religion and politics

Jodi wrote last week, in response to what I thought was a bit of a snarky comment, about her hopes for her son.

A liberal vegetarian Jew, Jodi has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to share them in a usually humorous and fun-to-read way. Her post got me thinking about what I want for R (and how do I parent her to get my desired outcome?).

I am a mostly liberal Christian, though I identify more with the “mostly liberal” part than the Christian part. I was raised very Catholic by a very Catholic mother who later divorced my Lutheran father and remarried and has thus been excommunicated. We went to church every Sunday and holy day (All Saint’s Day anyone?), attended Sunday School through our confirmation as juniors in high school and observed most Catholic rituals religiously. Ha-ha.

I attended church sporadically as an adult. When I met Dave, raised Lutheran, we would occasionally attend services, his or mine, together. We were married by a Methodist minister who was a friend of Dave’s family. When I got pregnant, it was important to both of us to give our child some kind of faith base. Because my church would not allow Dave to fully participate, we chose to be Lutheran. How’s that for choosing a religion?

When it comes time for R to find her spiritual path, I do not plan to force her into anything. She can choose on her own. I will provide her with some sense of Christianity, but if she chooses to go a different direction, I will support that too.

Additionally, I was raised in a household that was apolitical. Voting was a private thing my parents kept to themselves the entire time we were growing up. I suspect they are both Republican. They have never expressed disappointment or sadness at having raised three liberal Democrats. We all found our own way. I like that model very much, though I don’t think it worked out well for my parents (from their point of view).

And maybe it will backfire on me too. But I want R to be her own person, have her own faith and values and politics. Even if that means her beliefs are diametrically opposed to mine.Though I would really prefer they weren’t. But I’d love her anyway.

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9 Responses to religion and politics

  1. SadieCass says:

    You sound a lot like me. In the ‘what I want for my kid’ area, at least 😉 After many years in one religious belief, but always struggling with it, I’ve found myself adjusting. If I’m still changing and growing at 30-something, I’m certainly not aobut to dictate what my children will, or should, be. They’ll be their own people, and I’m find with that 😀

  2. Erin says:

    Ted and I have spent a lot of time talking about how we would raise our kids religiously. His parents are Lutheran. His mom attends church regularly — she was the one who was worried about when she would go to church since we got married on a Sunday. Ted’s dad doesn’t go to church ever. My dad was raised Catholic, as was my mom, but somehow we ended up sporadically attending a Methodist church as children. Then I went to Catholic high school. Sheesh.

    Anyhow, while we don’t really attend church now, we plan on raising our children with Christian values, but will fully support whatever form their faith takes.

    How’s that for a comment at 9:30 in the morning??? 🙂

  3. Christina says:

    Mike and I joke that if Nate turns in to Alex P. Keaton, we hope thats the worst thing he does. har! My family was strage, Mom was “nothing” really and Dad and family are Jewish. We celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah. We wont take nate to church but if he wants to go he can. I went, I latched on with a neighbor family and my parents were cool about it. I havent been in years, like 15! We didnt even say a prayer during our marrage ceremony.. its just not really part of our life. Sure, I pray when I need to and beleive in some sort of higher power but I’m not always sold. The world is so messed up, sometimes it challanges what I think could be true.

  4. Colleen says:

    Intellectually, I feel much the same way as you and the other commenters. But I know someone who didn’t raise their children grounded in any faith and it has turned out miserably for everyone. One of the children has chosen to become a member of an extreme non-Christian faith and this has caused a bit of turmoil (no family holidays b/c most holidays are Christian-based, multiple wives, arranged marriages, etc). I really don’t know whether it is true or not, but there’s a part of me that can’t help but think that if this kid had been raised in some sort of faith structure, he wouldn’t have chosen this extreme. It’s sort of like if you don’t show kids the way, you don’t know what path they will take. Of course, I understand that this kid may have chosen this extreme path anyway – he may just be that kind of person – but I just can’t help but think that he would have been less likely to do so had he been shown another way. I don’t know, I guess I just think that if you give your kids too much choice with these major issues taht most adults don’t even fully understand, you have no idea what they will pick and that’s kind of scary to me.

    I’m planning on raising them in my faith. Obviously, when they become adults they can choose whatever faith they wish – they’re adults and I’ll just have to accept their choices. I just hope that the years of foundation in my faith will keep them from choosing something too extreme in adulthood.

    I’ll let you know in about 20 years if that worked or not…..

  5. Victoria says:

    Personally, I believe kids should be raised in a household in which some sort of faith is important, and that with politics as vital to everyday life as it is now, I think parents should share their views with their kids and teach them about the issues. But then again, that’s how I was raised. I just figure that having religious services to go to helps to establish a sense of community and stability in a child’s life, and it can’t hurt having extra people outside the home helping parents reinforce what they’re trying to teach their kids. And I know a handful of people like the ones Colleen mentioned. I really think that having some sort of “moderate” religion on their families could have helped keep them from going to one extreme or the other.

  6. You’ll be surprised that I think that none of this matters! 😉 Love her well. That’s all you need to do. She’ll find her own path and you’ll respect her because you love her, know her, and in turn, she’ll respect you. That’s how it works. The rest is fluffy mash potatoes.

    Hey, I tagged you for the make a wish meme. 🙂

  7. Mar says:

    All Saints Day = November 1st! (I didn’t even look it up, I promise!).

    Hubs is “nothing”, I am Catholic. I can count on one hand the number of times he has been to church in the 15 years I have known him. When we had Noodle we baptised her Catholic and as you know send her to a Catholic school. Hubs was very ok with all of this (mostly because it was important to me) as long as I agreed that when she was old enough to decide for herself, we would both support her which ever direction she decides to take.

    I will admit I will be slightly disappointed if she does not choose to continue with her Catholic faith, but I too will love her just as much and stand by her no matter what she chooses for herself.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I’m Catholic, but I have such a hard time accepting so many things about the religion (like excommunicating people, I mean REALLY!). We’re currently raising our kids Catholic, but I won’t be the least bit upset if they choose to follow another path…I’m not even sure we’ll continue on this path as it is.

  9. skiplovey says:

    I think it’s good to give your child a religious base and it’s great if both parents both subscribe to that belief system. My folks were pretty different faith-wise and it can be a little confusing to a kid. If it’s a loving home that teaches good values and a strong moral structure though, it can handle different religions. As long as you give your kid a good foundation they’ll be strong enough to make the right decisions for themselves as adults.

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