“That makes the idea of sex so much more sacred.”Different views of gender roles can also complicate a relationship, Summer says.Summer says she disagrees with her boyfriend’s belief that he is responsible for supporting her when she begins law school in the fall and he enters the work force.“I think it’s my financial responsibility,” she says.She says that when she ran for the position of Hillel President last year, some notable people in the community expressed concern over her involvement in an interfaith relationship.“It was not a huge issue,” she said, “but it was something that I had to justify.”Many Harvard Jewish students say that both dating and marrying within the faith are important to them.“I think that dating within the faith..a strong value that many Jews have.To have the president or the moral leader of the community not acting in line with that value is a questionable thing,” Summer said. GOD Some students say that having a partner of a different faith or with a different level of commitment to the faith may interfere with their own relationship with God. Gillis ’08, a Protestant from an Evangelical background, says the importance of shared religious beliefs is emphasized in The New Testament.But the choice to date someone may have unexpected implications—especially if that person does not share your religion, Summer says. Bhaskarabhatla ’09, who is Hindu, says he thinks “a relationship shouldn’t focus on a person’s religious tradition and background but mainly on personal characteristics and compatibility.” His parents would not agree.Faced with these complexities, many students say they will not date members of other religions, and those who say they are willing to do so admit it isn’t always easy. Interfaith dating forces many students to make a difficult choice: conceal their relationship from their parents, or face fighting with them about it, Bhaskarabhatla says.
In deciding who they want to date, most college students say they do not think about marriage or children.
And I think it is very unlikely that we’ll raise our children as atheists,” she says.
‘MISSIONARY DATING’ Despite these complications, some students are willing to pursue interfaith relationships.
Madubata ’06, an Episcopalian.“Christians consider sex to be something more than some pleasurable act.
It’s an actual union between two people becoming one,” Madubata says.