know you don't agree with what they are doing, the relationship would be more important to me than taking a hard line on what is really their decision to make as adults.  I would not refuse to visit or cut off contact.

If the actions are something that would lead to them leaving your faith, wouldn't you want to keep the doors open and stay in contact in the hopes they would someday mature and want to return to the fold?   Wouldn't taking a hard line and coming across as controlling and judgmental possibly cause more of a rift and make it even less likely that they would ever return to the fold, since their feelings towards the faith would probably be full of resentment since it lead to their mother rejecting them?

That was really rambling so I hope it made some sense.  

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I also wanted to say, as attending weddings has been brought up before, that I will never understand the idea that people won't attend a wedding of two people that were cohabitating. They have found their way, and are doing the right thing - rejoice! Just like the angels rejoice when a sinner is saved!

 

What if you still don't agree with the wedding?

 

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3 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

I firmly believe that personal boundaries are rules for how you conduct yourself - not rules you put on others.

I had a mother who was extremely boundary driven and conflated her personal boundaries with my growth as a person.  Guess who I don't talk to?  Ever?  What I needed was love.  What I got was conditional acceptance. 
You, as a person, can choose not to do something because it goes against your moral code.  If you don't believe in living together before marriage or whatever the issue is, then you really shouldn't live with someone before marriage or whatever.  BUT, if you choose not to show love to a human being because they don't meet your moral code, then your code has failed you entirely and completely.  If you blame it on religion, your religion has failed you and turned from the commandments it follows.  Christianity talks quite a bit about love- love your neighbor AS yourself, it comes right after love the lord God with all your heart.  This is it.  Not punish, not set rules upon.  Love.  If you cannot love another as you love yourself, you failed.
 

 

2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I think that for many people, having their parent refuse to attend their wedding because of where it was held would end the relationship from their end. It's saying I hold my anger/resentment/dislike/whatever of Christianity to be more important than your feelings or our relationship. 

Yes, of course there are places he stopped people from sinning. But my point was, there are other places where he in fact said it was okay to sin, if the reason was compassion. Now, when to know the difference is the key, but there absolutely is scriptural support for putting kindness above the normal rules of one's religion. (this is in fact an ages old practice, and why Catholics who are say, fasting from meat on Friday but end up at someone's house who didn't know who gives them meat to eat for dinner should just eat it and fast another day. Kindness towards one's host (who is the image of God) is more important than the rule of fasting. The same idea underlies the concept of economia in the Eastern Orthodox churches.)

Right. Living out one's beliefs is different from expecting others to hold them. So if I'm Vegan I will not prepare you a turkey on thanksgiving. But, it would be wrong in my opinion to refuse to go to my son's house for Thanksgiving because he is making a turkey. I can attend, and just not have the turkey. He would be wrong to sneak turkey into my food, or insist I eat his turkey, and I would be wrong to refuse to go just because he is eating it. 

This. 

Again, there is a long history of this amongst Christians. I think of the Catholic nuns who work with prostitutes, Jesus dining with tax collectors, etc. 

 

 

What one person sees as punishing behavior another sees as a personal boundary.  I have not been unkind or unloving.  He has been. To me and Dh.  He actually called Dh an asshole while standing in our kitchen.  Dh was shaking from being so upset. Ds has been very cruel to me. Yet neither of us have responded in anger or done anything to him except not give him his way on a very specific topic that violates our personal boundary.  I absolutely am not trying to control him.  He is currently very angry.  Xh has talked to him about how he is treating me and he says he is going to talk to him again.  And xh feels ds is just immature and angry and it will pass.  

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

What one person sees as punishing behavior another sees as a personal boundary.  I have not been unkind or unloving.  He has been. To me and Dh.  He actually called Dh an asshole while standing in our kitchen.  Dh was shaking from being so upset. Ds has been very cruel to me. Yet neither of us have responded in anger or done anything to him except not give him his way on a very specific topic that violates our personal boundary.  I absolutely am not trying to control him.  He is currently very angry.  Xh has talked to him about how he is treating me and he says he is going to talk to him again.  And xh feels ds is just immature and angry and it will pass.  

