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Atheist in a Christian wedding. What should I do?

One of my best friends is getting married and he asked me to be a groomsman. I am pretty nervous about how things are going to play out. I almost feel I should decline, even though we have been friends for a long time and I only have a couple close friends.

Here is the problem… his future father-in-law. Never met him, but my friend has told me a few stories. Besides the fact of being very religious he seems to have a very bad temper and doesn’t hold back.

He flipped out in a public restaurant over a innocent photo of my friend and fiance.

Obviously, I am not going to make my views known, but at communion or whatever it will be obvious.

I am not a confrontational person but I don’t back down either. I would never cause a scene, but it seems very likely to occur.

Wondering what others would do, besides the obvious: talk to my friend about it.

Posted: March 29th 2011

Eric_PK

I don’t think it’s a big deal; weddings are one time when religious people expect to encounter non-religious people in church. If they do communion you can just respectfully decline, and in fact the minister who is performing the service will expect that. If you have any questions you can ask him/her during the rehersal.

Or, if you feel strongly about it, you could find out who is officiating and talk to them ahead of time.

Posted: March 31st 2011

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Reed Braden www

If everyone else is going up and you don’t want to be the only one sitting down, do what I did in Catholic school: Walk up in the line and when you get to the priest, cross your arms over your chest (Dracula style) and say, quietly, “I’m not a Catholic.” Only confirmed Catholics can take the communion, so they have their little ritual for this situation too. The priest will then take his thumb and draw a cross on your forehead and say some variant of, “Bless you, my child.”

I don’t like telling people to lie about their beliefs, but if you’re really that terrified of people knowing you’re an atheist and someone sees this happen and questions you, just say you’re a Baptist. They’ll understand.

Posted: March 31st 2011

See all questions answered by Reed Braden

Philip www

SmartLX is right, don’t sweat this one too much – you don’t have to do anything you do not want to and as groomsman seriously, all you have to do is go on the stag do, on the day help with the car parking, sending the guests to the right seats before the ceromony and looking smart before walking behind the happy couple with a bridesmaid next to you. Next off is sit at a table and laugh at the people who have to make speeches because they will be bricking it big time, you could be sympathetic to their plight and offer encouragement too, but mockery also helps calm the nerves!

The only people who have to take communion are those who, after being told it’s time to eat Jebus, volunteer to go do so – you have NO obligation whatsoever to do it, nobody is going to get frothy. I have been to several Catholic weddings and there are no frowns for those who do not partake.

If anyone really causes a scene just say that it is not in line with your beliefs and that you did not want to be disrespectful by posing as a Catholic and being dishonest about it.

Good luck and may the Force be with you! :D

Posted: March 31st 2011

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SmartLX www

If you were the best man, I’d be more concerned for you, but you’re a groomsman. Your job is basically to stand there for the duration and not disrupt the proceedings while the best man is doing stuff. Just be polite and don’t engage the Bible-thumper in extended conversation if you don’t get on with him.

Afterwards there’s no obligation for you to appear at christenings, communions or anything else where the sole purpose is religious and against your principles. Those events don’t really call for the equivalent of a groomsman anyway.

A wedding is different. It’s a chance to support your friend while he does something self-evidently important, so go and do that. It’s all about him and his future wife, not her father.

Posted: March 30th 2011

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