Post # 1
Inspired by other posts today, but hopefully more light-hearted… is politics ever acceptable at weddings? If so, how much and in what ways?
I ask because I know people have speeches in favour of gay marriage at wedding sometimes. I intend to have a loyal/regimental toast, because FI and I met in the army, but some people have told me that that is inappropriate. I also intend to have a prayer for indigenous rights and justice… also a political act.
One could argue that all actions are political. One could also argue that all progressive politics is acceptable… as long as you show what you are for, as opposed to simply what you are against (reactionary politics). However, I am still met with a sense of slight unease…
For example, I have a friend who saw a toast to the state of Israel at a wedding. This is not meant to provoke a debate as to the rights and wrongs of Israeli domestic policy, but let’s cut it short and say that this was a complete misjudgement on the speaker’s part, despite having a mostly Jewish audience.
Thoughts? And let’s try to keep this thread on the lighter side than the other ones… theoretical rather than personal!
Post # 4
@fishbone: Do you mean that one must not show support for gay marriage, or toast to “a better, cleaner environment”?
What I mean to say is: how are you defining politics? Can you put a humerous joke into a speech? Are speeches OK but readings aren’t, etc?
Is everything a political act, or only some things? And are some things OK but others aren’t?
Post # 5
@Rachel631: For me, it depends.
For instance, every single one of our guests hates Thatcher with a passion. So, do I think it would be inappropriate to make reference to this? No, because it wouldn’t offend anyone, and everyone would have a good laugh and be in agreeance. If however all our guests were strong supporters of Thatcher, I can’t imagine it going down in quite the same way; and while I wouldn’t be worried about offending people necessarily (I think someone people are way too sensitive), I don’t particularly want tumble-weed blowing through the room accompanied by an awkward silence, either.
I also draw the line at any attempt to push your beliefs onto others. For this reason, I disagree with dry weddings just because the couple doesn’t like alcohol/believe you need alcohol at a social occasion, and similarly, I disagree with vegetarians only providing vegetarian food. I see that as forcing your personal beliefs onto your guests, and I massively dislike that. The same goes for something like a toast; you are essentially forcing your guests to partake in toasting someone or something that they may not agree with, and I don’t see that as acceptable. Using religion as an example, if I were asked to toast, say, some religious figure, I would refuse, and see it as appalling etiquette. On the same vein, I wouldn’t propose a toast to Dawkins lol. Similarly, while I will grudgingly attend a religious service, I would not partake in the hymns or the prayers, nor would I kneel at the designated times, and I would expect those around me to respect that, and not tell me to ‘join in’.
So basically, I see no particular issue with including your political views in your wedding provided that in doing so, you aren’t attempting to force others to do anything they don’t want to.
Post # 6
@barbie86: Now, you see… I am a huge anti-Thatcherite, but I would never announce that at a public occasion no matter what the audience… perhaps because it seems reactionary, rather than progressive, to me?
I also have no issues with vegetarian only food, and I respect that some people’s religious beliefs prohibit them from handling non-vegetarian items or serving them. If you want meat, you can always nip out for a burger afterwards.
Interesting about the service… I can say with honesty that I would much rather have guests skip the service than come and refuse to participate (and am in this situation with some of my guests). This is not meant to be a personally offensive remark, but I feel that you don’t have to go somewhere if you don’t want to, and that it’s not offensive to skip ceremonies and just attend receptions. However, if people turn up and then don’t participate, I feel that this could almost be a slap in someone’s face… like you’re making a big deal about not participating, you know? I suppose that goes back to what I was saying before about reactionary vs progressive… maybe this is how I define political actions in general? Never thought about it that way before.
I take it you do not approve of my loyal toast, LOL? I think I’m going to keep it regardless. For one thing, it gives me an excuse to speak, because I think the tradition of the bride remaining silent is not a great idea.
