Dear Loveawake: I would like to know the best way to handle a religion difference in our marriage. We have a 3 year old boy. I am not a Christian and my husband is. I would not feel comfortable with him taking our son to church although I know my husband can do what he wants and teach him what he wants. I would like to take him to Jewish classes with me and this is how I am raising him (our son). What do I do when he wants to take our son to church? What do we tell our son about the religious differences? Can I take him with me? - Carla
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Dear Carla: This is definitely a personal issue that should have been discussed before you got married and certainly before having a child. I know that most clergy believe that a child should be raised believing in one religion. I have always felt that this is only possible to do if one of the parents does not have strong religious beliefs. Then it is easier to agree to raise the child believing in their spouse's religion. Spouses may decide to convert because they don't have strong feelings about their own religion and because their mate does, it may become a condition of marriage.
From your email it is apparent that both of you care about your son being exposed to each religion. Asking either of you to give up your place of worship or your method of worshiping God would rob each of you of your own belief system. I believe that a child should be raised knowing who his parents are. Therefore, explain to him that both mommy and daddy love God but we pray to him in different ways. That happens to be the truth. I also see nothing wrong with you and your son accompanying your husband to his place of worship and visa versa. Teach your child that when he is questioned about his religion, he should say "I am half Jewish because my mom is Jewish and half Christian because my Dad is Christian. So, I get to celebrate both religious holidays."
When your son is old enough he may decide that he prefers one religion over another. Until that time comes, expose him to the joys of both.
If I were you, I'd have a Christmas tree trimmed in blue tinsel and a Jewish star at the top. That will serve as a symbol for the love and respect that two different people have for one another. - Loveawake