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Archive for the ‘Secular Thursday’ Category

Love Makes A Family – The Reason Of The Season: Day 22

For me, the holiday season is a special time with my family. With the cold and the shorter days, the evenings which we spend watching movies, drinking hot cocoa, and laughing brings warmth and light to an otherwise depressing season.

My family isn’t “traditional”. I’m divorced. And my two kiddos have two different biological dads, neither of which is my current husband.

My son’s father passed away a few years ago. But we ensure Gavyn continues to build a close relationship with his bio dad’s family. My ex-husband, David, is the bio dad of my beautiful daughter and the dad that has raised my son since he was 2. My ex-husband and I have always maintained a working parental relationship. We have ALWAYS understood that they are more important than anything else and we have made it work in a remarkable fashion. My ex-husband and current husband get along very well. We are even over to my ex-husband’s parents house for all of the holidays. Every other Christmas, we switch which house we all stay for Christmas Eve/Morning. Yes… David will spend the night at my house and Brian and I at his… because we all want to be there for our annual Christmas traditions, to see the kids faces on Christmas morning… because each moment is so special and we all understand how important it is to be there for it all.

It may seem odd to some. But we don’t care. Showing our kids that we love them so much that we worked through everything personal to get to a level where we can appreciate the other for their parental abilities and acknowledge that, although we aren’t married, we are still a whole family, is better than most of the stories I hear about divorced couples.

Yet, in our way, we are a family. A whole family. Not a broken one. Our kids have 2 homes, yes. But with parents who communicate, laugh, work together, and get along, having two homes just means having more stuff :)

I wish everyone could have family and marriage equality. I’ve asked Santa and I hope he brings it this year. I could never fathom why a 2000 year old book had such grand authority on the concept of modern marriage or why “all loving” actually comes with a lot of “exceptions” attached. Lastly, I grew up in a “traditional family” and it was not what I would call particularly loving. Love has nothing to do with the bible, religion, or antiquated traditions.

Have a heart bigger than god and realize love comes in many forms – not just your brand.

Happy Holidays To Family Love!

***

The Reason Of The Season is a new series that will take place from December 1 – December 25. I, like many non-theists and non-Christians, love the holiday season. I love taking the this chilly time of year to remind the people I love how much I love and adore them, to help and give to those less fortunate, and feel the innocent hope of when I was a child. This series is an effort to educate many on tradition and history as well as an opportunity to share why I love this time of year and the traditions we use and have created in our family.

***

I Want To Marry Him Or Vote For Him… But Instead I Will Thank Him

This video has been making the rounds again on social media – with good reason. Zach Wahls, a 19 year old engineering student raised by a lesbian couple, gives a moving, inspired, and… let’s face it… kickass speech to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa. Although the speech and vote was early February of 2011 – the sentiment still needs to be heard – REALLY heard.

 

My favorite quote – at the end:

The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.

Why we have to vote on basic human rights is beyond me to begin with. I guess equality has limits on the basics – like cable. And if I have to hear another person say, “But the Bible says…” I may actually slap someone. If you want to “throw” an antique book at this, I may have to bring out a few other choice antique atrocities, “Well, the Bible also says…” to include how to properly keep slaves and why women should be quiet.

Sometimes the book is literal (the “good” stuff) and the rest is being “taken out of context” (everything else).

I am proud to be of the same species as this guy… thank you, Zach Wahls, for being a good person of great character. And thanks to your parents who raised you and instilled character far greater than those who believe they have the monopoly on determining  other people’s basic human rights.

** The House voted 62-37 to pass House Joint Resolution 6, but the Senate WILL NOT vote on this issue this year because the Democrats still hold a slim majority in the Senate–1 seat. That means that Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal will not be holding a vote on this issue. Iowa Press has more details. **

 

‘Cause You Gotta Have FaithaFaithaFaith aaah

Stop The Banning

Books are challenged and sometimes banned. It is unfathomable to me that people so fear a difference of opinion that they would censor someone else.

The ALA explains:

Why?

 

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”
Who?

Throughout history, more and different kinds of people and groups of all persuasions than you might first suppose, who, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted—and continue to attempt—to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs.

In his book Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other, Nat Hentoff writes that “the lust to suppress can come from any direction.” He quotes Phil Kerby, a former editor of the Los Angeles Times, as saying, “Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature; sex is a weak second.”

According to the Challenges by Initiator, Institution, Type, and Year, parents challenge materials more often than any other group.

 

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George 
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

 

Top Challenged Classics:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

* The titles not included may have been banned or challenged, but we have not received any reports on them. If you have information about the banning or challenging of these (or any) titles, please contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

A “Gay” Education

Just Admit It…

By Anrol Designs

Dear Scientists

Dear Scientists,
Thanks to you, my home and world is full of ideas, education, technology, and modern medicine. Please keep doing what you are doing so that my family, friends and the world will benefit, learn and evolve. Celebrate with us in my home and with my family and friends with Knowledge, Reasoning and Integrity (and so much more). This entreaty is so dynamic! Feel free to repost. Science continually works to explain the unexplainable.
Yours Truly,
Shannon

In The Beginning… I Created Our Homeschool

I’ve been deep in research, planning, and organizing our homeschool adventure.

