I dont like using hug/kiss emotions cuz I'm a muslim woman...
The internet gives us a feeling of being one big community and it's easy to forget that there are still cultural and religious issues and taboos to be aware of.
It reminds me of something that happened at work a few months ago. On weekends, we have a Storytime Hour for the kids and once in a while we get in costumes of popular characters. On this particular day, we had the pig from the story "If You Give a Pig a Pancake." The children listened to the story and then at the end, one of the employees came out in the costume and the kids got to get their photos taken with him.
But one mother was overheard gently telling her child "We don't pose with pigs." I'm not sure what her religion is: our community is largely Indian and Saudi Arabian, but there is a bit of everything, really. She wasn't rude or angry, but it was something that none of us even thought about.
I notice a lot of religious taglines to some deviants' comments- mostly Christian or Pagan/Wiccan. I don't know if that means that most Deviants are of those religions or if it means that people of those religions are more likely to point out their beliefs than say, Hindus or Buddhists. (For that matter, I have only ever seen Christian and Pagan/Wiccan bumper stickers... ) Being that most people don't advertise their religion, it can be easy to offend with the most innocuous of gestures (like a hug emote.)
There's no easy or perfect way to avoid cultural blunders in a blended community like this. All we can do is let others know when we're uncomfortable and to apologize for any discomfort we have caused, no matter how innocently done. It's not a matter of right and wrong, or thinking someone's cultural no-no's are ridiculous. It's about treating each other well.
After all, there is one thing that just about every religion teaches: treat other people the way you want to be treated.
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