Do you guys say grace before your Thanksgiving meal?
My family are all basically heathens but we will have a few Christian in-laws there on Thurs. Not nutty fundies, just normal run of the mill ones. I guess they will want to say a prayer. I will bow my head and stay silent. It doesn't bother me but I wonder if it bothers other apathetic agnostics/atheists.
Like you, OP, I am more than willing to maintain a respectful silence while others pray, but that's it.
One year, my sister-in-law tried to "initiate a tradition" (her words, not mine) where we would all stand in a big circle and hold hands while praying before Thanksgiving dinner. I quietly excused myself, but that was, apparently, not acceptable.
A lot of drama ensued, with a succession of family members searching me out, and me having to explain, over and over, that I didn't want to participate in the ritual.
Feeling were hurt. While my family is mostly reasonable about their demonstrations of faith, most felt I should have participated just to keep the peace.
My poor sister-in-law felt like she had caused some sort of family rift. I felt the same about myself.
It was worth it, though. A few years later, we all laugh about the incident, and you can be damned sure that no one tries to lead a public prayer while I'm around!
My mother insists on praying before the meal. So what? I just wait. It comforts her, doesn't bother me, takes 20 seconds.
In my house we have a Thanksgiving tradition of stating what we're grateful for. I think it's a good reminder of what's important, especially for the (also atheist) teenagers in the family.
R1, the standing in a circle thing is a bit ostentatious and, yes, seems slightly ritualistic. I think the regular bowed head, amen thing is nice and understated. I'm always suspicious of Christians who want to make a big display of their faith.
My mom would make my dad do a few times when I was young and we had company, even though my dad is a legitimate atheist.
It was truly uncomfortable for all. One of millions of reasons they divorced.
Our family never prayed at the table - I think my mother (a Catholic convert) thought it was "too Protestant" or something. I don't mind when other people do it. The holding hands in a circle thing, though - that's a little much.
Kum-Bay-Yah and pass the hand sanitizer please
I agree with you 100%, OP.
In my sister-in-law's defense, she was acting with the fervor of the newly converted. She has since mellowed considerably.
No, Thanksgiving is a time for being grateful. Religion has given us nothing to be grateful for.
Thank Whomever/Whatever my family is one big bunch of heathens! Not even "Good food, good meat, Good God, let's eat"!
We never did growing up but now my sister does or asks one of her kids to. It's kind of nice, doesn't bother me.
We all chant, then remove our Snuggies and rubber masks, and worship the missile.
R8: There's an after-dinner grace too: "Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yaaaaaaaaaay GOD!"
Memories of summer camp
We had Thanksgiving Dinner at an upscale restaurant. A family of four held hands and bowed their heads while the father said Grace. The server waited until they were finished. Other customers observed it. No one got bend out of shape.
No--as kids we were forced to take a turn to "say grace" which I absolutely hated. We were also forced to go to church which I also detested--listening to a long winded blowhard shriek about Jesus was not my idea fun on one of the two days we had off from school where you were always at the mercy of some frustrated old bag for a teacher. Today I am willing to have a moment of silence out of politeness if the host wishes to somehow pray, but don't ask me to join in somehow, it all seems like an exaggerated ritual where one says hocus-pocus magic words over their food.
What R7 said. Had dinner out with six friends Thursday night and we went around and mentioned what we were grateful for.
R12, that's just "holier than thou" grandstanding.
Since my grandfather died, my uncle (an inveterate womanizer/part-time drunk white collar GOP type), has picked up the tradition of leading us in prayer before the meal. I stay quiet and respectful, but don't go along with the head bowing or closed eyes.
You know, giving thanks isn't exclusively a Christian tradition.
In Japan, before each meal, citizens usually put their hands together and say "Itadakimasu!" or literally translated, "I humbly receive," after which they begin to eat.
I think for many people, giving thanks before a meal is more like just BEING THANKFUL for bounty.
I know it's hard for us to understand today in our fast-food, fast-paced world, but the truth is that people 200 years ago could literally starve to death if the crops failed, and if there was a drought or something, and so it was wholly appropriate to just be thankful for a bounteous meal.
Hence the term, "Thanksgiving."
I think that only today, in our pc/non-pc world, do people think so much about whether we want to be thankful or not.
Personally, I'm always grateful for a meal, because even in this day and age, people in our country go hungry.
So I always take time to just appreciate what I have. No big deal.