Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The Downside of Secular Parenting

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

646227_29155629_smAlthough I was raised a devout Catholic — none of this Easter-and-Christmas-only business for us, we were in the front pew every single Sunday — I’ve not been to a religious service in years and, other than Passover Seders with family, I’m not sure my kids ever have.  In general, I firmly believe this is a good thing.  I certainly don’t forbid them from going to church and, if they were interested in going, would definitely facilitate that, but, for the most part, I think they’re much better off spending Sunday mornings in swim lessons than in church.  And yet, as a parent, I recognize that there are some benefits to raising church-going kids that I’m missing.

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Why I’m a Girl Scout

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

I grew up in San Francisco, California and was definitely raised a city boy.  As a child, I could make my way around the Tenderloin at night as surely as Grizzly Adams navigated the Sierras.  I grew up on food from around the world and could use chopsticks as deftly as a country boy could handle a whittlin’ knife.  Buses and streetcars were my horses, alleys my hiking trails, skyscrapers my hills and mountains.  Guns, even the aquatic variety, were verboten (hunting was something done at antique stores or garage sales) and I think the only reason my mother allowed me fishing gear was because there weren’t any fish anywhere near us to be caught, other than at the grocery store; neither one of us would have known what to do if I actually did catch one.  In our family, “roughing it” meant going to “Opera in the Park”.

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Fishes and Lizards and Snakes, Oh My!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Kids like critters.  Even the ones that say they don’t like them or who are scared of them are generally fascinated by them, if they can view them from an appropriate distance.  So, of course, they make for great lessons — lessons the students won’t soon forget.  After a day with non-human guests in the classroom, kids will rush home to breathlessly tell their parents that a lizard’s tail can grow back or that snakes lay eggs like a chicken.  So why would anyone get upset about a lesson featuring geckos and clownfish?

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Texas To Redefine Science In Schools

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

It’s a good idea to regularly review what schools are teaching in their science classes and update the curriculum as new discoveries are made and old theories evolve.  That’s going to happen in Texas but the problem is that they’re not so worried about science down there.  Or, rather, they are worried about science and are doing their best to eliminate it from the public school curriculum.  Creationists on the State Board of Education have been appointing other creationists to the review panels and selecting materials that attempt to make the idea of an intelligent creator (i.e., God) sound all science-y.  Aside from the idiocy and blatant illegality of that, the problem for the rest of us is that, in large part, Texas determines the content of science books for the rest of the nation.

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Talking to Kids about the Rapture

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

If you’re reading this, no doubt you’ve realized that the rapture, predicted by Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network to occur on May 21, 2011, came and went and you were left behind. Chances are, this also means your kids were not taken home to Jesus either and, almost certainly, they’ll notice Monday morning that some of their friends aren’t in class and won’t be ever again. This will likely result in some confusion for your children and, as is so often the case in times of tragedy, they will need your support, guidance, and wisdom to cope with their new situation.

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Sperm Donors and the Goal of Racial Purity

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Being the product of a marriage between a Jewish man and a Catholic woman, I will admit to being rather opposed to the idea that one should never marry outside one’s faith.  If a couple can get past their religious differences, I don’t see a problem with it.  Of course, I’m rather dismissive of religion and its influence anyway, so perhaps it’s not surprising that not everyone agrees with me.  Rabbi Dov Lior, a prestigious Rabbi in Israel and an authority on Jewish law, goes further and says that Jewish parents need to make sure their kids are 100% Jewish too.

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Your Marriage Is All About The Kids

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

According to Andrew Haines, writing in Ethika Politika, the blog of the Center for Morality in Public Life, without children, the whole point of marriage vanishes.  That is, you and your spouse don’t actually love each other; you’re just in it for the good genes.  While this is not a new theory (in fact, it is so old as to have been thoroughly debunked over and over again), Haines’ take on it is a novel one; he seems to be saying that if two people who cannot have children together are allowed to get married, everyone else’s marriage will fall apart.

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A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

At the start of the New Year, it’s traditional for people to make sweeping statements about how they plan to improve themselves or their situation in the coming year.  I could certainly do that — I definitely need to lose weight, I’d like to yell at the kids a little less, I really ought to work more on getting my book published — but that would only benefit me or, at most, my family.  So I thought I’d take a look at the big picture and come up with some resolutions that will help kids all over.

So with that in mind, here is A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2011:

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Religion In Schools, Fingers In Ears

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A Facebook Friend posted just the other day that he was shocked that his daughter’s teacher had given the class a list of the five pillars of Islam as part of a unit on the Middle East.  He felt that not only was this teaching the students about Islam but it was also teaching them how to convert.  He believed this was an inappropriate violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state.  To further complicate matters, the teacher had informed the students that she was a Muslim.  So a call was made to the school principal and a meeting has been scheduled to discuss the matter.

Well, Rhonda Thurman, a member of the Hamilton County Board of Education in Tennessee, has a solution.  If the teacher begins teaching the students about Islam or praying with them, my friend’s daughter and any other offended students can simply “put their fingers in their ears.”  Yep, she actually said that.

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Is Your Child Real?

Friday, October 8th, 2010

When you look at your kids, do you ever wonder whether or not they’re real?  Are they real children or just elaborate fakes, cheap imitations of the real thing, shadows of that which they pretend to be?  That’s the question Cathy Lynn Grossman, writing in USA Today’s Faith and Reason section, posed regarding children conceived via in vitro fertilisation.  Her query was prompted by the news that the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Robert Edwards, the British scientist who pioneered the process in 1977.  “Do you think,” she asks, “a baby conceived in [a] test tube is still a child in the eyes of God?”

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