Respecting others’ beliefs—as long as they aren’t abusive or discriminatory—should go both ways.
But what do you do if it isn’t?
A mother was stuck with this conundrum. After a confrontation with her daughter she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor kaity-was-there asked:
“AITA for asking my daughter to be tolerant of my Christian-themed decorations?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Background information: I (34, female) have a 15-year-old daughter and two 10-year-old sons. My husband is deployed.”
“Before anyone asks: yes, we married young, and yes, we were married when I had our daughter.”
“Recently, my daughter (we’ll call her Belle) has gotten into occult. She’s not a satanist, but she does make altars and draw witch-themed art.”
“I can’t say I’m 100% on board, but I know I can’t push Jesus on her. Her faith has to be her own.”
“She still goes to church with us (on Zoom currently), but she puts on a stank face for it.”
“Anyway, I recently got a very pretty wooden cross with hand-painted wildflowers. It was made by a local artist, and she paints only flowers local to our area.”
“Needless to say I love it, and I put it up on our porch.”
“Well, Belle decided to rain on my parade and start whining about it. She said I should take it down, because it’ll give people the wrong impression of her religious beliefs.”
“I told her I liked it, it was my house, and like it or not, she’s living in a Christian household and should be tolerant.”
“I thought that was the end of it, but apparently she went and complained to her friend ‘Lizzie’s’ mom. I ran into Lizzie’s mom at the commissary, and she started telling me some very patronizing stuff about tolerance.”
“I brushed her off to not make a scene, but you can bet I chewed Belle’s butt when I got home.”
“I would usually be fine with Belle confiding in a friend’s parent about her problems, but this just crossed a line for me. The way I see it, the cross is a non-issue, and Belle should just ignore it.”
“When she has her own house, she can decorate it however she wants, and I won’t say a word.”
“AITA? I’d be especially interested to hear from other parents.”
The OP added more information.
“I do not make Bella go to church. Church is our ‘family time,’ but I’ve told her that she’s welcome to stop going as long as she picks a different family activity for us all to do together weekly.”
“It can be just about anything (board game, hike, baking cupcakes, whatevs). Bella hasn’t gotten around to choosing something, so she’s still attending church.”
“She doesn’t like it, but it would take literally five minutes of her time to think up an alternative and tell it to me.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA — Not The A**hole
- YTA — You’re The A**hole
- NAH — No A**holes Here
- ESH — Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. I may not be a parent, but I am an atheist with a mother who decorated for Christian holidays with Christian themed items.”
“Your daughter is getting tolerance backwards. You’re allowing her to have items that represent her religious beliefs, yet she doesn’t want the same for you?”
“Sometimes people get a bit worked up when they are discovering their own beliefs. Hopefully she grows out of this.”
“And the other mom needs to mind her own business.” ~ awkward-velociraptor
“Yeah, I’m as atheist as they come, but this is a clear NTA.”
“OP sounds like she’s taking the right approach, letting her daughter explore and come to her own conclusions about faith.”
“Meanwhile, OP is well within her rights to hang up a decorative cross, and anyone who calls her intolerant for that is getting it backwards, as you say.”
“Fortunately, daughter will probably learn to chill out about stuff like this as she grows up, as most of us do.” ~ Chester_Allman
“NTA. Me too. I came expecting to be on the other side of the fence, but OP sounds like a great mum and the good kind of Christian.”
“You’re doing great OP. She’s just pushing those teenage boundaries.” ~ Cauldr0n-Cake
“Agreed. Athiest parent here. I encourage my kids to learn about all different beliefs.”
“I’m happy to discuss religion with them, but they would not be allowed to push it on me or make me take down decorations. It’s OPs house she can decorate it any way she wants.”
“That cross sounds pretty to be honest.”
“Either the daughter lied or exaggerated things to the other mom, or the other mom is overly nosy. I would have been annoyed too. NTA.” ~ bernyzilla
“Same. My mom actually pushed her religious beliefs on me my entire life and it’s a sore subject for us.”
“Other than that, I love my mom so when I see pretty religious decor, I buy it for her because I know she’ll love it. It’s about love and respect.”
“If you respect her occult stuff, then she should respect your Christian stuff. Also want to point out the fact that you don’t push religion on her and it’s your house. NTA.” ~ stormyllewelIyn
“Really gripes me when people don’t see that they are asking for what they won’t give.” ~ tphatmcgee
“Her daughter is very young and needs to learn what tolerance is. That other woman should mind her own business.” ~ Majestic-Meringue-40
“1. It’s your home.”
“2. If she expects you to respect her beliefs, she should be expected to respect yours.”
“And that’s coming from an avowed atheist.” ~ SonuvaGunderson
“NTA You are tolerant of her beliefs. She needs to be tolerant of yours.”
“You are allowed to decorate your home the way you like. It would be different if you were decorating her room with crosses but that’s not what’s happening here.”
“Belle is being a hypocrite.” ~ HotAudience6110
While the daughter is trying to enlist other parents to teach her mother about tolerance, she could use some lessons herself.
And at the end of the day, it is her parents’ house, not hers.