We finally had a more open discussion with the in-laws about what we believe and its effects. Well, my lover did. I stayed out and painted.
Some of the conversation got rather heated and I could hear bits and pieces.
Of course, my lover was accused of ‘dropping the baton’ of faith and rejecting ‘everything the family has stood for throughout the generations’. He was accused of breaking his promises he made to god as a young child being coerced to accept Jesus as his saviour and all of the implications of that. Now, I think I had promised never to be a teacher or have kids as a young child. I’ve broken those promises with no slurs against my character, but making an uninformed promise to please an adult can’t be broken? sigh.
He was then accused of being brainwashed. My lover laughed and asked who was brainwashing him. The answer they came up with was that he was brainwashing himself.
Then he was accused of thinking his parents brainwashed and ignorant and told that was very disrespectful and he should be ashamed.
When morality was brought up, I was asked to provide examples of using principles like least harm to guide ethical behaviour. Naturally the morality in question was brought to abortion. I used an example in the bible of Numbers 5:11-27 where the Lord speaks to Moses and gives him instructions on how to placate a man who suspects his wife of adultery. Apparently, the Lord in his infinite wisdom commands the woman to ingest toxic compounds and if she miscarries, she was guilty. I asked if they thought it was moral to cause unwanted abortion if the husband was jealous.
There could have been many answers. No pops immediately to mind. The answer I was given was that we cherry-pick the bible.
Jaw drop for the hypocrisy of the statement.
Then we were told we just can’t understand it. Of course it makes no sense if you think God only commands what is moral and you think abortions are immoral but your God has just caused multiple abortions for the sake of revenge. It makes complete sense if you realize that the culture treated women as property, that her babies would be the property of her husband, and if she was carrying another man’s baby, it should die or it would unlawfully inherit another man’s wealth. But I digress.
This is what I did for the rest of the conversation:
Then we asked the grandparents not to proseletyze to our kids. We said we didn’t want them to hear from someone they love and trust that their parents are going to hell for having different beliefs. The grandparents said that since they loved their grandkids, could’t we trust that anything they would say and do would be for their benefit?
Umm, no. Loving someone doesn’t mean you never hurt them, unless you think that hurt is evidence of lack of love or that hurting causes benefit.
Then they asked what answers they could give if Lil’T asked why they prayed at meals or if we wanted them to lie. The fact that they are asking what they can get away with makes me sad and that they are framing not proselytzing as lying disturbs me. I don’t feel respected and I don’t feel my children are safe from being coerced, especially knowing that their church specifically teaches them to evangelize to children who are more ‘receptive’.
I has a similar conversation with my mother. Instead of asking for loopholes, she laughed and said she was hardly qualified to tell her grandkids anything about heaven or hell since she had never been there and wasn’t sure what she knew about them.
I know both sets of grandparents love our kids. However, love isn’t enough if it is used as a licence to hurt.