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“Jason” living in your heart and other reasons secular parents need tools, support

June 21, 2011

Over chips and salsa at Santa Rita’s Saturday night, Angelique Lugo revealed to me that her five-year-old son had already dropped the “J bomb” and that she and her husband were trying to decide how to handle it. At first I didn’t know what “J” stood for. Had he said something offensive about Jews? What could it be?

Well, duh, she was talking about Jesus.

Except this is how it went down with her kid: He comes home all upset, asking, “Who is this man Jason who lives in my heart?”


But also a real concern for Lugo and her husband. They’re not doing the religion thing. And in Texas, that means you are in the minority. The boy at school was very insistent to Lugo’s son that Jesus lived in his heart. And there will be more very insistent people who will come along. What’s a secular parent to do?

Lugo told me she expects she will need tools and guidance and a support network. Which is why she’s spearheading a grassroots effort to bring secular parenting guru Dale McGowan to Austin this fall for a Parenting Beyond Belief seminar.

The thing is because this is so grassroots and doesn’t have sponsors and whatnot, Lugo needs to get the word out so people can buy tickets in advance. She needs to meet McGowan’s speaking fee in ticket sales by September. Otherwise, the seminar won’t happen.

I’m planning on writing a column in the Statesman next month. In the meantime, if you’re a non-theist/skeptic/agnostic/atheist/secular/whatever parent and want to learn more, check out  PBB Austin Workshop.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 12:34 pm

    Thanks for an awesome conversation, Eileen. Looking forward to seeing the completed article.

    • Jack Wirtz permalink
      June 23, 2011 2:53 pm

      I am really sorry for you, I cannot imagine living a life without hope,
      but that is what free will is all about.

      It is my sincerest hope that someone should come into your life
      that could make a difference for you. But, why are you so bitter in your own denial of eternity so as to deny your son his right to choose his future?

      Christianity is truly hard to find in America these days as His name
      is continually blasphemed by the plethora of charlatans.

  2. Shaun Swegman permalink
    July 5, 2011 3:37 pm

    I always find it terribly condescending when religious people say they pity those who don’t share their views, and that’s yet another example of why those of a secular philosophy would appreciate a network of supporting, like-minded folks.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I do think it offensive when people like Mr. Wirtz are sanctimonious enough to assert that there is no hope in one’s life without religion, or that we’re missing something, or that someone else can come into my life and change the beliefs I hold just as strongly as I suspect Mr. Wirtz holds his. Those people’s insistence that their beliefs are absolutely truthful (and that everyone else’s are absolutely false), and not faith-based claims speaks of an arrogance whose enormity cannot be calculated.

    Their assumption that non-believers are bitter is a curious one. It probably arises from that same arrogance that leads them to think they’re the only true believers. It’s not that they don’t understand that secular folk often chafe at things like the Christian Right’s attempts to use the government to force the entire population to live by their religious code, it’s that such a thought never enters their minds. They think we have to be bitter to not accept that which gives them such certainty, and that we’d be so much happier if only we’d live their way and believe what they believe. We can’t be upset with their actions, because they’re only trying to make us better, happier people.

    For those of you who think that way, I’ve got a little homework assignment: Move to a theocratic regime, somewhere like Iran will do. Spend a few months there. Your new neighbors will have plenty to tell you about religion. See how much you enjoy it. See what it’s like to have people constantly telling you that your beliefs are wrong, and how it feels when the government imposes someone else’s religious law on you. Then come back and tell the class how you felt about it.

    That’s what it feels like to be secular in Texas.

    Once upon a time, Americans didn’t talk about religion very much. It wasn’t considered an appropriate topic for polite conversation. I’d have liked that America better. It seems like the whole country is becoming Bible Beltish now. I don’t want everyone to give up their religion, or to be secular like me. But is it too much to ask people to keep it to themselves? Because if religious people aren’t polite enough to keep their private matters private, I may have to advocate an end to religion altogether.

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