Should my husband keep a voodoo doll?

My husband brought home a voodoo doll from Mardi Gras in New Orleans that he bought from a street vendor about twelve years ago. He considers it a cultural artifact and keeps it in his pencil jar. He used to keep it at work, but now he is working at home. It is bad enough having one at all, but I really don’t like having a voodoo doll in our home.

He is a cradle Catholic and I am a convert. We often disagree on matters like this. For example, he told me to take down a beautifully-framed print of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts because he thinks it looks too much like a shrine and he worries what people visiting our house might think – yet having a voodoo doll is acceptable to him. What should I do about this?

Kept merely as a cultural artifact and souvenir, and not used in religious worship or out of superstition, it is not precisely “wrong” for your husband to have a voodoo doll, particularly if it is kept in his private space on his desk. It would be nice though for him to show respect for your feelings about keeping an artifact that bothers you.

It is also problematic that he wants to keep a cultural artifact that upsets you, but has asked you not to display symbols of your own faith. It shouldn’t matter what visitors to your home think of your decor. If they are so rude as to make disparaging remarks about your home, or so unkind as to think badly of you for honoring your religion in your home, then they shouldn’t be considered friends anyway.

I recommend offering to drop your objections about his “souvenir” (as you might call it, to indicate that you see it as a non-religious object) if he will, in turn, drop his objections to displaying a symbol of your mutual religious faith.

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