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Celebrating the major transitions in life is as old as humanity. Even before there was organized religion, people marked key … Continued

Celebrating the major transitions in life is as old as humanity. Even before there was organized religion, people marked key moments in their lives with ceremony and music, with solemn commitments and joyful celebrations.

The birth of a child is one of the most significant of these rites of passage. It is a time for family, friends and community to come together to offer love, support and encouragement. It’s a time for a party.

Rites of passage are also a time for reflection. They are moments when we step back from our daily concerns and look at our lives in a broader context. And when we think about the span of our whole life — the arc of its development through key moments of birth, adulthood, love, parenthood, and death – we try to make sense it of it all. We explore the beliefs and values that give shape and meaning to our lives.

For many people these values – and their underlying existential beliefs – are spiritual. Every religion has ceremonies for welcoming new children.

But there is nothing intrinsically religious about celebrating rites of passage. Atheists like me also have values and aspirations, family and friends. So after my twin daughters Lyra and Sophia were born, my wife Shannon and I decided to create a humanist “Welcome to the World” ceremony for them. We were delighted to hold the ceremony at the Atheist Alliance International annual convention, in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30.

The ceremony focused on our commitment to raise our daughters to be creative, compassionate, critical thinkers. There was no commitment to encourage them to be atheists or humanists: while they will be raised in an openly humanist family, we want them to work out their beliefs and values for themselves. A central purpose of the ceremony was to appoint Mentors. These supporting adults, from outside the family circle, promised to take a special interest in our daughters’ welfare and happiness.

While few religious ceremonies include a passage from Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion”, our ceremony actually had Professor Dawkins taking part! Yet, I think our celebration had much in common with the infant naming ceremonies of the world’s religions.

It wasn’t just the inclusion of music and poetry, family and friends. Our ceremony welcomed our children to the world, and more specifically to the community of believers our family belongs to. It explained the children’s names and expressed our aspirations for their lives. And it appointed supporting adults, who promised to mentor these children as they grow into adulthood.

Above all, the ceremony touched something very deep inside all of us. It celebrated our humanity, as expressed through our love for our children and our desire for community. While expressing these values in our different ways, we should remember that they are shared by both the religious and the nonreligious alike, as members of the same family –the human family.

Matt Cherry is executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies and president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Matt and his wife, Shannon Cherry, contributed a chapter to the 2007 book “Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion.”

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  • Anonymous

    yawwwnnnnnnn………..

  • Ovid

    Congratulations on the health and accomplishments of your family. I believe you are in error, however, when you state that there is nothing intrinsically religious about celebrating rights of passage.You’re parsing words here. The desire for ritual is unavoidable, even for humanists – in fact, the most absurd and wacky rituals are invented by humanists who want to fulfill their need for ritual yet don’t want to ‘cave in’ by using a long-established ritual that has overtly religious roots.You wanted to make a big deal out of having healthy births. That’s great, and an understandable impulse. But to see the lengths we’ll go through to invent new traditions just so we DON’T have to acknowledge overtly the traditions we’re breaking with is just a little laughable. But it’s a nice laugh, like you have when your baby pets the family cat for the first time with just a little more force than the cat would prefer. And the cat puts up with it, which is strange because he’d never take that from a grownup.Here in Hawaii we have what’s called a ‘first year luau.’ It’s one of the biggest parties any family will ever throw – and it has its roots in the fact that many babies never made it through one year in ancient Hawaii. Whatever religious connotations were ever a part of the tradition have long faded away. It’s a pure celebration that you have family and plan to keep it. Mainlanders don’t have this tradition, so they’re faced with either embracing old European religious rituals or inventing overly self-aware ones themselves. And let’s face it – your party was as much about NOT being religious as it was about celebrating your family. And there may come a day when just celebrating your family is enough. I look forward to days like that.In the meantime, your readers play the role of the cat who just got whacked upside the head by a spiritual infant. No harm done. Because, after all, who doesn’t love kids?Aloha,

  • D.Sarkar

    My dear Mr. Matt Cherry, this a nine article.My personal position here that, I do not carry [or care of] any kind of misgiving against Atheism. however on intellectual stand point- Practicing Atheism is totally west of time. Logic states that Nature can not tolerate VACUUM, specially spiritual vacuum. General Maxim- Empty and idle mind is the Devil’s Workshop. So a deliberate creation of virtual EMPTY house[ devoid of religious thoughts] in mental domain, and keep it that way is an up hill task, because same time various knotty and unwanted thoughts and fallacious doctrines will definitely intrude in that Virtual empty house. These unwanted thoughts are may be- Doctrine of communism, Neo- Naziism, nihilism, or be worst- the Neo-Talibanism?? Or one may end up in to a antisocial, and destructive Entity.

