After a week off for Spring Break, I was sitting at home perusing the news to try to get back into the habit of blogging. I came across this article describing an issue becoming more and more prevalent: Sikh wedding protests. Throughout the UK, protesters are barricading themselves in Sikh temples to prevent mixed faith marriages, which are technically not approved by the faith but until now have gone by without problems.
I think that this conflict brings to light an issue which interfaith stumbles upon: at what point does acceptance of a faith go against one’s religion? Is it possible to accept another religion’s values too much to the point of going against your own?
In my own conversations with people about religious pluralism, I often get asked the question, “Does that mean that I have to acknowledge that all other religions are right too?” The answer is no, you don’t have to believe in all of the religions in order to believe that they are important. Now, if I am Christian and my fiance is Sikh, and we want to get married, does getting married in a particular religion mean that we forgo the other faith? Or does our marriage mean that the faith that we get married in has to accept both religions beliefs? Those are the questions that the Sikh church is struggling with right now.
Now I don’t have the answers to the questions surrounding this issue in the Sikh faith. This issue is something that has many layers and a lot of emotions surrounding it which cannot be answered in one blog post. However I think that it is important to bring attention to the fact that this problem can be solved in a way more peaceful than the protests that are happening.
A statement by the security general said the following: “I would say there is no place in a modern Britain for any community to resort to violent threatening behaviour.”
Overall the impression is that those in authority positions in the Sikh faith agree with the sentiments of the protestors and why they are protesting, but do not agree with the threatening behavior which is quite uncharacteristic for the normally passive faith.
My hope is that the protests will end and the Sikh faith will come to some sort of agreement on what should be done. Right now the agreement is that no one should be afraid to be married on their wedding day or be worried for their safety. Weddings should be a joyous day and celebration with the community, not a day where one is being rejected by the community.