Thursday, January 22, 2009

Losing my religion...

I am unsure where the old cliche about not talking about religion and politics fits into the super-high tech world wide web. This blog game is new to me. As Marvin Candle recently said - "there are rules, rules that can't be broken!!" - so, I want to be careful not to offend - especially if religion does play a role in your (meaning the reader) life. Plus, I am convinced that there are hundreds of thousands of wing nut watch dog religious groups out there that spend their entire day googling "religion" only to go absolutely First Testament on the author (meaning me) .

Until recently, religion - or the presence thereof - at the wedding has been an ongoing talking point for H and I pre-dating the engagement.

There are certain factions involved in the wedding that would like to see the use of some form of Christianity at the wedding - be it a religious ceremony to something as simp
le as a blessing before dinner. Religion plays a part in a lot of people's lives (including our families and guests) - I think there is an expectation on these people's parts that religion is a necessary component of a wedding - that a blessing and oath before God somehow validates the wedding. Ideally, you (meaning me) want to make these people happy - but at what cost?

Probably unsurprisingly, H disagrees with the use of religion at the weddi
ng. Hard. I am sure that if you have been following this little experiment of mine, you have deduced that H is a more non-traditional bride. Naturally, this extends to the idea or the use of religion at the wedding and even the basic tenants of god and church, in general. I wonder if she has always been like this - could you imagine a frizzy haired little girl in the 9th grade with big red framed glasses (think nerdy girl who writes for school newspaper in any 80's teen sitcom) refusing to say the pledge of allegiance because of the use of some doctrine in the recital. It makes me laugh - especially the part where I think H was a teen nerd who wrote for the school newspaper and broke stories such as "where exactly does the sloppy joe meat come from?" I digress.

Last week, H waited for the 66 bus to take her to the blue line stop. As three buses passed her, she had time to think about the wedding and the things that she wants and the things that absolutely can
not be part of the wedding. Religion was atop this list. She had some time to really consider this and when she finally got into the office - about an hour later - she was REALLY fired up. I was treated to the most impassioned (*cough* nuts *cough*) stance on religion at the wedding yet. I wrote a few posts ago about "Bridezillas" - this was H's bridezilla moment. She fully admitted it. She was putting her foot down and pulling Bride rank (NOTE: this was the first time that she 'officially' pulled rank). She detests what organized Christianity stands for - the role of women in the church, the homophobia, the elitism and the false acceptance/backroom prejudices of the church - and did not want any hint of religion at the wedding. She is my little Brangelina taking a stand against the Church until the Church cleans up its act a little and recognizes.

Fair enough.

I can't say I disagree with her. I don't go to Church. I don't even lie about going to Church (to make my mother happy). I was raised catholic-ish and went back to church while I was in law school. When my father died, I went back to church for a grief group that allowed me a certain feeling of catharsis. Since then, other than one mass (maybe two) a year, I don't make it back to church. I c
annot say with a straight face that God or the belief in God has played a major role in my life, rather, its a part of my make-up - a tiny part of my belief system - something that gives me some guidance in the way I live and some solace when things are rough. I have my issues with the catholic church as well - specifically the antiquated doctrine and the use of fear (and sometimes intolerance) to convince people that their way is THE way. I could not - without some hypocrisy - tell H that the use of prayer at our wedding was a big deal to me. Simply...its not.

My desire to have some form of prayer at the wedding largely stemmed from a need to make everyone happy and/or comfortable. I am sure that there are
people out there that, for whatever their reason, think that you (meaning us) HAVE to have prayer at the wedding. Whether it is what they're used to at weddings or what they believe - I imagine that they feel a tie to some traditional aspects of a wedding - usually manifested via the use of religion.

I think what I have to remember, more than anything, is that this wedding is about H and its about me and about our life together - a life in which god and religion play a rather small role. So, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what our guests feel belongs in a wedding or even what they do on Sunday mornings. What matters is us, and what we are comfortable with and what we want on our day. This is a celebration of our lives together and we want to share it with everyone in our own very unique way - which does not include religion (or a 60 minute ceremony). When any of our guests get married (renew their vows, whatever) and want to use religion at their ceremony, we promise that we will not roll our eyes and will respect that this is a reflection of their lives.

Swear to god.


Tatiana said...

Dont have a "prayer"...just have a personal statement or "reflection"...make it up yourselves.

TMS19 said...

That's not a bad idea - we are writing our own vows and are choosing readings from our favorite books, rather than the bible. I think where we are encountering problems is the expectation of others that there will be some form of prayer at the wedding.

BTW - looked at your site - very talented. I love the "Reading New Orleans" painting.