  • Brian Westley

    D. Sarkar, your argument is irrefutable. To be refutable, it would have to make sense first.

  • lepidopteryx

    Ovid,Why must the celebration of a healthy birth (or any other watershed event in a person’s life) be intrinsically religious? Parents can certainly be happy about the healthy birth of their children and wish to formally celebrate it with family and friends, without ascribing said healthy birth to the benevolence of any deity.

  • Brent Rasmussen

    Many congratulations, Matt! And welcome welcome to Lyra and Sophia!

  • Alan Henness

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughters and best wishes to you and your family.Unfortunately, some of the previous comments show only too clearly why we need organisations like yours, the Institute for Humanist Studies.Keep up the good work.Alan

  • CBL

    Matt, congrats. My wife and I have done similar celebrations for our sons. D. Sarkar, what are you talking about? Brian is right, your argument can’t be addressed because it dosen’t qualify as rational thought.Ovid, I felt your response was smug and patronizing. I cannot know if you meant for it to be. But it felt like you’re laughing at folks who find solace by carrying on useful parts of old traditions that don’t conflict with their new world view. Cultures have been evolving their traditions this way for as long as there have been humans.

  • Tom

    Wow, some unbelievable strange posts here…Matt, this was a beautiful thing to do for your children. You are setting an example I hope more will follow.

  • Tom

    Congratulations, and yes, there are some bizzare people on the internet.

  • Stefan Monsaureus

    That such a humanistic life cycle ritual is getting attention in a prominent newspaper is wonderful news, as there seems to be a nagging suspicion among the general public that atheists and humanists are somehow bereft of all sense of humanity. Certainly there are many atheists who shy away from such rituals, thinking they smack too much of religion, but building community and connections between families (such as in the very conduct of the ceremony, and in the appointment of “mentors,” which are presumably a more nontheistically correct version of “godparents”).Although the tone and content of this column is entirely commendable, I want to raise one semantic objection. Matt Cherry is, among other things, the Executive Director of the Institute for Humanist Studies, has long been associated with organized humanism, and is truly an ambassador for humanist ideals. Yet, given this sturdy soapbox from which to expound on the merits of humanism, he carelessly reinforces the idea that atheism and humanism are somehow synonymous. He uses phrases like “atheists like me,” “created a humanist Welcome to the World Ceremony,” “no commitment to encourage them to be atheists or humanists,” and “raised in an openly humanist family.” In addition, he notes that this ceremony was conducted in conjunction with the annual conference of the Atheist Alliance International. Taken together, it would be difficult for the typical reader to draw any clear distinction between atheism and humanism. He also mentions that this ceremony welcomed his daughters into “the community of believers our family belongs to” which seems a strange obeisance to the faith-based community and at odds with the evidence over faith mantra of the humanist crowd (note: I understand that we all have beliefs of one form or another, and that beliefs may be founded on evidence – but in this context, that subtle distinction is not readily apparent).None of this is meant to fuel the flames of discord between atheists and that sub-set of atheists preferring to be known as humanists, and I’m of the camp that positive attention for any nontheist / atheist / bright / secularist is good for all. But for those intent on promoting humanism as a distinct worldview that is more than the rejection of theistic belief, this is a reminder of the difficulties to be encountered, and of the need to be fastidious in the choice of the words we use to frame such discussions.In any event, though, thank you, Matt, for writing so beautifully about this very human event. And welcome to the world, Lyra and Sophia.

  • Michael Eure

    Matt, I think you would be better off taking the Chinese approach in these times. They cry when babies are born and they celebrate when people die, knowing that they are in another dimension untouched by what you call “humanists”.

  • Anonymous

    This is absolutely nothing new. I did it 35 years ago for my daughter. It looks like you wanted to get press.

  • Anonymous

    This is absolutely nothing new. I did it 35 years ago for my daughter. It looks like you wanted to get press. I have never submitted a comment before.

  • Robert Herrick

    I second Brent’s feelings on this. Many congratulations, Matt! And welcome welcome to Lyra and Sophia!Best wishes.

  • Chris

    Matt…shameless name-dropping, but I loved it. Congratulations and I’m jealous that you had Richard Dawkins at your ceremony.