I'm sorry. That hurts. And even if you don't intend to waiver or have no conflicting feelings, it is painful when someone we love is that angry at us. 

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10 hours ago, StellaM said:

If it's more a case of a young adult expecting that he can do something in your shared home that goes against your consistent, well-known religious views, and he's angry because you've said 'No, son, even for you, I don't make an exception on this issue', I actually think his inability to accept your moral boundary is a sign of immaturity, and a weak sense of personal values.

Both of which I'd not be surprised to find in young adults.

In the end, it's OK for you to have a moral sense of what is OK and what isn't for your home, and it's OK for him to have a differing moral sense of what is OK and what isn't for his home. 

Moms, in particular, can say 'no' to children, and still be a caring, loving mom. 

But you can't manage or control the reactions of someone who hears a 'no' and has it rattle their own sense of self. I have a feeling that a more independent, mature and grounded young adult (as they tend to become with experience) could simply say 'Well Mom, I disagree - when I'm living independently, I'll do things my way.' and leave it there. 

It's difficult because we don't know the exact issue - I can think of issues I'd be inflexible about re young adult behaviour in the home, and issues I'd negotiate, as well as subjects that are non-issues for me. Only you know yourself, your moral stance, its importance, your son, how intensely to feel and respond to his reaction...so only you can judge to what extent you or he are justified in your respective stances. 

It's very difficult when you 'fall from grace' in the eyes of a child who has historically been close, and compliant. That it's difficult doesn't mean you're wrong. It doesn't mean you're right either. Same goes for him. 

All I'd be wary of is trying to justify your views. If you are content you are choosing the best, most moral thing, there's no need to 'win'. You don't need to have any long arguments about it, and neither of you need to have people taking sides about it. 

 

 

I don’t think we are.  I am very sad and I have a lot of support from my friends....but no I am not trying to justify. 

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((hugs)) Honestly, Scarlett, if we don't know the details, we can't really give good advice.  But it sounds like those in the situation, like xh and your friends, do know what's going on.  I would trust the judgment of people in the know, not random internet people who don't know what's going on and can only use our wild imaginations.  Best wishes in your situation.

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9 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

What one person sees as punishing behavior another sees as a personal boundary.  I have not been unkind or unloving.  He has been. To me and Dh.  He actually called Dh an asshole while standing in our kitchen.  Dh was shaking from being so upset. Ds has been very cruel to me. Yet neither of us have responded in anger or done anything to him except not give him his way on a very specific topic that violates our personal boundary.  I absolutely am not trying to control him.  He is currently very angry.  Xh has talked to him about how he is treating me and he says he is going to talk to him again.  And xh feels ds is just immature and angry and it will pass.  

I would agree with your xh. He is being immature. You, as the owner of the home and the person subsidizing the expenses, have a say in what goes on under your roof. He's venting his anger at his own helplessness and inability to live as he wishes at you and your dh. 

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(((Scarlett)))

So much good advice on this thread.

You might be looking at this from the wrong direction.  Your thread title is "backlash from a hard decision".  I'm not sure that's what's really going on here.  From what I can tell with limited information, you didn't make a decision here.  You are living out your long-held religious beliefs.  Someone else made a decision that goes against those beliefs and now seems to be resentful.  

This reminds me of a situation that my sister and I had one weekend when I was in college and I was home visiting my family. 

My sister got really upset with me because I refused to watch a movie with her.  I went to another room with a book.  She was mad and said that since we don't see each other very often I should get over my prudishness and watch the movie with her.  That if I didn't I was putting my beliefs ahead of her.  I turned the situation around and told her that she is the one who rented a movie that she knew I would object to.  She was putting the movie ahead of me.  I told her that she could have rented a movie that I would have found acceptable or she could have rented this particular movie any other weekend when I wasn't visiting.  She soon realized that I was right and apologized.

Scarlett, I hope he realizes that he is hurting you with his decision and that he soon reconciles.