It’s confusing, daunting, and exhilarating.

I decided (pretty much on a whim) that our start date is August 29, 2011.

Our first year of homeschooling…

Wait…what?

Can I do this? Will I mess up my kids? What happens if I’m off by 15 minutes in my weekly logged hours? Will the government arrest me? Will my kids ever have friends? Can I teach them everything they need to be prepared for college–and the real world? Will I go crazy? Will my kids resent me? How often will I have to explain that we are good without god? How often will I have to defend our choice to people who think they know my kids better than me? Will my house be messier? Will we go on all the field trips we plan? Can we afford this? Will I continue to lose sleep because I have so much to do? Should I have a baby amidst this chaos? Does freedom come with anxiety?

CAN I DO THIS?

WILL I MESS UP MY KIDS?

Fear. I was taught to fear things unnecessary. But shaking it off or un-teaching myself is challenging.

I understand natural fear to be a good thing. It’s a survival mechanism.

HowStuffWorks.com says: 

If we couldn’t be afraid, we wouldn’t survive for long. We’d be walking into oncoming traffic, stepping off of rooftops and carelessly handling poisonous snakes. We’d be hanging out with people who have tuberculosis. In humans and in allanimals, the purpose of fear is to promote survival. In the course of human evolution, the people who feared the right things survived to pass on their genes. In passing on their genes, the trait of fear and the response to it were selected as beneficial to the race.

But some things I shouldn’t be afraid of – like homeschooling.

There is also fear conditioning.

From Reframe Reality:

From the moment we are born, our ego develops off of our experiences to help give us an identity, to help us define ourselves. Through these reference experiences, we then learn mechanisms of reaction to certain circumstances and scenarios. One example of this is social conditioning — how society brought us up to act, things we learned were considered taboo or bad, etc etc. From birth, we are told repeatedly ways to act or be, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. People, although they mean their best, impose their own conditioning on you because it is all you know. If you are born with introverted parents, scared of society and people, there are large chances that on some level, you will carry this fear as well.

So, I’ve been conditioned to fear many things that aren’t really part of the “fight or flight” response. Not that this is new information.

It permeates many aspects of my life and has come from so many sources I am probably oblivious to most of them

Parents, Teachers, Peers, TV, Non-Secular Homeschoolers, Media, Ads, Church, Friends, Employers, etc.

How can I unlearn the fear about homeschooling?

WebMd says:

Exposure therapy indeed works, as his clinical experience and laboratory experiments have shown. However, he’s found that either multiple exposures in a very short period of time — or exposures spaced quite far apart — will get someone past anxiety disorder, Davis tells WebMD.

My job (to add to ALL the other ones) is to expose, expose, expose!

Just start it – get to it – homeschool away!!

And in time the irrational fear will leave. I don’t expect to never question, be skeptical or stop feeling the need to step back and critically think about what I’m doing and how I can improve our homeschool.

Growth and evolution in our adventure is necessary… fear is not.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m Coming Out

I’m Coming Out… I Want The World to Know


Well…. technically I’m already out, I suppose. Most people know my philosophy and I’ve taken tiny steps in using social media to do so.

But, possibly I need this for me. For a long time I was wishy-washy, too timid, too fearful to make an assertion that would make others uncomfortable – even knowing that is was their lack of knowledge that was the true issue and not my atheism.

So, yes, I’m an atheist. And a secular humanist, a freethinker, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a co-parent, a home-owner, a dog-owner, a blonde, a right-hander, an actor, a writer, and so many more things.

Of course we are all many things.

Do you think because I’m an atheist I eat babies, worship the devil (who, by the way, doesn’t exist), or hate morals?

If you answered yes – then you are wrong and you must educate yourself.

If you answered no – then *ding ding ding* you are right! Your prize – knowing that you are one step closer to tolerance :)

Why come out?

  1.  Lying about it is an emotionally draining and lying is bad.
  2. To find friends who share my interests, values, and beliefs.
  3. To promote tolerance, equality, and help crush the stereotype.
  4. To let others know they are not alone.
  5. Being true to myself is the best role model I can be for my kiddos.

It’s been a long road to this place where I publicly declare what I believe and what I don’t believe, my values, and my opinion. I have educated myself over many years and finally shed the guilt piled on by my indoctrination.

This year we begin homeschooling. An exciting time sure to filled with challenges. I want to show my kiddos that being honest with yourself, educating yourself, and forming your own opinion is so important – as an individual and for the greater good of our species. It starts with me being honest.

Coming out isn’t the end or beginning. It’s a clarification, more for myself, that I have ideas and opinions to share and add to society – to the world.

Just because it isn’t the norm doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

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