6 Things about Seventh-Day Adventists

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 9, 2013

Welcome to my new series! At least once a week for the next couple of months, I’ll be bringing you brisk overviews of popular, but widely misunderstood, religious groups operating within the United States. As always, the point here is to give parents just enough information that you can — at some point, when the time is right — pass on a little religious literacy to your kids. Because, seriously guys, your kids won’t get it elsewhere else, and knowledge is our best weapon against so many bad things — including discrimination, intolerance, ignorance and […] Read more – ‘6 Things about Seventh-Day Adventists’.

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Quick! What the Hell is Rosh Hashanah?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 5, 2013

This post originally appeared in September 2011. I’m one of those people who forgets stuff, especially stuff that’s the least bit complicated or unusual. I’m just challenged that way. To retain much of anything, I have to write it down — and, even then, there’s a shelf-life to my knowledge. I think that’s why I take such copious notes and then keep those notes for pretty much my entire life. I still have my diary from when I was 12. And even though nothing remotely complicated or unusual is written there, I can report to you […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Rosh Hashanah?’.

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Kooky Religions 101

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 29, 2013

I remember putting my kid in Kindergarten for the first time and wondering when religion would come up for the first time among her newfound peers. It was possible that she’d be the only child in her class being raised in a decidedly secular household. I wondered if that would make her feel alone or left out. Then I met Courtney. Courtney, a girl in Maxine’s classroom whose name is not really Courtney, was being raised in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She didn’t come to school on Halloween. She didn’t celebrate her birthday. She […] Read more – ‘Kooky Religions 101’.

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Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 26, 2013

Once upon a time, I would have choked on my own vomit at the idea of buying a children’s Bible for my daughter. The way I saw it, the Bible was an indoctrination tool. I no more wanted to crack that book open than I wanted to get her baptized or plan her Bat Mitzvah or teach her to pray toward Mecca five times a day. It was all the same to me. In my mind, only religious people read the Bible. But, times have changed. Today, I don’t equate the Bible to religion; I equate […] Read more – ‘Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?’.

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When ‘Religious Jokes’ Cross a Line

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 22, 2013

On Facebook, you see a lot of religious memes. They are posted (and reposted and reposted) by religious people with genuine reverence. On the Facebook group for secular mothers that I belong to, you see a lot of religious memes, too. Only they’re posted ironically, and for the express purpose of being skewered. The contrast can be refreshing. Now, to be fair, the group is much more about connecting with a like-minded community of women. Most posts seek parental advice or share the latest on someone’s health scare or fertility problems or battle with cancer. But […] Read more – ‘When ‘Religious Jokes’ Cross a Line’.

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Two Items of Business for Secular Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 19, 2013

Okay, people, a couple of items of business on this fine Monday morning. 1. Mixed Marriages: If you happen to be in an “interfaithless” marriage — one partner is religious, the other isn’t — you’ll want to keep an eye out for Dale McGowan’s newest project, a book called “In Faith and In Doubt.” McGowan, who announced the book title on his blog last week, promises to show “how religious believers and nonbelievers can create strong marriages and happy families.” The book is slated for release around July 2014, but McGowan (author of Parenting Beyond Belief: Raising Ethical, […] Read more – ‘Two Items of Business for Secular Parents’.

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Crucifixion Story, As Told By a Freethinking 7-Year-Old

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 15, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, while walking along a gravel road in the French countryside (!!!), my 7-year-old daughter, Maxine, decided to tell her 4-year-old cousin the story of Jesus’ death. It hadn’t been a recent topic of conversation in our house or anything, but we’d just passed by a very old, very Christian cemetery, so that must have been what prompted the storytelling. The narrative was classic Maxine — relatively accurate, deliberately paced, full of distractions and incredibly amusing, with an editorial comment or two thrown in along the way. After the story was […] Read more – ‘Crucifixion Story, As Told By a Freethinking 7-Year-Old’.

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Back In (Non)Action

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 12, 2013

I’m back! And, wow, what a trip. A part of me wishes I could regale you with stories and pictures, but I’m aware that I set off to write a blog about religion and kids — not a travelogue — so I’ll spare you the irrelevant. Begrudgingly. I’m happy to report, though, that there was one relevant story from the trip to share with you. (A really good one, actually!) But that will need to wait until Thursday, when I’m not quite so overwhelmed by the backlog of emails and texts and bills and to-do lists […] Read more – ‘Back In (Non)Action’.

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Turning 40 in ‘The City of Love’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 25, 2013

“My sister is turning 40, and she feels that that’s going to be easier to do in Paris.” That’s how my sister, Jen, explains why a bunch of my family is spending my birthday in Europe this year. We’re leaving today, as luck would have it, flying first to London, then Paris and then down to France’s Burgundy region for a week’s worth of R&R. Here’s the back story: About three years ago, in a cafe, I noticed a middle-aged woman at the table over. She had just returned from Paris and was giving out […] Read more – ‘Turning 40 in ‘The City of Love’’.

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It’s a Fine Line Between Truth and Propaganda

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 22, 2013

Recently, on Hemant Mehta’s FriendlyAthiest blog, I came across a video done by a guy who runs a Facebook page called Religion Hurts Humanity. The video, titled What Religions Have Contributed to the World This Month, is nine minutes full of news clips and headlines detailing all the terrible things done in the name of religion during the last 30 days. The amount of material alone makes the video pretty compelling. Here are some of the featured headlines: Islamic militants kill 30 in Nigeria School attack  Islamic states reject UN’s attempt to protect women: It violates Sharia […] Read more – ‘It’s a Fine Line Between Truth and Propaganda’.

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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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