My studying-to-be-an-extremely-conservative-christian-pastor father and I have been fairly estranged since I came out rather explosively as an atheist about five years ago.
At the time the man I was dating and I were discussing getting married and my father became something of a nightmare, basically holding hostage not only whether or not he would walk me down the aisle but also whether or not he could even bring himself to come to our wedding, since I was so blatantly against what he held as fundamental beliefs.
Since then, the relationship with that previous boyfriend ended, and I decided that I would walk myself down the aisle if I ever did get married. Recently boyfriend of three years recently proposed and though I have a firm grasp on what I want to happen in regards to aisle walking, I find myself wondering:
How do I include my religious dad in my wedding day without giving him a platform?
I'm afraid if I ask him to read, or allow him to do a speech that he will bring religion into it and I really don't want that at all. I'm also not sure if I'm going to have a father/daughter dance due to our slowly healing relationship.
Differing religious views is an issue that we see a lot, and something that is likely to only get worse in our current geopolitical climate. Even coming together with relatives of different faiths and ideologies is challenging, let alone with someone as close as a father.
My suggestion to you would be to perhaps give him a reading that you've chosen for him. You could find a secular reading that extols some of the virtues of his faith (kindness, family, etc.) without having him choose something with dogma. Giving him the opportunity to read is a kindness and if he declines, at least you extended the offer.
Another option would be to include him in any family-centric unity ceremonies with no speaking role. It could be a candle lighting, a sand ceremony… anything that includes parents and doesn't require anything other than symbolically being there.
Alternately, if you'd like to keep it pretty low-key, you could just give him a shout-out in the program. Mostly just avoid speeches and anything that will allow him a platform that doesn't jive with the feel of your day.
Readers: I toss it to you! Who among you has dealt with differing ideologies or family drama and lived to tell the tale. Help a fellow reader out.