Nearly seven years ago, I married my wife, Kat, who identified as a Wiccan. Although she went under this label, she did not actively practice her beliefs. My grandmother, a devout Catholic, nearly had a stroke when I told her this. She stated,"Andy, you married the devil!" I rather firmly told her that she was not to treat Kat with disrespect. Being that my grandmother can't mind her own business and feels she needs to tell everybody how to run their lives anyway, she has always treated Kat with a quiet disrespect. Somehow she feels that if she is discreet about it, I won't pick up on it.
She has had this same disrespect towards my aunt, who identifies as a lesbian and has a life partner who is "not allowed at family functions because we don't do queer". Unfortunately my aunt and her partner are some of the few members of my family I actually spend time with and get along with, raising further discontent towards my grandmother.
My grandmother never knew I questioned religious ideals, and that I thought a lot of them were ridiculous. My parents on the other hand, had a clue, but chose not to say anything to me. I guess I always knew I was an atheist, I just never knew the right term until I finally got out into the world. Growing up, I went through all the crappy rituals such as communion and spending copious amounts of time in religious school, annoying the hell out of my instructors. I always felt stupid when forced to pray, and even dumber when forced to carry insignificant trinkets around my neck and in my car.
While in the military, I always kept the religious preference Catholic on my dog tags, for fear that I would have to actually explain what I believed (or lack thereof). I later changed this preference to atheist on my last tour in Afghanistan, just in case (I didn't want my wife catching blame for my disposal requests for no religious service).
One day, about a year ago, upon speaking with one of my overly religious cousins who can't say one sentence without "God" or "Jesus" in it, I became annoyed and abruptly told her I was an atheist. What a mistake that was....
Within a few days, I recieved two small crucifixes and a large last rites crucifix in the mail with a note from my grandmother. She advised me that I was to go to confession, fix the smaller crucifixes on the outside doors of my house and hang the large last rites crucifix in my bedroom. I was to attend church every week and do a rosary prayer every evening. She also stated she was putting me in for the prayer needs group at her church.
A call was made to my parents, whom I told I was a non-theist and if they thought they could change me, I just wouldn't talk to them. They have been rather accepting of it. My grandmother, however, will not stop trying to beat religion into my wife and I. I'm pretty sure my wife takes an agnostic viewpoint these days, but I don't bring it up too often.
To top it all off, not only am I getting "crusaded" by my grandmother; I'm also getting it from my cousins, my uncle (A pastor) and most of their acquaintances who don't even live in my state! I have not taken a phone call from any family with the exception of my parents and aunt/aunt in over 3 months.
As for the public, I am an open atheist. I tell everybody they can love me or hate me. I don't care which. So far, my good friends have stayed that way, and they know better than to talk to me about their religious views. I can be rather militant depending on the subject. I used to get a little trouble from the general public, especially when I was a cop, but it's de-escalated as of late.
My problem stems from my family and their determination to "make me right with Jesus". Any ideas on how to combat this modern day crusade venture they are partaking in? Any help would be great.
Just hire three cowboys like that scene in the Mel Brookes movie Blazing Saddles. Two cowboys stand each side of your grandmother and hold her arms while the other repeatedly punches her in the guts, left/right, left/right, left/right and so on. That's the best way to deal with the situation, I say.
'Have you ever see such cruelty'
You're an adult, with a wife. I assume you have your own home, your own income, and some wonderful lesbian family members to invite over for the holidays. You need to tell them to bugger off. You need to stop being afraid of conflict. This is not me saying you should antagonize them, but you should stand up for yourself and draw the line before they make that harder.
Box up all the Christian props and send them a polite note stating that they have 1 week to come by and get them before they go in the trash. Do not let them debate you, or play games. If they love you, they will respect your decision to keep a Christian free home. And if they don't respect it, tell them they will play no part in any possible future grandchildren you plan on having.
I’ve been in your shoes; I have both Catholics and Jews in my family. If they smell weakness, they will keep taking advantage of it.
Right now, there are teenagers being shipped out of country to brainwashing cults. There are kids being beaten for nothing more than curiosity. Young people everywhere don't have the power to stand up to their family, because they have no place to go. You're not one of them.
You're right. I guess I haven't made my message strong enough to them. I didn't mention that they know we don't want kids. That's a whole other conflict of its own! Thanks for the reply. And Napoleon, very funny, lol.