Saturday, January 31, 2009

Polictics and Religion

Politics and religion are the two topics that you are suppose to avoid in mixed company, and it even causes a bit of a stir here on Weddingbee. But what happens when your views differ from those closest to you?

Poppy Peep and I have never agreed politically. As a child, he'd purposely bring up controversial topics at the dinner table. I can only guess that he was trying to hone my debating skills, but I think it back fired on him. We now sit clearly on different sides of the aisle, and this has caused more than one conversation to turn into a heated debate. I now find myself cutting our political conversations short and asking him to change topics before either of us lose our cool.

Mr. Peep and I, on the other hand, are squarely sitting next to each other when it comes to politics, and it is one of the things I love most about him.

But this post isn't about politics.

Mr. Peep is Jewish. And, well, I am not.

When I was young my parents took us to church semi-regularly; as we got older, it turned into a bi-annual event. We were the folks that took up the extra room on Christmas and Easter. Without a clear religious eduction, I have tried to live my life as a morally responsible human being; I try my best to live by the Golden Rule.

When our relationship first got serious, we openly discussed religion with each other, and we even went to an interfaith class. Mr. Peep clearly defines himself as Jewish, and I have a hard time defining myself as anything. I just don't feel like I know enough. As an adult, I take full responsibility for my lack of religious education.

Our pending marriage has forced me to do some internal exploring. I realized that I could never ask Mr. Peep to convert- I couldn't even tell him what religion he should convert to. I also realized that if Mr. Peep wanted me to convert to Judaism, he'd not only have to ask me to convert, he'd have to make it a much larger priority in his life. He'd have to join a temple and attend a weekly service.

Mr. PT has yet to ask me to convert, and both of us are comfortable with where our beliefs stand. Yet the conversation couldn't end there- we needed to figure out who would marry us.

Ideally, I loved the idea of asking a good friend or family member to officiate. I thought it would add a level of intimacy to our ceremony. But Mr. Peep really wanted a Rabbi to conduct the service, and he felt it was important to him and his family.

I readily agreed knowing that this was important to my future husband, and I started our search for an interfaith Rabbi. When I told my mom, she said, "that living in the Bay Area you should easily be able to find someone willing to marry you."

On the surface it seemed like an easy search, but on further inspection we were breaking a lot of the rules. We were an interfaith couple, getting married during daylight on Saturday, outside.

Technically speaking, from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday in the Jewish religion, you aren't suppose to do any work, including officiating a wedding. Also, like many other religions, a lot of Rabbi's won't preform a ceremony unless you belong to their temple.

Fortunately, we found two Rabbi's that would preform our ceremony that we liked. Coincidentally, we met with both of them on the same day last Fall. The first Rabbi teaches comparative religion and he only preforms a few ceremonies a year. He just started preforming interfaith ceremonies a few years ago, and he clearly stated that he bases his ceremonies off of the Jewish religion and he doesn't co-officiate. The second Rabbi was more free spirited, solely preforms interfaith marriages, and he shared a lot of the same beliefs as Mr. Peep and I. Yet, we really felt like we connected with the first Rabbi and that we could learn a lot from him.

On the surface, it was an easy choice. We informed the first Rabbi of our decision and spread the word to the family.

Soon after Poppy Peep asked me to call him to discuss the wedding. At first I thought he was worried about the cost of the wedding, but really, he wanted to discuss the ceremony.

This conversation lead to the hardest wedding decision that we have faced yet.

Do you and your future spouse share the same religious beliefs? Who is officiating your wedding?

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