  • Hedda

    Congrats! As a fellow atheist I think celebrations like these are truly wonderful and I look forward to having similar rituals in my own family.

  • John Meunier

    I’m not clear how this column is part of “A Conversation About Religion.”My family has lots of rituals we follow when the Indiana Hoosiers are playing basketball. We even have friends over and make a party of it.Writing about that would not be part of a conversation about religion either.

  • LLQ

    Well Matt, isn’t this cute! A pretend baptism! It reminds me of a child’s tea party, with plastics cups full of nothing but air.

  • Ari Abrams

    Of Course.Atheists, as this prate proves, have nothing to do with not-believing-in-God. If they did not believe in God they would just turn to their marvelously meaningful lives and forget about all the custom and ceremony blather they so disparage. But no. No. They desperately want a religion just like everybody else.That’s why they have, as Cherry brags, “Ceremonies” and “Rites” and even “Passages” of word.Atheists are really just creating another religion, as silly as theirs might be. Watch for the new Atheist non-Prayer book, coming to a “religion” website near you soon!

  • Ryan

    “Even before there was organized religion, people marked key moments in their lives with ceremony and music, with solemn commitments and joyful celebrations”. Really? This is one of those things that people like to say but have absolutely no proof for.It might be reasonable to assume that (or not), but there’s no evidence for that. As long as written history has been around, “organized religion” (a term I despise due to its lack of clear meaning) has existed. Moreover, for as long as written history has been around, such ceremonies and rites of passage have also existed.So, how do you demonstrate that rites of passage and ceremonies came before organized religion?

  • Dennis

    Congrats to Lyra and Sophia! Best wishes for many happy years ahead.

  • Lucy

    Thanks to Atheists people are now free to create and celebrate milestones of existence without invoking supernatural myth and characters. What a wonderful thing it is for a child to be named after Lyra Belaqua. Sophie is beautiful too, a child of wisdom.

  • Eric

    I’d submit that there are many theists who let their children be born without any elaborate “celebrations” or “rites” as this author was oddly inclined to hold.

  • EP Thorn

    Can someone please add a filter that adds phrases like “Ya Ya” to the WP banned word list?

  • Anonymous

    Its a strawman that non believers like to throw out that they too can raise good moral humans and that it does not solely belong to the religious. Well duh. Most of the world is non religious! Meaningless article. A circle jerk for non believers.

  • E favorite

    Ari Abrams: If [atheists] did not believe in God they would just turn to their marvelously meaningful lives and forget about all the custom and ceremony blather they so disparage. But no. No. They desperately want a religion just like everybody else.”Matt – it was an honor to be present at your daughters’ naming ceremony. It was beautifully and thoughtfully done, with readings, and songs from other children – and it was all about your hopes for your little girls and nothing at all about begging a supernatural being to spare them from harm. How refreshing.

  • coprigirl

    Whew. A simple ceremony about welcoming 2 little twins into the world raises some pretty vituperous posts. You religious folks do NOT have a corner on ceremony. Atheism means not believing in god. Humanists believe in humanity.

  • Eric Payne

    Whoop-de-doo.

  • arrabbiato

    Double Yaaaaaaaaaawn-And this is important enough to put on the Washingon Post website BECAUSE?????????????To celebrate Matt Cherry and his wife’s self-importance maybe? To show what nice ambitious whitebread couples can come up with to show how clever they are by declaring themselves atheists, and having birthing ceremonies for their children that don’t require christening in a church?Yaaaaaaaaawn-save it. You make me puke already with your whitebread issuese-very very very American to do something like this, to show off with your alleged originality, and expect to be lauded for it!

  • Denise Smith

    Many Unitarian Universalist congregations regularly practice this very thing. As a ceremony, we distinguish this from more traditional “sacraments”. Members in UU churches are not bound by beliefs, and atheist families have had “Dedications” for their children standing right next to families who identify themselves as Christian, Jewish, Pagan and as nothing at all. The world needs more of this–we can give purpose and meaning to life without orthodoxy. We can come together simply for the sake of coming together and we can find enough meaning in that.

