An individual had always been respectful of their cousin’s religious beliefs, who identified as a Jehovah’s Witness. However, it had become clear that this respect was not mutual, and would soon become the root of a problematic family dispute.
A History of Accommodation
The individual recounted their efforts to accommodate their cousin’s beliefs. “I don’t take her kids to religious gatherings like church”, they started. “I don’t practice my pagan rites when her kids are around. I don’t sneakily celebrate holidays and birthdays with them. I don’t debate with her about her religion, even when she says stuff I think is crazy.”
The cousin had also frequently sought the individual’s help with childcare. The individual had always been happy to help, despite the fact that they chose to remain child-free themself.
A Heartfelt Funeral
The catalyst for the conflict occurred during the funeral of the individual’s sister, a somber occasion. They had gone to great lengths to ensure the service aligned with their sister’s Christian beliefs, even hosting it at a church. The pastor delivered a touching sermon about divine love that moved the individual deeply.
A Child’s Innocent Question
After the service, one of the individual’s younger cousins innocently asked why their sister was in the casket. “I told him that she was going to Heaven to be with Jesus”, the individual recounted.
A Heated Exchange
However, this did not align with the cousin’s beliefs. They immediately intervened, angrily explaining to her children what would actually happen from their perspective as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
A Strong Reaction
Naturally, this triggered a strong reaction from the individual. “I angrily told her to shut up, and that I didn’t care what she thought”, they remembered. They asserted that the funeral was a Christian service and that the cousin should honor the individual’s late sister’s faith.
A Disagreement Escalates
The situation escalated as the cousin attempted to argue her point. The individual made the decision to have her removed from the premises, which, in hindsight, they acknowledged might have been a contentious move.
A Resurfaced Conflict
Years passed, and the incident lay dormant until recently when the cousin brought it up again. At a family gathering, she accused the individual of religious persecution at the funeral, which the individual felt was a bizarre statement and unnecessary to bring up after the years that had gone by.
They’d Helped So Much
Naturally, the individual was furious. “I asked her why she would accept free child care from me all these years if I’m such a terrible person”, they recounted. “I’ve told her she’s full of lies, and reminded her that I’m probably one of five people in the entire family that actually respects her religious convictions.”
Seeking Community Guidance
Riddled with anger, the individual headed to their favorite online community to vent their frustrations. The story was met with outrage from their community friends. “You did nothing wrong”, defended one reader. “As you stated “she’s full of lies”, and she sounds like a pretty awful person to say what she did during the funeral.”
Everyone agreed that the cousin had acted awfully considering the respect that the individual had provided them. “If everyone has to respect her religion then she has to respect everyone else’s religion”, someone stated. “If she wanted to explain to her son that she didn’t agree with what you were saying, she should have done it in private, away from those who are grieving.”
“Your cousin sucks”, accused another reader. “That was so rude to say that at someone’s funeral, especially to a child. Her accusing you of religious persecution is a huge insult to those who get killed each day because they are practicing their faith.”
An Ex Jehovah’s Perspective
Coincidentally, one reader happened to be an ex-Jehovah’s Witness. “I was raised in their cult”, they lamented. “Keep watching the kids, and don’t tell them anything, but subtly expose them to other religions so they can learn to question their own beliefs. If someone had done that for me, I might’ve escaped the crazies a few years earlier.”
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Images are for illustrative purposes only