Godly Communionists

Before I acknowledged to myself that I was an atheist I accepted the honored role of godmother to my niece, A.  I felt I could surely find some middle ground and emphasize humanistic ethical and moral values that would presumably overlap with the many Catholic teachings I did not share but that she’d be expected to absorb.  By the time A was approaching her 1st communion and its associated celebration, I was much more disapproving of the psychological and intellectual coercion inherent in the religious indoctrination of children, and, too late, I felt I was being coerced in a way too.

The party was an invitation to shower the freshly minted child believer with meaningful religious-themed mementos and fine jewelry.  I chose to give her a book about the universality and cultural permutations of the Golden Rule, a humanistic guideline if ever there was one.  I also gave her a Mary Englebreit plaque featuring the Golden Rule.

Several years later now my nephew, D, has just had his 1st communion.  I was not able to attend the event or his party, but I sent him a card with a picture of a dog with one paw held up.  Inside it read, “High Five!  Congratulations!” and I enclosed a small check.  What’s an aunt to do?  It was a compromise.  I don’t think D should be judged, let alone harshly, for letting himself be trained; he was not allowed a choice in the matter.  So I sent him a secular card with a slightly subversive tone and a token gift.  In a sense, I rolled over.  But he was a Good Boy.

About Ann T. Dogma

Mom, artist, former Christian. I remain fascinated with dissecting and examining the Protestant religious indoctrination I received from birth, despite the fact that it was fairly liberal.
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2 Responses to Godly Communionists

  1. Jay Pea says:

    Good blog!
    Indoctrination is an important staple of any religion. Get ’em early, get ’em for life. I think the celebration/gift giving of communion, baptism, etc is simply a way to make something that is really boring seem fun, but that’s just my opinion.
    The Inverse Golden Rule is a good one, too. “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.” The GR and the IGR should go hand in hand, IMHO.

  2. Happy Skeptic says:

    These family roles often become what we make of them and it greatly depends upon the other parents how well these things will work out in the short term. In the long term, children will eventually draw their own conclusions (as I’m sure you know). At least you fulfilled your duty by giving your niece a well thought out gift to help her personal growth. It will do more for her than a pair of cross ear-rings or crucifix necklace ever could.

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