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by Abigail Van Buren

Father-in-Law Expects Future Grandchildren To Be Catholic

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are trying to have children. He was raised Catholic, but is now agnostic. I'm also agnostic.

My deeply religious father-in-law insists that our future children be baptized Catholic. I'm against it because I think it should be a person's right to choose which faith, if any, to follow when they are ready. I also think it would be hypocritical to go through a baptismal ceremony, with godparents and vows to raise our child a certain way when we have no intention of doing it.

My husband thinks it would be best to baptize our future children to "keep the peace," because his father will never forgive us if we don't. I think it's our children, our lives, our ethics. Which of us is right? -- OUT IN THE OPEN

DEAR OUT: You are, but I don't envy what's ahead for you. If you knuckle under to your father-in-law, it won't stop. You will be expected to follow through with a Catholic upbringing -- first communion, Catholic schools, church attendance "for the children" and everything that comes with it.

You and your husband should bite the bullet, be upfront with his dad before you become pregnant and make plain how you plan to raise your children. If you aren't, raising them in a way you don't want could put a strain on your marriage. This should be your and your husband's decision to make and no one else's, and I don't recommend deviating from it.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Religion