- 8 years ago
- Wedding: December 2006
Brief Background: Four years ago when we got engaged my Methodist minister created many barriers to our marriage, mostly because my husband is the product of a Jewish mother, had a Lutheran father who had him baptized in that church, then nobody followed up with any religion so he primarily identifies with an Agnostic point of view. We found another Methodist minister that married us without any pre-marital counseling, probably because we paid dearly to be married in his church! Then a few months later, my husband decided he “really liked” that minister and we formally joined that Methodist church.
Since we have been married every time we have the slightest little “tiff” or people notice that my POV on something has changed they blame it on my “Athiest husband.” We celebrate all the traditional Chistain holidays, as well as lighting the Menorah out of respect to my Husband’s Jewish heritage. Though his mother didn’t take him to Temple, she taught him many aspects of the Jewish faith and it seems like they ate a fairly Kosher diet growing up. Consequently DH doesn’t eat most pork products, which causes a whole “thing” at family dinners because they CONSTANTLY want to serve ham.
I think the shift in my POV has come about because I am living away from the heavy religous environment and out of a “bible belt” type town. The area where we live seems to be mostly Catholic/Jewish/Athiest with everyone being very tolerant of one another’s beliefs. Here is feel more able to express my beliefs, rather than biting my tongue which I did ALOT in my home town!
For several generations my family has been active in a fraternal organization. Recently when I went to “join”the local branch of this fraternity they wanted to run a “more thorough” background check than the FBI one I need to work with kids. They claim to be non-religious, but I have to pledge myself to “Christian God”. There seemed to be some issue with my last name, which is very simiilar to a well known “Jewish” name and is often confused as such. I finally asked if there was a problem with someone with Jewish ancestry joining the organization. No one– including people in my own family — would directly answer my question. I have found out on my own they only allow certain people to enter It seems that they look at race, ethnic heritage, and faith. It also seems like my “athiest husband” might be a problem and while they don’t restrict Jews per say, they have a habit of serving pork products and doing other things that would be offensive to someone of Jewish faith.
My family is actually very sad that it seems I won’t “be able” to join this organization. To the point where they are suggesting that if I just “come back home” minus my “athiest husband” I could join their local branch. I don’t want to join an organization that would exclude my husband and our future children! Turns out my family was hoping our marriage would dissolve before we had kids!
I called a cousin of mine and neither she nor her brothers are planning on joining. One of her brothers is bisexual and apparently they also have issue with him as well, so none of the siblings are joining. Her statement to me (she was heavily recruited so she knows more about it) is, “It’s an organization for old white people. It’s dying for a reason — mostly ’cause for years they won’t let people in. Let them reap what they sowed.”
My real problem is that now I am having to face that my family is a bunch of racist bigots. My husband was shocked that I didn’t notice it before. This is especially after we lit the Menorah last year and when I asked my Mother if she’d like to participate her comment was, “I’m a CHRISTIAN, not some heathen Jew, and you are too. You shouldn’t even be touching that thing!” Now my Mother is so ingrained into her religion that she thinks Catholics saying the “Hail Mary” is blasphemous, so I just ignored her. I am very sad and heavy hearted that people I thought were “good people” could act this way. My husband is trying to be supportive and kind, but stands by his statement that many in my family are under-educated racist bigots.
How do I balance our interaction with them? How do I make sure our kids have knowledge of all of their ancestry? How in the world do I have both sides of the family together for any reason — especially when DH’s side of the family, minus his Mom, are “practicing” Jews?