Inter-Faith Marriages #SundayBlogShare 

On Saturday morning I received a message from a friend.

She had forwarded a screenshot to a few of us friends, of an Instagram post from a Sikh Youth group here, supposedly educating against the use of alcohol or drugs, and ‘grooming’.

This shot showed, in clear view, a photo of a wedding card, for a couple due to get married today in my local Gurdwara.

The bride is Sikh, the groom, of African/Gujrati descent.

The message accompanying the photo was to basically phone up the temple and cause a ruckus about a marriage being held there between a Sikh and a non-Sikh.

Let me clarify here, she had sent the photo as a discussion item in a group chat a few of us partake in. She was not in agreement with the message, just horrified that someone out there was instigating people to go and ruin another person’s special day.

This morning, apparently a crowd of militants had arrived at the gurdwara, and there was heavy police presence. Despite this, the groom did arrive, and the wedding did take place.

However, my thoughts went the following way…

Who are these people to disrupt another person’s special day?

If the Gurdwara accepted the booking, surely they have no problem with a mixed faith wedding?

How dare they?

I was so glad to hear that the ceremony took place, as it should have done.

It takes months, if not years, to arrange a wedding day, and if there is an issue with a mixed faith wedding happening in a particular place of worship, then that should be addressed at the time of enquiry and booking, not using a lynch mob on the day!

We have heard of this actually happening here a few times, where weddings have had to be cancelled on the day, not due to the couple having problems, but because groups have congregated to protest.

Yes, ideally, a marriage should be of two Sikh individuals in a Gurdwara.

Most Sikh people would say that.

But, in my eyes, if two individuals wish to marry in the Gurdwara, that should be embraced too.

For a Sikh girl, she will have grown up seeing Sikh weddings taking place, and no matter who she falls for, that ideal of a perfect Gurdwara wedding is the same as for Christian brides and their white weddings.

I have seen several mixed faith weddings in gurdwaras over the years, and to be honest, I find that the non-Sikh partner in the couple, is often more knowledgeable about the ceremony, and fully respectful of all the temple asks than the Sikh partner!

Mixed faith partnerships can be hard, but they can also be a beautiful union. We have one in our family with my brother and his Finnish bride, culminating in my Finndian nephew. Both the faiths are upheld and my nephew will be educated in both so he can decide for himself what to follow when he grows up

When they got married, it was a civil ceremony, followed by a Christian blessing, as my sis in law’s cousin is a priest, and a Sikh blessing, conducted by my Pops.

When they came back to England after the wedding, we had special prayers to give them that official blessing in the Gurdwara.

Here, where I live, there have been, in the past, a few mixed faith weddings, before they were ‘banned’ as instructed by the Akal Takht (the powers that be for the Sikh religion in Amritsar, India) in Gurdwaras.

But recently many temples have decided to allow these marriages, as there is a feeling that if they reject the youngsters who want to follow their faith, but marry whoever they love, then our religion will die too.

Our local Gurdwara also decided to allow these weddings to take place. In fact, last year I went to a family wedding there where the bride was Sikh and the groom of mixed race, not Sikh.

Some say that the gurdwaras are just in it for the money, not upholding our faith, after all, they do charge for these functions, and you do pay, quite hansomely, for the pleasure of using the facilities for a wedding.

Honestly, I don’t know what is right or wrong.

But my gut says “Live and Let Live”. It’s not hurting us if someone wishes to marry their love in the gurdwara. If we were being truthful, most of the Sikh couples who do marry in the temples aren’t baptised or true Sikhs either.

They may hold the banner of being Sikh because they were born into a Sikh family, but they may drink, smoke, eat meat, not pray, cut their hair… all things which a true Sikh would not do.

If it were only ‘true’ Sikhs who were allowed to marry in the Gurdwara, then there would be hardly any weddings taking place there. Rather, we would need many more Registry offices to perform civil ceremonies!

Sorry for the total verbal-diarrhea style of this post… But it incenses me to hear of things like this!

So I am off to ‘Zen’ myself. Peace be with you all Peeps!