  • arrabbiato

    And Matt, it’s a good damn thing you’re in the US; I HATE to think what the Brits would do to you, if you tried putting some crap like this on a major news blog-they would DECIMATE you! However, since all the little whitebread Post reporters and editors must think your post is so neat and clever-(since they so identify with your molly-coddled whitebread world) I’m sure such nonsense will continue to invade the Post’s reporting-I say for the ten thousandth time-this is not the Post of 20 years ago! It is but a pale, whitebread, picket-fence, clueless kind of imitation of same!(and whitebread is a state of mind, not a color, btw)

  • Tara

    The comments on this piece demonstrate precisely why the subject is so relevant. Congratulations, Matt, on the new beings in your family. I wholeheartedly applaud the work you do to educate people on what it means to be a humanist and a rationalist. Unfortunately, an inch of understanding comes only after miles of effort. Don’t give up.

  • arrabbiato

    Anonymous: Its a strawman that non believers like to throw out that they too can raise good moral humans and that it does not solely belong to the religious. Well duh. Most of the world is non religious! Meaningless article. A circle jerk for non believers.BRILLIANT, Anon! Thanks for that-particularly that last sentence-COULD NOT have stated it better-ha! ha! ha!

  • arrabbiato

    Its a strawman that non believers like to throw out that they too can raise good moral humans and that it does not solely belong to the religious. Well duh. Most of the world is non religious! Meaningless article. A circle jerk for non believers.BRILLIANT, Anon! Thanks for that-particularly that last sentence-COULD NOT have stated it better-ha! ha! ha!

  • Anonymous

    SOUNDS LIKE BAPTISM TO ME

  • arrabbiato

    Posted on October 7, 2007 21:07 Maybemaybenot: HUH???? I think I can speak for Anon. AND myself, to say that nobody was really TRYING to sound religious, May, sort of the point, if you can comprehend!!As to Cherry and wife-get over that asinine smugness, of yours, will ‘ya? Again, you’re making me upchuck about how clever you think you are by being the first to come up with such a clever and unique celebration-you both sound very immature-but I’m sure you have the whole world figured out….hope nothing bad comes along to shake you out of that fantasy world you’re living in!

  • arrabbiato

    Posted on October 7, 2007 21:07 Maybemaybenot: HUH???? I think I can speak for Anon. AND myself, to say that nobody was really TRYING to sound religious, May, sort of the point, if you can comprehend!!As to Cherry and wife-get over that asinine smugness, of yours, will ‘ya? Again, you’re making me upchuck about how clever you think you are by being the first to come up with such a clever and unique celebration-you both sound very immature-but I’m sure you have the whole world figured out….hope nothing bad comes along to shake you out of that fantasy world you’re living in! Life has a way of doing that, you know! It helps if you haven’t intentionally put yourself up on such a high perch that you suffer a really nasty fall on the way down!

  • arrabbiato

    Posted on October 7, 2007 21:07 Maybemaybenot: HUH???? I think I can speak for Anon. AND myself, to say that nobody was really TRYING to sound religious, May, sort of the point, if you can comprehend!!As to Cherry and wife-get over that asinine smugness, of yours, will ‘ya? Again, you’re making me upchuck about how clever you think you are by being the first to come up with such a clever and unique celebration-you both sound very immature-but I’m sure you have the whole world figured out….hope nothing bad comes along to shake you out of that fantasy world you’re living in! Life has a way of doing that, you know! It helps if you haven’t intentionally put yourself up on such a high perch that you suffer a really nasty fall on the way down!

  • Mike

    It’s amazing how much space athiests get in the “On Faith” blog. Athiests represent a small percentage of the population, yet half of the articles on this blog seem to be written by athiests.Of course, we all want to hear athiests views as part of the overall discussion, but the choice of the Post to give such outsized prominence to athiests’s opinions demonstrates the Post’s bias against organized religion. Kind of how PostGlobal is filled with primarilty anti-American points of view.

  • janye

    Congratulations on the birth of your twin daughters.May God bless them.

  • E favorite

    maybemabynot: It wasn’t an “Atheist rite” – it was a “humanist “Welcome to the World” ceremony” as Matt Cherry said in his essay. As another poster said, Unitarians do this kind of thing all the time. It’s nothing new and wasn’t presented as such. Apparently the idea of a non-religious ceremony is new to a lot of people tuning in here, however. The best funeral service I ever went to was at a Unitarian church – they talked all about the deceased life – not about where they hoped he was going to spend eternity.Mike, you say, “It’s amazing how much space athiests get in the “On Faith” blog.” If you go to some of the discussions you’ll see there are many more responses to essays written by atheists than by believers. Of course all responses are voluntary, so maybe it just means atheism is a hot topic right now.

