Each time there is a birthday party at my sister's her in-laws sing "May the good lord bless you" over and over after they sing happy birthday. There is usually about 20 to 30 people there, about half are singing this. We go to their house for birthdays quite often given that she has quite a few kids.

 

Obviously I find this rude and intolerant given that they don't know what religions others are. I was just there for such a celebration and knew it was coming so I started clapping and cheering real loud after the birthday song ended. I was not successful in stopping the praise of the sky wizard.

 

My son is 2-1/2 and starting to figure things out. I don't want him to be around this blatant religousizing of a secular celebration but I also don't want him to miss out on his cousins birthdays. I would like to approach the religion issues at a later date, I would rather it wasn't part of his life until he can understand it a little better.

 

I'm thinking about bringing it up to my sister but she would just roll her eyes at the silly atheist brother. Anyone have any ideas on how to approach this.

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Unfortunately, I feel I have to come to the defense of the deluded this time around. It's not really intolerant of them to sing religious songs at their own parties. If I'm reading this correctly, they sing it at their own birthdays (or that of their own children). So, sadly, it's actually more intolerant of you to ask them not to.
Now, if they were just randomly singing such crap at anyone else's birthday party they might go to - your son's for instance - where it is not welcome and/or it is not known how it would be received, then that would be rather arrogant of them. But IMO, the reverse is true as well. Presuming to ask them not to do something at their own home or at their own event would be just as arrogant as them asking you to praise jebus or say grace in your own home just because you've invited them over and they happen to believe in that crap.

That said, I do understand the awkward situation it puts you in. In much the same way my brother and sister-in-law say grace at every meal, even when they've invited my family over for dinner. We, obviously, do not say grace, but we also allow them their own silliness and suffer in silence while they thank invisible beings instead of the farmers or what have you who actually worked/grew the food they're about to eat.

My son (almost 6 now) started wanting to say grace. We calmly explained that we don't do that. We told him that some people believe in a god or Jesus, and think they should thank him for their food. We don't, so why should we thank something we don't believe in?
It took a bit, but he got it. Of course, he also knows Santa isn't real but people like to pretend he is because it makes them feel good, so that helped in making the connection as well.

I know that doesn't help your situation much, but I just thought I'd share my view on the subject. Take it or leave it as you see fit.

Peace.

Ah, then I misunderstood, and you're right, they are being rude.  Unless of course they know for certain that the people hosting don't mind (as in they go to the same church or join in the singing, etc.  not just that they assume that silence = approval).

 

That might be worth bringing up then, but it really just depends on how important it is to you.

One thing I have learned is that the older your kids get and the more you expose them to society at large, the less control you have over what they are exposed to and when.  What you do have control over is how you handle it.  At 2 1/2 I doubt your son actually thinks of the words to the song as having any more or less meaning than "twinkle twinkle little star". 

I would just start thinking about how you're going to answer him when he does start to ask questions about why they sing and you don't or what the song means or what it's about, etc.

Because it sounds like the unfortunate reality is that they're not going to stop no matter what you (the "silly atheist" as you said) say, and that leaves you only two options.  Quietly deal with it and prepare yourself to properly educate your son when the time comes, or stop going to the parties.

I've got quite the distinct voice, and I wouldn't try to hide.  Just join in!

 

Might I recommend a few verses?  

 

"May VISHNU bless you!  May KALI bless you!  May VENUS, ALLAH, SUN RA, TROY POLAMALU (my GOD!), ECT."  I'd just sing all the gods I and everyone I know have worshiped or have heard of people worshiping and tell your family that it's all in the spirit of fun and inclusiveness. 

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