Monday, June 1, 2009

Secular Pinky Swear, Starfall ABCs, and Tori Amos

Okay, so today's post is weird and random. My only excuse is that I spent the day remembering that I used to love ballet and dancing ridiculously around my apartment listening to old school music from my high school years. This whole memoirs writing thing has gotten me into an oddly nostalgic frame of mind. I was surprised to realize I'm not as clumsy as I thought I remembered being. That could just be that I'm not surrounded by size OO ballet majors within my apartment. (My son thinks I'm funny looking, but he always thinks that.)

So onto the randomness: Today I'll leave you with a piece of positive secularism, an excellent kid's website for any parent of a yungin and one of the earliest blasphemous songs I ever loved.

Secular Pinky Swear
Tired of your theist friends acting all "morally superior" because they've made an abstinence pledge, or some other vow they're not likely to keep? Want to lord it over them that secularists also have moral principles, and that you're willing to put it in jewelry form? Then take the Secular Pinky Swear and receive your very own gold (colored) pinky ring!

I, ________, strive to live my life according to progressive, secular values, not dogma or superstition. Therefore, because the conservative religious community promotes pledges of abstinenceand religious obedience, I want to demonstrate that I am committed to legitimate and ethical secular principles. I commit to living by my humanist principles so long as those convictions are central to my worldview. I also affirm the following:
  1. I will be open about my secular values and will not feign religious values due to pressure from friends, family, employers and/or the general public.
  2. If I face religious pressure in the future, I will be mindful that as an individual I have a right to believe and act in a way that I deem appropriate. To accept dogma, superstition or creeds that I don't believe in would be to sacrifice freedom of conscience and expression on the altar of conformism.
  3. Without need for religious reference, I will make every effort to take a mature, intelligent approach to decisions regarding my sexuality. I understand the appropriate context for sexual abstinence and appreciate the benefits that communication and maturity bring to intimacy.
  4. If I marry, my wedding ceremony will be either humanist, secular, or a joint ceremony that avoids the implication that I hold to views not actually my own.
  5. If I have children, I will recognize the importance of letting my humanist values inform my childrearing, and won't yield to cultural, family, or other pressures to indoctrinate them into traditional religious beliefs or force them to participate in religious rites of passage.
  6. Without losing sight of the importance of diverse viewpoints, I will encourage others to appreciate the value of reason, compassion, equality, and other enlightened principles that make the world a better and safer place for humanity, now and in the future.
  7. In all of my actions, and without threat of divine retribution, I will strive to respect the dignity of all people.
As a reminder of these aims, and to acknowledge my secular values to those I meet, I will accept a gold pinky ring indicating my participation in this petition.

Starfall: Great Kids Reading Site

Okay, so I'm in love with a couple of kid's websites. Obviously I'm ancient (mid-20s) enough that the internet wasn't in every home when I was a wee one. Since he was 1 Little Man has been a huge fan of the web, including having his own bookmarks list. One of our mutual favorites (entertaining without being annoying!) is Starfall. The ABCs page is great for preschool letter recognition; Learn to Read is great fun to do together (clicking the illustrations makes them move and you can rate the story by smiley faces when you're done); It's Fun to Read has great little biographies on famous composers; and I'm Reading has early reader level stories from Chinese Folk Tales to Greek Myths, Plays, Nonfiction and more. So snuggle up with your little one and your qwerty and get ready to read - no dead tree editions required!

Tori Amos
It's funny to remember feeling guilty for loving a song this good. I'm glad that's over with. Enjoy the music and stop back by tomorrow for a more typical angry anti-theist rant. Too many endorphins for me to get a good rant going today.


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