Edited by Junie
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9 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

What one person sees as punishing behavior another sees as a personal boundary.  I have not been unkind or unloving.  He has been. To me and Dh.  He actually called Dh an asshole while standing in our kitchen.  Dh was shaking from being so upset. Ds has been very cruel to me. Yet neither of us have responded in anger or done anything to him except not give him his way on a very specific topic that violates our personal boundary.  I absolutely am not trying to control him.  He is currently very angry.  Xh has talked to him about how he is treating me and he says he is going to talk to him again.  And xh feels ds is just immature and angry and it will pass.  

That stinks. Young adults can be total jerks. I recall an incident with my grandparents where I was a huge, giant, out of control a-hole. We later reconciled and had a wonderful relationship, but I still regret all of it.

((((HUGS))) give it some time and space.

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16 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

Definitely meandering around to different examples, but honestly you described what he's doing as "horrific" and I can't think of anything I would use that word to describe unless it was something that caused real harm to others along the lines of crimes against other people - assault, rape, murder, drug dealing, etc.   And if it was something like that,  I certainly would not support my child committing such acts. 

But, to take the example of living together before marriage.  It doesn't harm anyone except the couple who are "living in sin" (if that is your belief).    Since it's pretty much guaranteed that they know you don't agree with what they are doing, the relationship would be more important to me than taking a hard line on what is really their decision to make as adults.  I would not refuse to visit or cut off contact.

If the actions are something that would lead to them leaving your faith, wouldn't you want to keep the doors open and stay in contact in the hopes they would someday mature and want to return to the fold?   Wouldn't taking a hard line and coming across as controlling and judgmental possibly cause more of a rift and make it even less likely that they would ever return to the fold, since their feelings towards the faith would probably be full of resentment since it lead to their mother rejecting them?

That was really rambling so I hope it made some sense.  

Did I say horrific?  I was pretty upset last night, so I may have used that word. I would not use that word today.  Lol

The ball is in his court so to speak. He will have to decide if he wants to stop being angry eventually. 

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9 minutes ago, Junie said:

(((Scarlett)))

So much good advice on this thread.

You might be looking at this from the wrong direction.  Your thread title is "backlash from a hard decision".  I'm not sure that's what's really going on here.  From what I can tell with limited information, you didn't make a decision here.  You are living out your long-held religious beliefs.  Someone else made a decision that goes against those beliefs and now seems to be resentful.  

This reminds me of a situation that my sister and I had one weekend when I was in college and I was home visiting my family. 

My sister got really upset with me because I refused to watch a movie with her.  I went to another room with a book.  She was mad and said that since we don't see each other very often I should get over my prudishness and watch the movie with her.  That if I didn't I was putting my beliefs ahead of her.  I turned the situation around and told her that she is the one who rented a movie that she knew I would object to.  She was putting the movie ahead of me.  I told her that she could have rented a movie that I would have found acceptable or she could have rented this particular movie any other weekend when I wasn't visiting.  She soon realized that I was right and apologized.

Scarlett, I hope he realizes that he is hurting you with his decision and that he soon reconciles.

That is actually a great example. Thank you. 

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26 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

What if you still don't agree with the wedding?

 

Are you supporting someone in the wedding?  Then even if it's a wedding you don't support, even if you think they're entering an abusive relationship, I'd be at the wedding, because I'd want the person I support to know that I love them and am there for them.  (And then hopefully they'll trust me as someone they could come to when things start to fall apart.)  It is a tough decision though.   Same holds true if it's a wedding formula you don't agree with -- for example, a marriage of people of the same-sex.   The best example I've seen personally is that of my aunt, who is a very conservative Christian and 85 years old (so from a very different generation).  It was very confusing and heartbreaking for her when her dear granddaughter married another woman.  But my aunt kept her act together and invited my mother to go with her to attend the wedding.  She decided that above all else, she had to show her granddaughter that she loved her and was there for her, no matter what, even if she didn't agree with her choices.

OTOH, if there's no one in the wedding you support -- for example, if it's a wedding for your ex-brother-in-law who is an abusive jerk and had affairs while being married to your sister and then divorced your sister, and the woman he was having an affair with, then I wouldn't go.  