 

95 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Don Royster
    Jul 12, 2017 @ 20:36:27

    I don’t understand why there are those who want to spread hate instead of tolerance and love. Very sad. Very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. wanderingmoi
    Jul 05, 2017 @ 08:24:17

    It’s really nice to read through your thoughts on this matter. I am in love with a Sikh man who I would love to marry in the near future, and to know that someone from his community/religion is open to the possibility of my future marriage is really comforting. Though I do not intend to become a Sikh, I really appreciate Sikhism and its principles. I am trying to incorporate some into my own lifestyle. It’s encompassing nature is something the world can really benefit from.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Diana Frajman
    Jul 03, 2017 @ 01:55:08

    In two weeks, my son (white bread Canadian) and is lovely bride (Chinese from Hong Kong) will be getting married. I couldn’t care less what her faith is or he cultural background. What I care most, is that they love each other and make each other happy.
    We are having a Chinese/Canadian ceremony with a mix of both culture’s traditions. Can’t wait 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. angelanoelauthor
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 19:55:56

    This is complicated, and as you suggest hard to say if there’s a clear answer. You’re asking the right question though: who’s to say what lies in the hearts of anyone else? Err on the side of love, joy, and open-heartedness.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  5. susielindau
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 15:50:02

    In my humble opinion, we are all worshipping the same God, just in different ways. I can’t imagine that happening here in the US. Those people should have to pay for all the damages in money spent for the cancelled wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. noellekelly
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 15:36:46

    That’s actually horrendous!! No-one has the right to ruin such a special day for a couple. I’m glad it went ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Lutheranliar
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 14:18:33

    Couldn’t agree more, dear Ritu. I absolutely believe not only that people who love each other should be encouraged to marry, but that this is the only way that the world will eventually achieve peace and understanding. It’s hard to hate ‘others’ if you’re related to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  8. becomingcliche
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 14:15:00

    I agree that if the facility does not wish to perform a mixed religion wedding, the refusal needs to be at the outset. I can’t imagine people protesting a wedding of all things! I think that you are exactly right that denying someone of the faith a wedding in their holy place is wrong, regardless of whom they are marring.

    Thanks for teaching me a bit about the Sikh religion.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. anhistorianabouttown
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 14:06:54

    I believe that if the two parties involved are in agreement on what they are doing and the institution performing the ceremony is cool, it is no one else’s business! Don’t like it? Don’t go! No one has the right to ruin someone else’s day 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  10. Lisa Orchard
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 13:41:31

    This is terrible. I can’t believe people are still so closed-minded in this day and age. Tolerance of our differences is the only way we’re going to be able to live on this planet. We’ve only got one and it’s not getting any bigger. Thanks for the thought provoking post, Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. Shallow Reflections
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 12:36:01

    This is a great opinion piece, Ritu. You laid out the issues and the facets that would affect one’s opinion about it. This happens in the Christian religion, too. My minister meets with couples prior to the wedding and feels they would be better off with a civil ceremony if they are not indeed professed Christians. Thanks for making me think this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. thebeasley
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 12:29:10

    No I can’t believe someone would want to disrupt a wedding day in such a manner. Like you said, if there were issues with it taking place then this should’ve been discussed formally as soon as the booking was made! I went to a mixed wedding at a Sikh temple before. The groom was Sikh and the bride was Greek Orthodox! It was one of the best weddings that I ever went to. The bride was very knowledgeable about Sikhism & Sikh wedding ceremonies. She did all the little ceremonies that lead up to the wedding day too. She looked stunning in her traditional Sikh wedding dress (apologies if I’m not using the right terms here). So it was a real mix of different religions & races under one roof. Everyone respected the wishes of the temple and there were (luckily) no issues or protests. My friend ended up have 4 wedding days!!! One Greek Orthodox ceremony, one Sikh ceremony, one ceremony at a registry office and finally a big wedding party that took place later for all of the groom’s family from abroad that couldn’t make the ceremony in the temple. Anyway, she actually always considered her main wedding day as the one that took place in the Sikh temple and it was fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  13. Heidi
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 11:30:12

    I agree with you and who is anyone to question another person’s choices. I have been in interracial relationships most of my adult life so I have experienced first hand the evil that judgment can do.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. fancypaperblog
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 11:17:38

    It is hard to understand how we will change opinions. Life can be hard enough with our fighting happiness in love x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Jul 02, 2017 @ 11:14:22

