Okay, this might come off as a bit of a rant, but I am hoping that everyone tells me I just encountered a couple of idiots.
Recently, I attended a Christmas party with a friend. They hosts had a blessing before the meal. Okay, their party, it wasn't a government function so there is no church-state issue or anything. If they wanted a prayer it's a private function, so it's their business. The host asked everyone to bow their heads and led a prayer. Of course being an atheist I just sat their quietly while everyone else did the prayer thing.
Later in the evening, a young woman comes up to me and tells me I was rude and disrespectful. I wasn't quite sure what she was talking about. Turns out she noticed I didn't bow my head during the prayer. I told her I was an atheist. That's when she pulled out the you are disrespecting religion card. I told her I thought sitting quietly was respectful as I didn't disrupt or interfere with anyone's prayer. She again insisted bowing your head showed respect. I told her that I can't respect her beliefs by disrespecting own by pretending to pray. She left in a bit of a huff. I didn't hear anything more about it.
So, is not bowing your head when everyone else is praying showing a disrespect for religion? To me, not participating in someone else's prayers is not disrespect, but following my own conscience. If that's the new standard, I need a heads up so I can be sure I am not in the room at the time of the prayer.
So please, just tell me I encountered an idiot and this isn't the social standard now.