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2 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Are you supporting someone in the wedding?  Then even if it's a wedding you don't support, even if you think they're entering an abusive relationship, I'd be at the wedding, because I'd want the person I support to know that I love them and am there for them.  (And then hopefully they'll trust me as someone they could come to when things start to fall apart.)  It is a tough decision though.   Same holds true if it's a wedding formula you don't agree with -- for example, a marriage of people of the same-sex.   The best example I've seen personally is that of my aunt, who is a very conservative Christian and 85 years old (so from a very different generation).  It was very confusing and heartbreaking for her when her dear granddaughter married another woman.  But my aunt kept her act together and invited my mother to go with her to attend the wedding.  She decided that above all else, she had to show her granddaughter that she loved her and was there for her, no matter what, even if she didn't agree with her choices.

OTOH, if there's no one in the wedding you support -- for example, if it's a wedding for your ex-brother-in-law who is an abusive jerk and had affairs while being married to your sister and then divorced your sister, and the woman he was having an affair with, then I wouldn't go.  

 

Yeah, I think we have discussed this on this board before (not you and me but the boardies in general) about what we would feel comfortable with and what we wouldn't.  Some felt that if you go to a wedding, you are supporting the couple completely, so they wouldn't go if they didn't agree with it.  Others felt more like you do, that you go, even if you don't agree.

 

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54 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

What if you still don't agree with the wedding?

 

Honestly, if you support the person, you go anyway. I'm assuming they know how you feel about the wedding - that is what conversations are for. You can even say, "i'm coming to support you, not because I think this marriage is a good idea". 

Because the greatest commandment is to love and if something isn't clear cut, I should err on the side of love. 

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

 

What one person sees as punishing behavior another sees as a personal boundary.  I have not been unkind or unloving.  He has been. To me and Dh.  He actually called Dh an asshole while standing in our kitchen.  Dh was shaking from being so upset. Ds has been very cruel to me. Yet neither of us have responded in anger or done anything to him except not give him his way on a very specific topic that violates our personal boundary.  I absolutely am not trying to control him.  He is currently very angry.  Xh has talked to him about how he is treating me and he says he is going to talk to him again.  And xh feels ds is just immature and angry and it will pass.  

 

Well, if even your ex-husband is going to bat for you on this, I think we can all assume that whatever happened, you are not the one at fault here. I hope your ex can talk some sense into your son.

Sending you lots of hugs.

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16 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Honestly, even if my DH started like attending KKK rallys or something, leaving would be the absolute last resort.  There would be a lot to work on, but I have very few straight up  deal breakers.  

 

Actually, I think that might be a marriage ender for me. And there are very few things that I would consider to be a marriage ender. Primarily, infidelity or abuse...

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I think the hardest part about the wedding example is that it's viewed by many people, including myself, as a religious ceremony. A covenant ceremony. That elevates it above just an interpersonal/relational decision.

 

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44 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Are you supporting someone in the wedding?  Then even if it's a wedding you don't support, even if you think they're entering an abusive relationship, I'd be at the wedding, because I'd want the person I support to know that I love them and am there for them.  (And then hopefully they'll trust me as someone they could come to when things start to fall apart.)  It is a tough decision though.   Same holds true if it's a wedding formula you don't agree with -- for example, a marriage of people of the same-sex.   The best example I've seen personally is that of my aunt, who is a very conservative Christian and 85 years old (so from a very different generation).  It was very confusing and heartbreaking for her when her dear granddaughter married another woman.  But my aunt kept her act together and invited my mother to go with her to attend the wedding.  She decided that above all else, she had to show her granddaughter that she loved her and was there for her, no matter what, even if she didn't agree with her choices.

OTOH, if there's no one in the wedding you support -- for example, if it's a wedding for your ex-brother-in-law who is an abusive jerk and had affairs while being married to your sister and then divorced your sister, and the woman he was having an affair with, then I wouldn't go.  

I agree. And I think that going to the wedding or even participating in it doesn’t mean you can’t share concerns in a loving way. I know someone whose maid of honor expressed serious concerns to the bride. At the time, many in the immediate family dismissed it as jealousy because both women were older and had been wanting to get married for sometime. They were attending a church singles group together when the couple met. But the maid of honor still participated in the wedding. It turned out she was right, as the husband cheated shortly after the birth of their first child and they are now divorced. The maid of honor has been with her through all of it, providing love and support.