  • arrabbiato

    “It’s nothing new and wasn’t presented as such.”Oh really??? You could have fooled me! Why the point of the article then, if not to show off the smug and oh-so-original Cherrys and their “humanist celebration” huh? Hey world! Look at us! We’re Americans, and so, we want you to validate how great we are by ooohing and aaahing our cleveness by having, essentially a christening without a church, or a baby party-whatever the hell you want to call it! Oh, this is making me want to upchuck again-I swear people like the Cherrys who think they are GOD’S GIFT TO THE WORLD -I just want to smack them in the face to just give them a tiny reality check, for their utter immaturity and know-nothingness!

  • Anonymous

    Good n Nacht Ya Ya!

  • caesar

    To /Lyra & Sophia ,As self appointed,Godfather. Be not too harsh in judgement upon adults,even more so your parents.Be they christian,atheist, humanist,as ant worshipers,as republicans,they but continue evaporating brain cells at an ever increasing rate.It but a matter of time before they all revert to once again swinging through the trees,living on a diet of bamboo shoots as bannanas.Lyra..Sophia.Creation of the universe be but to sustain the human form,that the human form,via heart as brain,imparting,understanding as experience,of the very essence, of creation. If parents read this short letter,they may then well ask, that you explain,its meaning to them. Lots Of Love…as kisses.. xxx xx x X

  • Rev. KLJ

    There is no such thing as a non-religious, or even an areligious, person. We all have religion of some sort defining our lives. Because a religion is simply a group of people that share a relatively common set of moral beliefs. The Cherrys obviously share their morality with other athiests, or it’s humanist subset. Thus, their religion, however shallow and self-elevating (as in “making themselves God”) it might be, is atheism.

  • MissV

    A birthday party makes the front page of the Washington Post, while the rest of us who try to get newsworthy information published get pushed aside. No wonder Jayson Blair made stories up.

  • Tom B

    I’m a humanist and an atheist and though many folks, both humanist and religious, seem intent on ‘ceremonies’, I don’t see the point. (Maybe I remember being dragged off to Mass every Sunday, an exercise in boredom only rivaled by some of my high school classes!) More seriously I suspect that some people think that events are sufficient unto themselves, and others of us don’t see the point of going through ‘special actions’. Those of us who forget our own birthdays (as well as those of others) understand that these ‘magical days’ seem to have some great emotional significance to others (woe to he who forgets his anniversary, for his wife will castigate him sorely!) It’s just a difference in outlook on the world, I think.

  • Anonymous

    B O R I N G !

  • Dponiatowski

    Matt, first off, you sound like a female, I don’t think this is your real name. Twins? Sounds like you did IVF, but did you know the Pope doesn’t approve of IVF because love is only for christians? Why do you feel like you have to wine to and justify yourself to bible-thumpers for justification? And who calls themselves “athiests” anymore? Again, I think you’re a liar, just another catholic trying to pose as an “athiest” because you can’t find anyone to write for this silly section of the post. If you really want to change the beliefs in god people just cut them off in traffic and take every opportunity you get to expose how ridiculous it is to have an imaginary friend named god like I do. It depresses them for days until all their friends and church members can re-boot their programming. -Arrabiato, you’re why people hate christians (lemme guess, 35 year old white male catholic from the northeast who watches way too much O`Really) You’re ego is a thin veneer you tool.

  • E favorite

    Dponiatowski: If you had taken 30 seconds to google Matt Cherry you would have found that he is the Executive Director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Also, please consider that he doesn’t want to depress people by exposing how ridiculous their religious beliefs are, but instead chooses to demonstrate how to celebrate humanism.TOM B – You’re right – some people, religious or otherwise, are not into rituals. These are the people who try to avoid ritual-laden events like graduations, awards banquets, Catholic masses, parades, inaugurations, induction ceremonies, housewarmings, half-time shows etc. Some of these same people don’t mind certain rituals (and don’t even think of them as rituals) and others only mind religious rituals. Interesting.

  • Caitlin

    Thank you, Matt, for sharing your experience and the ceremony you and your wife held for your daughters. As a young athiest with a very Catholic family, I’ve often pondered how to incorporate the rite-of-passage celebrations I enjoyed with my family as child into the lives of my future children, without the religious components.

  • henry

    on a spiritual level, it’s a beautifull sentiment, in worldly terms, they have been born to what some would consider heaven and to others hell.