    I believe you should marry who you love regardless of their faith but you should be respectful of their faith too. So like you this kind of thing incenses me too! My hubby is from a Catholic family, I was raised Church of England. Neither of us are particularly religious now but at the time we were married in a Catholic church – to keep his family happy! I didn’t mind where I got married! So everyone was happy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. gracefig
    Jun 29, 2017 @ 23:31:17

    I think the problem runs deeper than the “stir” it causes in the family. For some people, their faith is not very important… almost as if their religion is routine instead of something they treasure. In that case, it might not matter to a person if their spouse does not believe the same thing. My question, is how can someone be okay with marrying someone of a different faith if their faith is truly dear to them. Please note – I did not say race or ethnicity, I said religion. For example, my faith is so so important to me that is runs down to the core of my being. I would not have been able to marry my husband if he believed in something/someone/nothing else. It’s that important to me. Personally, I do not judge others for entering into marriages of mixed faith, but rather, curious how each individual truly feels about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 30, 2017 @ 06:39:58

      I get what you mean, but equally you can love someone,and want to be with them but believe in different faiths in harmony too. It’s all about respect. There shouldn’t be the need to ‘convert’ another to your faith, simply to marry. You can respect each other’s beliefs, marry under the relevant customs, so each partner feels they have done right by what they believe, and live a good, happy life… can’t you?
      I feel this because I have seen it with my own brother, and his wife, and their union is full of respect even though they don not follow the same religion!
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • gracefig
        Jun 30, 2017 @ 13:18:42

        Yes, I believe it is possible. It all goes back to the two individuals and if it is possible for them. Like I said, for me personally, it would not be. It is also biblical that two should not enter a union unequally yoked. Again, that’s how I feel personally, but that doesn’t mean others can’t live harmoniously following two different religions! In a situation like that you are right, it is 100% about respect! I’m happy for your brother and his wife and that it is working out so well for them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jun 30, 2017 @ 15:44:34

        😍🙂😚

        Like

  17. Jennie
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 22:12:17

    Terrible. Where is common sense and the goodness of mankind / womankind?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. Trackback: Inter-Faith Marriages #MondayBlogs  – The Militant Negro™
  19. dearanonymousfriend
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 20:34:54

    this is well written, as always. You are gracious in your thinking and in your writing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. Mr. Militant Negro
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 20:34:06

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. willowdot21
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 19:54:39

    My Mum and Dad had a mixed marriage. They were working class Irish Catholic on my Dad’s side and wealthy English Protestant on Mums side.It caused a real stir and my grandparents did owned my Mum and Dad , this was in the 1930. They had a wonderful marriage. Then I married my husband, he being a Protestant me the Catholic… Neither of us go to church rather than have a denomination we prefer to be Christian in our ways and our lives. Great article Sis, very brave. 💜💗

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  22. robbiesinspiration
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 18:57:57

    I found this post fascinating, Ritu. It seems that the same problems trouble everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. Lisa A.
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 14:52:27

    Me and my boyfriend were kind of talking about this last night. I was saying I want to baptize our baby (when we have one! Lol) Catholic and he wants to raise Jewish. It’s a hard decision so we’ll see what happens. It’s wrong to start judging and even wanting to disrupt someone’s wedding though!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. potatosandwich
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 13:56:49

    Interesting topic and I had also seen the card. Its a topic that could go on forever and we would never get to the bottom of it. Whether I agree with this practice taking place in the Gurdwara I am not sure, but then again there is a case for our own Sikh people who perform in these rites for lip service.

    I will however disagree on one point, just because our Gurdwara Committee allow it, that doesn’t mean they think it’s OK, as much as some people may not like the statement but they are in this for the financial aspect, you just have to see the forestation that’s taking place outside to see how we are becoming a commercial landscape for people to come from afar to get married. I only make such comments on best judgement and historical experience.
    When young Sikhs start getting married at the Gurdwara under the knowledge of what it means and start living their lives to at least some of the great principles bestowed upon us we might just be in a place to challenge the hypocrisy. Take care. D.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 26, 2017 @ 18:01:29

      I totally agree with you. I don’t know if it’s ‘right ‘ as such, but unless the ģurdwaras decide to only marry those who are amritdhari, they are being hypocritical!!!