Edited by Frances
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16 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Wait. So if your parent was morally opposed to living together outside of marriage....and they refused to attend events in your home.....While you lived with someone outside of marriage.....that would drastically change your relationship with your parent?

 

Yes. Dh and I lived together for about 6 months before we got married. In the mid-80s, before it was so normal. My father had a very hard time with it. My mom a little. They still came to our home as they, without asking, didn't want to harm our relationship with them. When we visited them, without being told, we told them that we were happy to sleep in separate rooms. Mutual respect.

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Just now, sassenach said:

I think the hardest part about the wedding example is that it's viewed by many people, including myself, as a religious ceremony. A covenant ceremony. That elevates it above just an interpersonal/relational decision.

 

 

Yes, and that’s part of what makes it so hard to speculate on what someone should do in a situation that is related to religion or morality. Even two people of the same faith may have different levels of acceptance of certain actions and behaviors, and while I might agree with one of those people, who am I to say that the other person is wrong? 

There are many people on this forum who are far stricter about religious matters than I am, but even if I would say that something that upsets them would be no big deal to me, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be terrible thing to them or that I shouldn’t respect their feelings. And when we look at Scarlett’s situation, this is about her own son, not some random friend or distant relative, so all of the emotions are magnified, and even minor little details are probably far more important to her than if this was about pretty much anyone else in the world.

Also, Scarlett and her son have been through a lot together. They have a very special bond. They were together through her first marriage, the divorce, the remarriage, the step-siblings... and the one consistent thing through everything has been that they had each other and they knew each other better than anyone else did. So if her son blindsided her by doing something she never would have expected, she is probably far more hurt than someone else would be if they weren’t as close to their child as she has been to her son. 

I feel so sad for her.

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16 minutes ago, sassenach said:

I think the hardest part about the wedding example is that it's viewed by many people, including myself, as a religious ceremony. A covenant ceremony. That elevates it above just an interpersonal/relational decision.

 

See, I have and would again attend religious ceremonies outside my faith. I've been to Bat and Bar Mitzvah's, regular jewish services, a buddhist ceremony where my ex husband took particular vows, etc. That doesn't mean I am or ever will be Buddhist or Jewish. 

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

See, I have and would again attend religious ceremonies outside my faith. I've been to Bat and Bar Mitzvah's, regular jewish services, a buddhist ceremony where my ex husband took particular vows, etc. That doesn't mean I am or ever will be Buddhist or Jewish. 

 

Same here. If cake will be served afterward, I will be there. 😉

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5 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

See, I have and would again attend religious ceremonies outside my faith. I've been to Bat and Bar Mitzvah's, regular jewish services, a buddhist ceremony where my ex husband took particular vows, etc. That doesn't mean I am or ever will be Buddhist or Jewish. 

 

Sorry to quote you twice, but your post got me thinking...

We haven’t mentioned civil ceremonies. Obviously, I think they are fine, but what about if a mom was very religious and didn’t believe that a civil wedding would count in terms of being married in the eyes of God? So if her child got married by a justice of the peace instead of in church, in the mom’s eyes, her child would be living in sin because he and his wife wouldn’t “really” be married. 

Should the mom attend the child’s wedding at the courthouse if she truly believed that the only true wedding was at church? (I’m assuming the child was a member of the same church.) 

I would go, but church weddings aren’t that important to me so this isn’t a moral or faith issue for me. But I can see how it could be a very big dilemma to someone who does see it as a moral or faith-based issue, because they would worry about their child living in sin. 

Or maybe they wouldn’t worry at all. I don’t really know! But I started wondering about it now that we are talking about weddings. 🙂

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I don't think the wedding question is about not being willing to attend the wedding of a different faith (although some religious people cannot, as I understand it, do so) but rather participating in what someone may view as a religious or sacred consecration of a union.  If the union is something you feel is for whatever reason deeply wrong - say you're opposed to older men marrying adolescents and the wedding is one of a 45 year old marrying a 15 year old - then it makes sense to me that you might say, look, I support you personally and hope things work out well, but I can't be part of the religious rite that consecrates this union because I think it is deeply immoral.