  • AMviennaVA

    I am a mere human, so please clarify ‘humanist’ in the context that you wrote in this article as opposed to other activities (including religious).The use of the terms strikes as similar to the claim by right-wing fanatics that they are the ‘values’ voters, implying that the rest of us are either mindless lemmings or amoral creatures that are best suppressed.

  • Rita Rousseau

    Matt:Congratulations on your lovely twins and your supportive community.I would say that your definition of a “non-religious naming ceremony” depends on what you mean by “religion.” You had a ritual, you shared it with what could be called your “faith community,” you made promises for the future, you named godparents (mentors). If “religion” is our system for making sense of ultimate values and living in a community with those who share and attempt to uphold those values, your atheism is a “religion.” The judgmental father-god religion that public atheists deny is so–Western. There are many kinds of religion in the world, not all of them deist, and many philosophical systems that bear some of the trappings of religion, including rituals. (For instance, Soviet Communism. In the old Soviet Union, couples married in “wedding palaces” built exclusively for that purpose; afterwards, the couple would go to a nearby war memorial, where the bride would lay her wreath.)Our Unitarian Universalist ceremonies for our two children sound similar to your “atheist humanist” ceremony. These naming ceremonies were very, very meaningful to us. (I did get a little queasy over the sprinkling-the-kid-with-water part that was included the second time, but I decided that it was harmless and in fact might convince my Mexican Catholic in-laws that their grandchild had been sort-of “baptized” and might thereby avoid going to hell. Might as well provide what accommodation I can.) The other point I’d like to make is that, contrary to what you and others aver, it’s been my experience that the desire for ritual is NOT universal. Some people I know just don’t see the point of graduations, weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals or any other rite of passage, and try to avoid participating in them if at all possible. I would imagine that public atheists are well represented among these ritual-phobes.

  • coprogirl

    So much anger against atheists! Methinks religious folks doth protest too much.Ovid:”the most absurd and wacky rituals are invented by humanists who want to fulfill their need for ritual yet don’t want to ‘cave in’ by using a long-established ritual that has overtly religious roots.”Can you back up this statement?IMO, this article appears in “On Faith” because faith for an atheist is in our fellow humans, not in a magical god.

  • neontetra

    Some of these posts are truly bizarre. I find it fascinating how *some* religious zealots love to judge and feel superior to a) people of other religions, and b) even more so, atheists. (Note some of these posts.) Of course it does work the other way around where *some* atheists act superior to people that adhere to “organized religion,” which they probably see as irrational and perhaps even foolish.I think both sides simply feel threatened by the idea that others could be so “certain” of a view that is contrary to their own. They therefore resort to pathetic name-calling and chastising that essentially gets you nowhere. Perhaps some people sensed a note of superiority in this article, but I took it differently. I saw it as someone who wanted to share his approach to finding meaning in the events of his life (and his family’s) in a way that was somewhat reminiscent of religious rites but without the authority of a deity or scripture leading the way. Not groundbreaking- as others have pointed out UUs and other humanist or interfaith groups have done it before. But I didn’t find it boring. On the contrary it seems like this guy Matt Cherry has come up with a topic that generated a surprising amount of controversy given the fact that he was writing about something he did out of love and future hopes for his new twins.

  • BSH

    “we want them to work out their beliefs and values for themselves.”This is the comment of a person destined to be a bad parent. Transmitting beliefs and values is an inherent responsibility of parenting, and the way a civil society maintains itself over the passing of generations. Parents who fail to teach values to their children are the parents of children likely to become a burden to society. These parents contribute to the decline and decay of civil society by producing children more likely to have no moral compass, whose highest value is themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sick of the sanctimonious BS that comes from the self-righteous “Humanist” crowd.

  • zxevil160

    9Eu1LN U cool ))

  • Anonymous

    Matt: Congratulations on having a celebration that feels meaningful to you. In my opinion, that’s all that matters. (I know this is old news, but I hope you don’t mind.)To those of you who say that you never made a big fuss about your similar ceremonies: I’m glad you had them, and I respect that you kept them private for many reasons, but I think it would have been just fine if you contacted the press for yours, just as Matt did for his. Based on these comments, it seems like a lot of people don’t like the idea of such a ceremony, or find it surprising or shocking in some way. That makes me think that despite the fact that it’s been done for the birth of many children before, people in our society still aren’t used to the idea. I think people need to get used to the idea that these things happen, so that in the future, people don’t freak out about it so much. Because of that, I’m glad it made the press.