I was reading a column that discussed a proposed dinner between two parties from different countries with different religious requirements and cultural norms. There was one particular item which went against the guest’s religious requirements but which was almost always served in the host’s home country. The guests asked that it not be served and the hosts declined to accommodate them, so the dinner did not go off.
Who was right and who was wrong there?
Alternatively, should the hosts have recognized in advance this possible issue and proactively not served this item in order to accommodate their guests?
Several years ago, we invited the priest at our church (RIP Father Pete…you left us too soon). I made ribs for dinner and after the dinner we were talking about some of the church rules as it was Lent (the dinner wasn’t on a Friday). I asked about meat on Friday. He said that if today were Friday and I had made ribs, he would eat them and enjoy them as it would be wrong to criticize my hospitality.
Yes, I did that deliberately. I will post the actual story later. For now let’s just say that with the parties involved some people would be very apt to lean one way but if it were a different set of parties I could see them leaning the other way. I admit that I fell into this group when I first read this.
My brothers sister in law married a Jewish guy and when they’ve been to our house I wouldn’t serve pork or shell fish, I didn’t ask and neither did he. The first time we went to their house he had oysters and shrimp.
In late 2015, riding the high of the soon-to-be-implemented nuclear agreement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani planned several state visits to European capitals. He was courting foreign investment to revitalize his country’s sputtering economy and wanted to take advantage of Iranian cachet abroad.
But when arrangements for the visits were being drawn up, the Iranians had a demand. There was to be no alcohol at the official state meal hosted by French President Francois Hollande. Keeping pork off the menu could be accommodated to conform to Halal rules, but asking French hosts not to serve wine was a cultural red line.
The visit was postponed because of the Paris terrorist attacks. But when the trip happened two months later, the state dinner was downgraded to a snack.
When I first read this my initial reaction was good for the French for not giving into the Iranians. However, I then thought of some other hypothetical examples where I would have thought the exact opposite, so I could not fault the Iranians here either.
As part of my weight loss regime, I gave up alcohol of all types. But when at a social gathering, club soda with lime juice looks a helluva lot like gin and tonic. I guess when it comes to alcohol, the Iranians are a lot like Kansas. If I buy beer at the grocery store and the beer is ready to be scanned…if the checker is under 21 they have to stop and get a manager to finish the order, lest they be corrupted by the devils brew. I also saw a kid with a bottle of wine that his parents had let him carry to the checkout. They told them they couldn’t sell it to them since the kid put it there.
When I worked in Drug Court, several of our treatment counselors were recovering addicts.
I made it a point to not drink in social gatherings when around them.
A good friend who is the VP of the agency that provides the treatment is a recovering addict and I used to golf with him a lot. Even if the tournament offered free drink tickets I would use them for Diet Coke.