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by Abigail Van Buren

Prayer Before Dinner Doesn't Get Everyone's Blessing

DEAR ABBY: Recently some of my extended family had dinner together at a restaurant. After the waiter brought our meal to the table, my adult nephew asked all 10 of us to pause before eating while he "offered thanks" for the meal. Most of the family is religious and may not have minded doing it even though they never do it themselves in public. However, some of us are not religious and never pray before meals, something everyone there has known for decades.

If we gather at someone's house, we follow the custom of the host and there's no objection, but I think it's presumptuous to insist on making everyone wait while they perform this ritual in public. No one will mind you praying silently to yourself, but please be considerate of others and refrain from turning every gathering into your personal prayer meeting. -- GODLESS IN TEXAS

DEAR GODLESS: Unless your nephew was delivering a sermon and you were experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, I don't think it was a great imposition to wait until he said the blessing.

That said, because you felt imposed upon, say something to your nephew -- or, because you know that he does this, pass on the next dinner invitation.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics