I need to remember to make signs for my altars and shrines, telling people to not use that space for their limbs, their cups, their plates, their keys, anything of theirs that does not belong in that space. Last time, people were disrespectful and it pissed me off. I make my sacred spaces, I set them up so there's not a place for other crap. Yet at Wolfman's birthday people moved items out of the way. Or just sat them on top. I actually heard my step mom make the decision of, "No, it's okay, just sit it there." A plate of melted ice cream and cake crumbs on top of Hestia shrine! On top of a beautiful cloth that would've been ruined of that melted chocolate had dripped onto it.
No, you never asked me, it's not okay. That is the Matron of my home, you little shit! Show some respect. Would you do that if instead of Hestia it was a statue or Christ? The Pieta? An Archangel? Or a Manger scene? I'd hope not!
Does this look like a place to sit your stuff on?
NO! Nothing about this space says that it welcomes your stuff--regardless of who the Deity is.
Is this how they treat other's home? It's disrespectful. And it's ignorance. More than likely their disrespect isn't intentional. There aren't a whole lot of places to sit things down that can't be reached by grabby hands. That's height is where my altars and shrines sit because they not are appropriate for my children. Nor are they appropriate for your wet cups, dirty keys, and plates. But I have to remember that many of these people aren't my type of spiritual. They may have religion, but they don't have sacred spaces in their homes like we do. They don't have that concept of sacred space.
We have that concept in our lives. Or at least, I do. When I'm in someone else home, if I see pieces of religious/spiritual art or a small set up that appears remotely spiritual or religious, I don't touch it. I may comment, but I'll never touch it. Even if the owner says that it's okay to use the surface. I won't use it. I have that concept, many people do not. Then again, I'm the type of person, that I won't push someone's items out of the way for my stuff. I won't sit my stuff on top of theirs, unless I ask. To me, everything has it's place. My wet cup doesn't belong there.
This birthday, I'm making big ass "DO NOT TOUCH" signs. With a small explanation and a THANK YOU. Then if they neglect to read the signs, then I'll know their intention, even if it's just laziness. It's open season, not in an awkward, party ruining way, but enough for me to get my point across.