Friday, February 25, 2011

Enabling Evangelicals

I earned some daughter points this week.

Through my work, I was able to get two tickets for my parents to attend a major evangelical Christian event next month. They are excited. They are disappointed that I will not be attending the event with them, but still, they are happy to be going.

I struggled with this a little bit. My initial reaction when a co-worker suggested I invite my parents was that I did not want to support something so totally antithetical to my personal views. Giving them the tickets felt like giving the event my blessing and I don’t want to do that. After thinking it over for a few minutes I changed my mind. I am not paying for these tickets; my company has already purchased them and someone is going to use them. Letting someone else use the tickets would not mean that the message would not be getting out. I am not encouraging my parents’ beliefs because they are not going to change them whether or not they attend.

Giving my parents the tickets will A) make them happy and B) show the respect for their beliefs that I would like for myself. In truth, I bear a fair amount of hostility toward their belief system, but I respect their right to worship as they please. I can’t really expect them to extend that respect to me if I am unwilling to give it to them.

This occasion does present the danger that my co-workers will be spending time with my parents, unsupervised – a chilling thought. I’ll have to take that risk.

1 comment:

  1. I generally agree that if we want respect for our beliefs, we also have to give it. Intolerance perpetuates intolerance.

    For UUs, this can be a sensitive issue: we are often in the position of having to respect others' religous beliefs without receiving the same respect in return, and have consequently grown weary. In addition, some UUs have families/friends/co-workers who expect them to change. . .perhaps even attempt to force them to change under the threat of exclusion.

    I am fortunate to have a family of origin that respects my UUism (in fact, my father, who has a UU friend, encouraged it). However, my parents and I often have political differences, some of which are generational: as I once explained to them, the first major political event they remember is World War II. The first major political event I remember is Watergate. This certainly contributes to our different perspectives, and they actually agree!

    Several years ago, I had a Catholic friend who opposed legal abortion. Though I don't recall how we got on the topic, she asked me whether I would (hypothetically) donate money to an antiabortion organization if she requested it as a birthday gift. I replied that although I would not donate to an antiabortion organization, I would donate to an organization (Catholic or secular) that helps living children.