Re: Objecting to "Traditional Respect"
As others have mentioned, this has been discussed before. For me, the best posting on the subject was from David Edwards (apologies for reposting his words, but they are too good to let them vanish into the ether):
What I have mainly to offer new to this discussion: on the subject of bowing to a portrait of O Sensei (as is traditional in my own dojo, and throughout at least the three biggest associations in this country). Jesus was questioned about whether or not they, the Jews, should pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus asks them to bring him the coin they use to pay, and they bring him a denarius, and he asks whose portrait is on it, whose inscription. They answer "Caesar's". Thus he says to them "So give to God what is God's, and Caesar what is Caesar's"
Thus I say, give to God the respect that is due to him, and give to O Sensei the respect that is due to him. We know perfectly well that bowing in this context is a sign of respect, not worship. And if we do... All-knowing God certainly does, and understands perfectly.