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Chit Chat

FI's grandmother & religious differences

aurorajanetteaurorajanette member
500 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
edited December 2013 in Chit Chat
I've said in other posts that FI and I are both Atheists. We aren't militant, we just don't believe. We respect that others do, and would never think of trying to push our own beliefs on family and friends. This has mostly worked out okay for us, except in a few circumstances of family members just not getting it, but for the most part it is okay, because we just try to not talk about it with others.

However, FI's paternal grandmother married a minister after her husband died of cancer ten years ago, and has since become a born-again Christian. We received tons of paraphernalia from her in the mail... pamphlets and booklets telling us we were going to burn in hell for all of eternity. FI called her at least 10 times to ask her to please stop, and the mail increased. She also put his cellphone number on calling lists for a bunch of religious organizations in hopes of "saving" him. After giving her one more warning to no avail, FI sent his grandmother a satanic bible. This was an extremely poor decision on his part IMO, since rather than making her understand that we don't have any beliefs about anything at all, this move made her believe that we are Satanists, which couldn't be further from the truth. However, it got her to stop. She hasn't seen FI or spoken to him in over two years now because of this.

Now she is in town for Christmas, and has requested of her son (FFIL) that we invite her and her new husband over to our home for dessert tonight. FI resisted, but FFIL talked him into it somehow. We just had one condition... they are not allowed to bring any religious material into our home, and they are not allowed to speak about religion to us during their visit or they will be asked to leave. Oy vey! Now I have this lady, who I have never met, coming to my home tonight against both of our will. I'm just hoping that she's coming to make amends and not to cause more drama, although I doubt it (she gave FSIL who is also an Atheist a book entitled "God created all" for Christmas with the idea of getting a rise out of her). I think the last thing we need from that side of the family is more drama.

Wish me luck!


ETA: I don't want anyone religious to take this the wrong way. As I said, your beliefs are your beliefs, and I feel strongly that everyone is entitled to their own belief system (or lack thereof). I'm just venting about her inability to act the same way towards us.
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Re: FI's grandmother & religious differences

  • natswildnatswild The F-f-f-rozen N-n-north (Northern Alberta) member
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    good luck, aurorajanette.

  • Thanks! I think because it's dessert, I'm going to serve coffee, then pour about four shots of Bailey's into mine to get through it. Haha.
    pumpkinsandturkeysPrettyGirlLost
  • You have my sympathies. My FI and I are pagan and one of my aunts is very Christian. For a few years she would send us stuff and invite us to church. We never mentioned the stuff she sent and we always respectfully declined her invites to church. Eventually she stopped once she realize we were ignoring her attempts. This worked for us and allowed us to maintain the great relationship we have with her but my aunt wasn't nearly as pushy as you FI's grandmother sounds.
    lc07
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Good luck.  This lady sounds outright rude and pushy.  Having strong religious beliefs does not give her the right to harass you guys with mail and calls.

    Just make sure your Fi is a united front with you: it sounds like he's making decisions you aren't totally on board with (like getting talked into having her over in the first place).  Have a talk with him about what your boundaries are, and if she crosses them, he needs to be the one to tell her to leave.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

  • It is very hard to "deal" with others who have different beliefs. My mom is a southern Baptist and I, well not so much. 

    I know she is trying to mean well in her own way. My mom did similar things. And we stopped talking for a good 3 years. 

    Good luck. 
  • Good luck!! DH and I are Catholic, and his grandmother is Lutheran, and that's enough to cause her consternation and angst.

    As long as you and FI are on the same page, you'll be OK. I'd have your FI tell your FFIL to tell his mother, 'Son and FDIL are doing this at your request and as a favour to me. If you start in on their religious choices, they and I will force you to leave and they and I will not speak to you again until you apologise.'