Or think of some other union you might see as deeply immoral (this will of course depend on your own moral beliefs).  Some people might see homosexuality as deeply immoral, or interracial marriages as deeply immoral, and you might say wait, those things are either not that bad or not moral questions at all, it's wrong to refuse to attend a wedding on those premeses!  But if you replace those views with your own moral positions, and say what if the wedding were a child bride sold by her parents into the marriage at 12, or what if it were the marriage of someone to his own daughter (presuming this were in some way legal somewhere, I dunno - many things that are legal now were until pretty recently illegal, so things change) - you might be able to see how it could be difficult for people who hold different religious beliefs than you.

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I do think there are times one must stand by convictions, and that does make it hard to say given we don''t know the situation. And for me that would mostly be if I felt someone who was a minor or unable to protect themselves was being harmed, or if the person in question was harming others. So, that would rule out a 12 year old being married off, because the older spouse is actively harming someone who is not of age to protect themselves or consent. Versus two adults who have full knowledge and consent and are at worst harming themselves alone. 

I just don't believe it is always best or morally or religiously right to stick to a tradition or rule of a faith over expressing kindness. That Jesus showed us sometimes exceptions are allowed if our heart is in the right place. And obviously, God knows where my heart is is. It's not like God is going to get confused and think I approve of something that I don't approve of if I attend. 

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1 minute ago, moonflower said:

I don't think the wedding question is about not being willing to attend the wedding of a different faith (although some religious people cannot, as I understand it, do so) but rather participating in what someone may view as a religious or sacred consecration of a union.  If the union is something you feel is for whatever reason deeply wrong - say you're opposed to older men marrying adolescents and the wedding is one of a 45 year old marrying a 15 year old - then it makes sense to me that you might say, look, I support you personally and hope things work out well, but I can't be part of the religious rite that consecrates this union because I think it is deeply immoral.

Or think of some other union you might see as deeply immoral (this will of course depend on your own moral beliefs).  Some people might see homosexuality as deeply immoral, or interracial marriages as deeply immoral, and you might say wait, those things are either not that bad or not moral questions at all, it's wrong to refuse to attend a wedding on those premeses!  But if you replace those views with your own moral positions, and say what if the wedding were a child bride sold by her parents into the marriage at 12, or what if it were the marriage of someone to his own daughter (presuming this were in some way legal somewhere, I dunno - many things that are legal now were until pretty recently illegal, so things change) - you might be able to see how it could be difficult for people who hold different religious beliefs than you.

 

And in addition to everything you just said... if your own child was one of the two people getting married in any of the situations you mentioned and your religion taught that it was morally wrong and you were a devout believer in your religion, the emotional impact would be magnified by about a million percent, because you would have such a deep personal connection to it as the parent of that child. 

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I think a better ceremony example would be a bris. Where it's possible to believe at least one of the people involved are being actively harmed by what's happening in the ceremony. Or a wedding of a different religion where someone is marrying an underage bride or a second wife or something. It's not the difference of religion that is the issue.

I know many people who wouldn't attend that type of ceremony, and they wouldn't do so because of the commandment to love their neighbor as themselves. They view a wedding or other ceremony as a celebration, and they cannot in good conscience celebrate, even if they might support one party, they don't, and can't under any possible view point, support the event itself.

It is possible that the loving thing to do in a situation is to distance oneself or hold fast to a personal ethical boundary. Again, it's very manipulative behaviour to insist that if someone loves you they'd cross any boundary of personal ethics or behaviour.

We can disagree as individuals on what those exact lines should be, but that doesn't make someone else's line unloving in and of itself.

Edited by EmseB
Autocorrect run amok!!
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44 minutes ago, sassenach said:

I think the hardest part about the wedding example is that it's viewed by many people, including myself, as a religious ceremony. A covenant ceremony. That elevates it above just an interpersonal/relational decision.

 

Even if it’s a secular, non religious ceremony?