      Like

      Reply

      • potatosandwich
        Jun 26, 2017 @ 19:11:47

        Unless one is going to turn to the spiritual Being who blessed them in Union, in whose audience they took their vows, during those good and bad times in marriage and life, then I can’t see why they did in the Gurus presence in the first place… And that applies to “everyone” who decides that the Sikh Holy Book should be the primal witness of the union. However if the minute you walk out and think ‘job done, relatives and friends happy, box ticked’ then subconsciously all you have done is shown a level of disrespect. I’m no spiritual person, but the day we stop treating the SGGSJi as a book, we may all think twice.
        I normally stay distant from such topics, there’s no satisfying all the four corners of opinion. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jun 26, 2017 @ 19:18:03

        You can’t satisfy everyone that’s for sure!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Judy E Martin
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 13:04:26

    I know that not all mixed faith marriages work (my own first two marriages inculded), but it doesn’t help when you meet with so much opposition from both sides of the families!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  26. vanbytheriver
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 12:27:57

    Your anger/frustration is palpable, Ritu. We get it and we understand. It’s a universal truth that organized religions…of all faiths, have strayed from the intended path. We need to get back there.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  27. Lance Greenfield
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 12:07:55

    Reblogged this on Write to Inspire and commented:

    My view is that if you change just two letters of what your gut tells you, you finish with “Love and let love.”

    Whichever faith you follow, or even if you follow none at all, surely this is the best path to follow?

    One world, one people: care about them all

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  28. scskillman
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 10:22:08

    We had a similar situation , Ritu, in our local gurdwara – a beautiful building in Leamington Spa, which I have toured. I was really taken aback by the disturbance that erupted over a mixed faith wedding at the gurdwara and some of the objectors were carrying ceremonial swords. However, it was all contained and the wedding went ahead. But I feel sad and concerned about religious intolerance in our society. I think we must be ever on the alert and aware of it. In our community, the Sikhs are an enormously positive infuence and they represent to me a faithful, tolerant, good-hearted faith group. Yes I agree mixed faith marriages can have their challenges for the couple, but they are also a challenge to all of us to uphold our values of mutual respect and love for one another – values which should be held by faith groups and non-religious people alike.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  29. floridaborne
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 09:13:19

    Extremism can be found in science, non-religion and religion. Protesters are bad enough, but then there are those who practice “honor killing.” In one instance, a man lost his wife and children when her family brutally murdered them. He was an excellent father, but her family believed she married beneath her station and they did it to “protect” their “honor.” To me, there is no honor in that, only cowardice shame on the part of the ones who would commit such a travesty.

    My 2nd husband (my kid’s father) was of another faith. He was an excellent husband and I have 2 great children. Where there is love, there is a way.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  30. stevetanham
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 08:17:44

    Understandable emotion, Ritu. Kindness and compassion seem to be in short supply at present.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  31. shelleywilson72
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 07:17:51

    I grew up going to church every week with my mum and brother. I was part of the Catholic community my entire life and then when I met my husband to be I was turned away because he had been married before. No discussion, just a ‘no’ from the priest. This was the start of my loss of faith. As you say, if temples/churches don’t embrace the changes in our youngsters lives and their passion for wanting a diverse and full life then they will turn their back on their faith.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

  32. Osyth
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 06:31:49

    So sad. We need to be inclssive and tolerant whatever or faith or belief system and getting her up because the Temple or Synagogue or Mosque or Church allows and embraces that attitude is the narrow path to precisely the unrest that leads to far worse conflict. Very well done for writing this excellent post and thank you for sharing it 💛

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  33. barbtaub
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 06:14:51

    Thank you!!! We don’t raise our children in a cultural vacuum where they only interact with those who share their beliefs. We raise them to be part of the wider world in all its richness of cultural and religious diversity. Of course I would have been happy if my children married other Jews. But I’m even happier that they found, loved, and married wonderful people. And while I tease them about refunds for their bar/bat mitzvahs, in truth, I am grateful and our family is richer for their presence.

    And I’m grateful to you for this post.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 26, 2017 @ 06:55:43

      Thank you Barb! It sometimes grates on me that we are trying so hard to educate our children in their religion and background, then these extreme views come out and they are exactly what puts our kids off!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

  34. pranabaxom
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 06:13:40

    👍👍
    I am not a Sikh but visit the local Gurdwara sometimes. Love the prasad and langar.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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