The holidays and the intolerance of religion

I ran into a couple of great moments of religious intolerance over the holidays. One involved a friend of my wife, and another involved myself.

The instance with our friend involves a clash of religions between her relatively recent conversion to Islam and her family's strong Hindu stance. It has come to the point where I am worried about violence against her from her family as they punish her for being the wrong religion and threaten to disrupt her education (she is in medical school). I'm afraid that I may soon be housing a Muslim to protect her from anti-Muslim violence. An interesting note, her family is so anti-Muslim that they said they'd rather her had become an atheist.

The other thing is that I was forced to read Bible passages over Christmas with my in-laws. Now, I don't mean they did it, so I felt compelled to do so as well. The first two times they did it, I skipped my turn, and no one said any thing. When the third meal came around though, I was asked to say recite a verse because it is tradition and if I didn't there may be problems.

Now, this severely pissed me off, but he kept saying it is for the tradition, and that other non-Christians have done this tradition before. Well, no kidding, you are telling me you used peer pressure on everyone else and that was sufficient. But me, not so much. I tried to explain that since I don't believe I didn't want to pretend that I did as that would be lying and unethical to me. He didn't care, I was to recite a passage anyways.

Now, can you imagine how tempted I was to read one of those fucked up passages that would have made the dinner REALLY interesting? But there are two children at the table, and while I find the brain-washing they are getting disgusting, it isn't my place to mess with their kids. So I went with "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I found it slightly amusing, for if they were following that one, I wouldn't be reading that verse to begin with.

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