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I do think there are times one must stand by convictions, and that does make it hard to say given we don''t know the situation. And for me that would mostly be if I felt someone who was a minor or unable to protect themselves was being harmed, or if the person in question was harming others. So, that would rule out a 12 year old being married off, because the older spouse is actively harming someone who is not of age to protect themselves or consent. Versus two adults who have full knowledge and consent and are at worst harming themselves alone. 

I just don't believe it is always best or morally or religiously right to stick to a tradition or rule of a faith over expressing kindness. That Jesus showed us sometimes exceptions are allowed if our heart is in the right place. And obviously, God knows where my heart is is. It's not like God is going to get confused and think I approve of something that I don't approve of if I attend. 

 

Yes, I think most people would probably say that if something is not promoting or causing harm, but is just part of someone else's tradition or minor rule, overlooking it in the name of the greater good (family togetherness, or societal support, or whatever) makes sense morally speaking.

It's just that what causes harm, while being a moral absolute (that is, there is a moral Truth), is not seen as the same thing for all people.  Emse's bris example is very good.  I'm not ever attending one, not if one of my children converted and had one for my grandchild, not in any situation.  It is not a lack of love for the people involved or a condemnation of alternative religious belief; I'm not even religious.

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1 minute ago, EmseB said:

I think a better ceremony example would be a bris. Where it's possible to believe at least one of the people involved are being actively harmed by what's happening in the ceremony. Or a wedding of a different religion where someone is marrying an underage bride or a second wife or something. It's not the difference of religion that is the issue.

I know many people who wouldn't attend that type of ceremony, and they wouldn't do so because of the commandment to love their neighbor as themselves. They view a wedding or other ceremony as a celebration, and they cannot in good conscience celebrate, even if they might support one party, they don't, and can't under any possible view point, support the event itself.

It is possible that the loving thing to do in a situation is to distance oneself or hold fast to a personal ethical boundary. Again, it's very manipulative behaviour to insist that if dinnertime loves you they'd cross any boundary of personal ethics or behaviour.

We can disagree as individuals on what those exact lines should be, but that doesn't make someone else's line unloving in and of itself.

I agree, and that one would be a very hard one for me to decide. I don't doubt that there are times one has to draw a line. We just don't know what that is in regards to this situation. Is it the event itself that is the issue, or the timing of it, or where it is held, or that someone is being harmed, or what?  Will attending require participation in something against one's morals, or just witnessing something? Will it require breaking a rule oneself (so say, traveling on the sabbath if one's religion forbids that) or just being around people who are doing something one doesn't believe in (sitting next to people eating non kosher, but able to abstain from the non kosher food oneself) or witnessing something one doesn't believe in (remarriage of a divorced person when one doesn't believe in that). Those all seem like different levels of "participation" for lack of a better term. 

 

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3 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 

Yes, I think most people would probably say that if something is not promoting or causing harm, but is just part of someone else's tradition or minor rule, overlooking it in the name of the greater good (family togetherness, or societal support, or whatever) makes sense morally speaking.

It's just that what causes harm, while being a moral absolute (that is, there is a moral Truth), is not seen as the same thing for all people.  Emse's bris example is very good.  I'm not ever attending one, not if one of my children converted and had one for my grandchild, not in any situation.  It is not a lack of love for the people involved or a condemnation of alternative religious belief; I'm not even religious.

But this goes full circle for me to my original reply (where I mentioned the birthday example).  Attending the ceremony/ ritual etc. is not the only way to show love to someone.  After all, people miss ceremonies for all sorts of reasons - illness, cost, schedule conflicts etc.    Yes, if someone made a big stink about why they aren't going to be there then it will most likely cause a rift to the relationship.  But if they quietly RSVP that they are sorry but they cannot go and still show love and caring for the people in other ways, then it shouldn't - unless the other person is the one who is being rigid about insisting that they be there or else.  It comes back to meeting emotional needs in relationships.  Being a caring loving family member for 364 days of the year trumps not being there for one day.  (Having said that, I personally would be there for the wedding of my child no matter the circumstance, because to me, it isn't about putting my stamp of approval on the wedding but on being there for what is a significant day for my child.) 

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