Are Mormons Christian? Here’s the Simple Answer

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 6, 2014

This weekend I was sitting in the living room with my daughter, listening to music on my iSomething-or-Other, when a song from the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon came on. The song was “Hello,” the musical’s perfectly executed opening number (and the one featured at the 2012 Tony Awards, below.) Maxine was fascinated by the song. She loved all the doorbell-ringing, and the goofy voices, and the part when Elder Grant asks, “Are these your kids?” She must have replayed the song four or five times before moving on to something else. But, all the while, […] Read more – ‘Are Mormons Christian? Here’s the Simple Answer’.


4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Heading into a Confrontation

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 30, 2013

Confrontation: (n.) a face-to-face meeting; the clashing of forces or ideas; a situation in which people fight, oppose,or challenge each other in an angry way. Like most people, I have sort of a love-hate relationship with confrontation. I’m drawn to it and repelled by it in almost equal measure. On the one hand, confrontation is a necessary byproduct of honesty, integrity and self-worth. To be capable and willing to confront that which we find offensive, unacceptable or harmful is the mark of a strong character, is it not? Those who shrink from confrontation may well […] Read more – ‘4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Heading into a Confrontation’.

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Dynasty defenders: Religion no excuse for bigotry

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 23, 2013

Last Christmas, it seemed like everyone in my family and my husband’s family was talking about Duck Dynasty. We are all from the Midwest, which may be why the hunting, back-woods feel of the show held a certain charm. And there really were some funny parts. It seemed like mere mention of the show incited laughter from one corner or another. This Christmas, the families are still talking about Duck Dynasty. But this time no one is laughing. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last week, here’s a brief recap: Phil Robertson, […] Read more – ‘Dynasty defenders: Religion no excuse for bigotry’.


A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed British philosopher and author Julian Baggini, who wrote a fantastic book for kids called Really, Really, Big Questions about God, Faith and Religion (2011, Kingfisher). While I found it at my public library, it’s not one you’re likely to run across in major book stores. While very well-received in Britain, the book has flown largely under the radar here in the U.S. And that’s too bad for us — because it’s a great starting point for kids ready to explore religious issues. Each section of the book seeks to answer […] Read more – ‘A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should’.


What’s the Real Nativity Story? Kid, You Don’t Want to Know

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 9, 2013

Last week, my daughter was looking at a copy of The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids, author Brendan Powell Smith’s LEGO depiction of the Christian nativity (which I’ll be giving away as part of a promotion next Monday). The book is fun and funny, and I figured she’d love it. But, when she got to page 11, she slammed it shut. “I don’t like this book,” she announced. “You don’t like the story?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I like the story.” “You don’t like LEGOs?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I like LEGOs.” “Then why don’t […] Read more – ‘What’s the Real Nativity Story? Kid, You Don’t Want to Know’.


Last Big Giveaway!

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 2, 2013

You’re so over the holiday giveaways. I get it. I’m sorry. While fun for some, these things become tiresome very fast; and for those of you who have grown the most tired, your respite is coming soon, I promise. But first… one last giveaway! Featuring a canvas Heroes of Science tote bag, four books (The Christmas Story by Brendan Powell Smith, The ‘God’ Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God by Matthew Alper, Bang! How we Came to Be by Michael Rubino, the DK Children’s Illustrated Bible) and an adorable magnet featuring Charles Darwin, […] Read more – ‘Last Big Giveaway!’.


The Secularization of Christmas Isn’t Just Okay — It’s Great

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 2, 2013

Start your engines, folks, the War on Christmas is here again! This time it’s Sarah Palin leading the charge with her new book: Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. Released a couple of weeks ago, the book is apparently — brace yourself, this is shocking — really, really awful. The Daily Beast’s Candida Moss actually read the damn thing (bless her heart) and came away with a whole lot of nothing. “Ultimately,” Moss wrote in her review, “this is a Christmas of no-bake cookies, half-baked theology, and pre-packaged Christmas stories.” By way […] Read more – ‘The Secularization of Christmas Isn’t Just Okay — It’s Great’.


What Should Kids Know about Religion? #Giveaway

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 25, 2013

If you’re reading this blog, it’s very likely that you 1) are a secular parent, and 2) want your kid to know something about matters of faith and religion. And that, as you know, makes you a superior human being. Because you know that only through religious literacy can we satisfy our kids’ natural curiosity, protect them from confusion and ignorance; ensure that they are given a context for religious beliefs; and instill in them a true sense of tolerance for other belief systems. But I’m curious: What exactly do you think kids need know […] Read more – ‘What Should Kids Know about Religion? #Giveaway’.


‘Relax, It’s Just God’ Holiday Giveaway #1

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 18, 2013

Here’s a chance to win a very freaking cool canvas tote (as featured in last week’s 15 Holiday Gifts for Secular Parents) and a hard-to-come-by (i.e.  sold out on Amazon) copy of Brendan Powell Smith‘s “The Christmas Story” — a completely accurate portrayal of Jesus’ birth story, as told in the New Testament, done entirely out of LEGOs. It’s only through open, honest and frequent conversations with kids about the Big Questions — and a compassionate approach to the beliefs (and non-beliefs) of others — that we can hope to end the pattern of hate, fear, ridicule […] Read more – ‘‘Relax, It’s Just God’ Holiday Giveaway #1’.


15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Secular Families

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 11, 2013

Generally speaking, gift ideas geared toward us non-religious types tend to fall into three basic categories: Snarky T-Shirts & Bumper Stickers, Comedic TV Shows and Movies and Books Espousing Atheism. There is some variation in there, of course. Sometimes books espouse freethinking. Sometimes the movies are more satirical in nature. Sometimes snarky comments come on wearable pins. (Like this one!) That said, this list is a bit different. These particular gifts are not meant to arm nonbelievers with ways to out-logic religious people, or to advertise non-belief, or to reinforce feelings of superiority. They’re just simple items likely to appeal […] Read more – ‘15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Secular Families’.


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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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