The problem is that all aspects of public events cause issues with participation in some ways, and all acts are in some ways political. Perhaps it depends on how you define public and private politics, or perhaps some political actions are taken as trusims to the extent where people no longer see them as political (eg a prayer for world peace)?
Post # 7
Yes, of course it is. Lots of couples bond over pet issues and I would never tell them not to include those deeply held convictions in a day celebrating who they are and how they came together to be married. From what I can tell MOST weddings are political to some extent… it’s just that they’re default mainstream, so nobody really notices or thinks about it. People only get up in arms when it’s outside whatever is currently considered the norm.
FH and I will have a white knot table in support of marriage equality and wouldn’t have it any other way.
My cousin and her husband are super-environment vegans whose wedding reflected those beliefs. Locally sourced vegan food, biodegradable everything, etc. I’m not a vegan, in fact I think self-imposing food restrictions unnecessarily is quite silly, but the meal WAS delicious and I wouldn’t complain either way, because if you can’t tolerate something you disagree with for a short time, for the sake of someone you care about and to whom that (possibly political) thing is important, you shouldn’t be at that wedding at all.
Post # 8
@Rachel631: I just don’t see why participation is necessary. I would not expect those friends we have who are religious to participate in, say, an anti-religious toast/song/etc; why should I then be expected to participate in something that makes me deeply uncomfortable?
I don’t make a big song and dance out of not participating; I simply keep silent. I am not prepared to participate in praying to a god I don’t believe in, I don’t feel that I should be expected to do so. If friends would rather I didn’t attend than attend and choose not to partake in things that I find offensive, then honestly, they’re no friend of mine TBH.
It’s funny how when it comes to religion, respect never seems to work both ways.
Post # 9
@Bebealways: What is a white knot table?
Post # 10
@barbie86: “It’s funny how when it comes to religion, respect never seems to work both ways.” Ha ha! I agree with the statement, but I interpret it in exactly the opposite way.
I have often thought about issues of participation and non-participation, and living in a Muslim country for a time made me consider this as well. This is rather a thread jack from the original intent, but I think there are two separate issues here. One is the avoidance of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy would be joining in with credos such as “I believe…” when you do not. For this reason, I deliberately designed my own ceremony to avoid occasions such as these. None of the communal statements (statements which the whole congregation read) etc contain statements of faith.
The other issue, however, is how socially participant you wish to be. If a guest attends something and they refuse to participate in any aspect of it at all… they refuse to sing songs, even though they do not contradict their own beliefs or profess ideas which are contradictory to what they believe, they cross their arms rather than receive a blessing, and they refuse to stand, sit or kneel with everyone else etc etc, then one should ask why this person is attending at all. To me, it simply looks like such a guest is deliberately mocking and undermining their host. They are saying “I’m only here in order to deliberately show you why I think this is ****”. In that case, why bother attending? Politely make your excuses and enjoy the reception with everyone else.
If a few of my guests do this then I have to be honest… I will feel judged and slighted. However, knowing the people who are likely to do this, I wonder if that would be their deliberate intention. Possibly.
I did consider here whether religion is political… at first I thought it wasn’t, and that this was a complete thread jack, but now I think that it does fall under the sphere of political action, or at least affect it. I didn’t intend for such a serious convo though. Maybe it was inevitable, given today’s other threads?
Post # 11
I think political statements should be left out of weddings. I do agree you should do what suits you but it’s not a gathering for debate or to offend others, it’s a joining of two people in love and should be focused on that and not politics
Post # 12
Unless your wedding is just part of your marketing plan to run for political office in the Wedding Party (as opposed to the Green Party, etc.), or you have your wedding at a political convention. 😛
FI has a friend who has very strong political opinions, and I do not share them.
I don’t mind this, but he makes it a point to tell me that I’m wrong for not agreeing with him, not voting for who he voted for, or for just having a different point of view. He makes me feel both stupid (on purpose) and angry (probably still on purpose) at the same time when he talks now. It’s very hurtful to me, as I try so hard to be open and fair minded.