    Alternatively, depending on how much time you have, you could look up Bible verses that mention how their behaviour is wrong, and throw those at them, which is what I would do (and have done!).
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    theninjapandapumpkinsandturkeysKeptInStitches
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Best of luck to you. I am a very laid back christian and FI is agnostic. I had a grandmother who while very loving, was also very pushy about religion, and she drove my mother and two aunts out of the church doing that.
    I recommend you have a glass of baileys with a shot of coffee.
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    Anniversary
    RebeccaB88
  • Your FI's Grandmother is expressing her love for you by sharing her faith.  She is also being incredibly rude to by insisting on discussing something that do not wish to discuss, especially in your own home.  (It was also very unkind of your FI to send her that Satanic Bible!  Are you sure you want to marry this guy?)
    You cannot stop her from being rude.  Being rude in return will not help, and will probably lead to more drama that you wish to avoid.
    I suggest you treat Grandma with respect and kindness.  If she tries to bring up religion, you simply bean dip her.  ("Yes, Grandma. Have you tried the bean dip? It is wonderful!")
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2013
    I treat all religions with respect, even if I do not share their beliefs.  I also respect your choice to have atheist beliefs.
    My daughter was in a serious relationship with a young man of another faith.  After some time, he changed his views and began to ridicule the same faith he had once embraced.  The day he wore a sacred article of clothing as a Halloween costume was the day I counseled daughter to end the relationship.  She didn't follow my advice, but the relationship ended a month later because of religious differences anyway.
    I do not share Satanic beliefs, however, I do think your FI was completely disrespectful to have sent the book to your Grandmother.  It is a red light.  Even though he does not share his Grandmother's faith, he should respect her beliefs, just as she should respect yours.  I would be very concerned about a man who could do such a thing to his grandmother, regardless of how she behaves.
    Satanism aside, it is completely unacceptable to use an item of someone's religious beliefs as a joke.  It makes no difference if this is the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Wicca, or even a Satanic book.  He should not have sent it unless this truly represented his beliefs.  If he had sent her a book promoting Atheism, it would not have been as troubling.
    I am not "disrespecting" you or your relationship, but I am questioning it.  I can only read what YOU posted. If you don't want honest opinions, then don't post controversial ideas.
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
  • Everything @HisGirlFriday13 said. Grandma crossed alot of boundaries.  Not just respect, but sharing their telephone number out to random strangers? That's a violation of privacy! The idea of people I don't know having my personal information-who have their own agenda- is just unnerving and annoying.

    OP, sooner or later you'll meet Grandma. Good luck!
    aurorajanette
  • I'm glad you were able to avert that situation, although it does sound frustrating that you had to go out of your way to call several times and ask before they told you they weren't going to make it. Honestly, I know it sounds terrible, but I don't really blame your FI for sending her the book. I'm sure he did it at a time where he was extremely upset and wasn't really thinking. I'm agnostic, my FH is an athiest, and we would be deeply angry if we had a family member constantly trying to convert us. Also, how rude of someone trying to judge your relationship.

    I hope when you DO meet her, it goes very smoothly! 


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    aurorajanette
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Honestly, my first thought on reading this was that it was a very carefully orchestrated plan (on grandma's part, not necessarily anyone else's) to do an 'intervention' on you to try to 'save' you. I've heard of it done.
    pumpkinsandturkeysaurorajanettePrettyGirlLost
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2013
  • @RebeccaB88 makes a very good point. It might well have been an intervention, and you dodged a bullet.
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @HisGirlFriday13, I have several atheist friends. I've known it to happen. Some people refuse to believe there is a chance they aren't right about everything. Or, that someone else might think differently but also be right. Grandma wasn't coming to fix the relationship. She was coming to force her will on them or sever the relationship permanently.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2013
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    CMGragain said...... "The day he wore a sacred article of clothing as a Halloween costume was the day I counseled daughter to end the relationship."




    I best get out my rosary beads.  I fear there are many a Catholic, myself included, taking the fast train to hell, for wearing a nun's habit or priest's vestment as a Halloween costume.
    HisGirlFriday13Dottie05
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2013
    This wasn't a nun's or priest's costume.  It was really offensive.  Any Mormon's out there?
    As a Catholic, I'm sure there are some things that would offend you if taken disrespectfully.  How about a slutty Virgin Mary costume? 
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  • @CMGragain I actually agree that the OP's FI shouldn't have sent grandma the Satantic Bible. I would never disrespect one of my elders like that no matter what they did. Then again I let my grandparents and my great grandma nag me about things whenever they want and I just smile and say I'll think about it. I think it is ok to let older people get away with saying things you wouldn't let anyone else get away with saying.
  • @CMGragain -- without knowing what the costume was, we can't properly assess the gravity of the situation, but I trust that you found it offensive to you and your beliefs. I disagree that any sort of religious accoutrement as a costume is offensive, but yes -- as a Catholic, I would find a slutty Virgin Mary costume to be a faux pas. However, I would choose to explain to the person why it was offensive to me, and hope that they would respect that in the future.

    Regardless of the above, OP's FGIL crossed the offensive boundary first, and in the worst way. She was rude, disrespectful, and selfish, and forced her family into a position where they had to go to extreme measures to get her to relent. Whether or not you agree with the ceasefire tactics, it doesn't change the fact that when people feel cornered and as though they have no other option, they'll turn to extreme measures to get themselves out of that situation. It's pure survival instinct.

    The way the grandmother acted was very inappropriate, period. She needs to start adopting some of those Christian attitudes she keeps trying to shove down everyone's throat. It may also behoove you to keep more of an open, forgiving mindset towards your daughter's choice in partner, provided that the person wasn't dressing up that way in a spiteful manner and simply had a misguided sense of humour.


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    aurorajanette
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