Re: I can't date you because you're not
the right religion. I don't think it matters what religion it is. My children were raised with the concept of the inherent worth and dignity of all. That we are all on this planet together and that religious differences are (or should be) encouraged as one's own spiritual journey as long as one's beliefs don't interfere with someone else's ability to do the same.
My teenage daughter was dating a young man who recently told her he couldn't continue to see her because he had to lie to his parents about his whereabouts whenever they were together. The reason for the lie is because she isn't the right religion. It doesn't matter that she has no discomfort with him practicing his religion. It only matters that she wasn't raised within the proper faith. Not that the kids were overly serious (they're teenagers!), but this young man was prohibited from casually dating a girl outside his religion. She's shocked. I'm not. I had the same experience many years ago with the first Mr B's family. Different religion, same attitude.
Would you date/marry someone of another faith? What about your children -- would you dictate that they only date/marry within your faith?
Welllll, not exactly
When I was dating I did not specify that I wanted to find a Jewish guy and RP did not specify that he wanted a Jewish gal but we ended up together. We don't have kids so that's not the issue. Rather, it's just cultural. We're familiar with each other, happy together and a big chunk of that is due to being somewhat similar or at least having a similar background.
I think that people can find a lot to fight about and a lot to tear up their relationships over so I guess what I'm saying is that having a little control over some similarities, and promoting them, isn't a bad thing. That's not just the case with religion; it's also the case with socioeconomic background, national origin, political affiliation, etc.
Also, beyond culture, Judaism just isn't very big, and it never has been. So there is a push within Judaism for Jews, even very secular ones, to just marry other Jews. Because, let's face it, the group is not getting much bigger and that's a little worrying. 5700 plus years and it all comes down to ... who? To me. To RP. To our siblings and cousins. Not to be rabid fundamentalists or nuts but to be Jews at all.
Even without children, it comes down to us because (a) we are a part of our nephews' lives and a part of their lives as Jews and because (b) we are a part of other people's lives, both Jews and non-Jews. I am the one that everyone asks when they want to know what Rosh Hashanah is. Or what's kosher. RP is the one they wish a Happy Chanukah to. Without us (and not just the two of us, I mean Jews in general), that's lost to the ages. If you ask me why I'm a little militant about it, why I care even though I am basically an agnostic and God knows I find the Bible to be a bunch of funky metaphorical stories and not a history book and certainly not a science book, why I identify with this strongly, even though I've never been to Israel and I think they do a lot of dumb things over there (they do dumb things here, too), it's because, well, it's because I just don't want it all to go the way of Mithraism. I don't want someone to find a yarmulke in a thrift store and wonder what it is, or a menorah and think it's just a funny decoration or that a dreidel is a silly unbalanced top. I haven't been to synagogue in a while but I still identify strongly.
If my marriage ended (for whatever reason, including widowing), I would not spell out that I wanted to find a Jewish mate but whoever I hypothetically chose better accept that part of me, and know it and love it and celebrate it because it's in my DNA and it ain't comin' out.