I can’t stand people like that.
His wedding is in a year and I’m sure he’ll bring up or incorporate topics that make me uncomfortable. I am so glad that my FI isn’t close enough to him to be in the wedding party!
As a guest, I don’t think that’s appropriate – you asked me to come support you, not come to your wedding so you can have fun insulting me.
Post # 13
@Rachel631: I would have no issue participating in songs with no religious content. I will not however participate in songs with religious content, where you are worshipping ‘god’, etc. Likewise, I cannot participate in prayers and feel that doing so would be hypocritical, given I don’t believe in any god. I also don’t feel I should be made to feel like I have to do so by the hosts.
The whole not-attending thing is interesting: I would prefer not to attend, in all honesty, as I dislike everything about organised religion and as such, dislike setting foot in an establishment like a church. However, my friends and family would be offended if I didn’t attend, and other guests would comment; so it becomes a catch-22. I also suspect that my non-attendance would be seen as much more of a ‘statement’ than my not participating in certain aspects of the service, so again it’s a lose-lose situation for me. I either go, and participate, and hate myself for it, and come across as a huge hypocrite; I go, and donm’t participate in those parts that I don’t agree with, and I get side-eyed; I chose NOT to go, and I get bitched about for making a ‘stand’ and not attending.
My issue is that if the shoe were on the other foot, it is unlikely that a religious person would be met with such flack for choosing not to attend or participate in a non-religious service (OH’s grandmother is not attending our service due to her very strong beliefs, and we have respected that as being her choice, and would rather she makes the choice that she is most comfortable with). I wonder why this is, and find it hypocritical.
Post # 14
No, unless the so-called political statement is the wedding itself:
“GENTLE READER: You are quite right that the only proper “theme” of a wedding reception is a celebration of the marriage that has just taken place. Considering it an opportunity to enlist guests in a Save the Mosquitoes drive is, indeed, tasteless.
However, refusal to attend your own child’s wedding festivities is such a serious public statement, with long-lasting consequences, that Miss Manners supposes you must be violently opposed to his cause.
Is it possible that you only mean to say that your son is marrying a gentleman? In that case, we call it a wedding, not a politically themed rally. Your presence would not constitute a vote for same-sex marriage, but your absence would be an extreme rejection of your son.”
Post # 15
@barbie86: But the shoe can be on the other foot… I’ve caught flack for having a religious service at all. Quite frankly, invites are not summons, and I don’t care if people want to skip that part. But I dread having guests who will spend the whole thing po-faced and sulking, because I feel it’s such an insult. It’s like they’ve turned up under protest (implying that I am wholly unreasonable and have therefore forced them to come) and they will now make a fuss about it. I’ve also caught flack for “forcing my views” upon people. Again: it’s an invitation. Not a summons. I also (personal opinion here) think that it’s rude not to sing hymns, as long as they don’t contain lines in which you have to profess a belief eg “we believe in…”. I am at least not a hypocrite in this regard… it’s a credo I live by myself when attending ceremonies of all different faiths.
I also feel that I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. FI is a Catholic and I am not. By removing things like the creed from the service, I’ve been acused of disrespecting his beliefs, because I don’t want to force people to say “I believe in…” etc etc. By leaving them in, I am not only encouraging hypocrisy, but I make a hypocrite of myself. But having a secular ceremony would also be the ultimate act of hypocrisy for a religious couple.
So, you see, I am also trapped between a rock and a hard place… how much is my wedding supposed to be about me, and how much is it supposed to be about making other people comfortable?
Post # 16
There is a big difference between showing respect and hypocrisy.
I’ve attended many different religious wedding ceremonies. You show respect for the beliefs and traditions of others. That might mean taking off your shoes, wearing a head covering, standing or bowing one’s head in respect. It is NOT rude to stand silently or not sing hymns that are contrary to one’s own faith and no one should feel slighted or offended by that.