A Group for Atheist Parents in Chicago

We talk a lot about how to get minorities involved in our groups — but atheist parents of young children are a minority that often gets ignored.

A lot of local atheist/skeptic meetings take place in bars, but you can’t bring your children there. There may be conferences you want to attend, but you’d have to find a babysitter for the weekend. Even if your children came to a local meeting, they’d be bored during many of the lectures. All I’m saying is that it’s tough for an atheist parent to stay involved in the community. (On the other hand, churches make it *easy* for parents with children to remain active in the faith.)

We just don’t have many “atheist Sunday schools” (though a handful exist). There are some Parenting Beyond Belief groups across the country (and forums for discussion) but they’re not everywhere. The Richard Dawkins Foundation has pledged to support Camp Quest’s day-care services during major conferences, but the details of that haven’t been released yet.

In any case, it would be great for atheist parents to have more opportunities to attend gatherings and discuss relevant issues when it comes to raising children.

That’s what Jennifer Tweeton is trying to do with a group she started called Freethought Families of Chicago:

Freethought Families of Chicago represent a local group of parents and families in the Chicagoland area with secular worldviews, humanist mindsets, and value science-based education. Those who wish to join us can look forward to regular family-friendly (and freethought-friendly) events and meetups around the area. Freethought Families of Chicago is affiliated with and run by the Chicago Freethought Project.

It’s an awesome idea and I hope they can get something strong going in the area.

Not only that — let’s keep this going. If you start a group like this, let me know. I’d be happy to promote it.

(Thanks to Alex for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • MaddieLynn

    We have a Brights Family Meetup in Dallas!

  • MaddieLynn

    We have a Brights Family Meetup in Dallas!

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    It is a great idea!

  • Annie

    I love this idea.  My daughter (12) is the most outspoken atheist in the family.  Even though she has two more years of middle school, I’ve looked at prospective high schools, and none of her options have a secular student group (though one school has an “Christian Athletes” group, so I think they would have to allow a secular club).  I would love to start something like the Freethought families of Chicago here…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    Where is their non-Facebook page?

    We looked at the Sunday Humanist school in Skokie but the commute doesn’t make sense for us. Camp Quest is only once a year. So these groups are badly needed, especially in a city as large as Chicago.

    • Jennifer Tweeton

      Hi Christoper- we do not have a non-Facebook page yet.  Right now, the group is small enough to be manageable via Facebook- there are discussions of getting a Meetup.com account or our own website.  We are a really new group.

  • Anonymous

    That is awesome! Hopefully there will be a lot more by the time I ever decide to have a spawn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1034366850 Erin Jones

    If anyone knows of a group in Madison, WI,  that would be awesome, I would love to start one, but can’t till I am done with school in a year :(

  • Vickiinmyhead

    That is a great idea. I think I heard that the texas free thought convention was having a child care center donated by dawkins. That is great!! I have 5 year old twins and really am not ever able to go to these sort of events because the kids can’t come. I wonder if there is a free thought family group in Alabama? I will need to check into this. :D

  • Anonymous

    I tried to post the link to our group in Raleigh, but the comment isn’t showing up. We have a well established group here in Raleigh that has been around for over four years now. We are on meetup. Search Parenting Beyond Belief in the vicinity of Raleigh and you should find us!

    • Carol M.

      I also tried to post a link to a group that is trying to get off the ground in WA (area: north of Seattle) it is called Witty Humanist Youth and it is on Facebook and Meet Up. You can also find info through Humanists of North Puget Sound. We need them!

  • Anonymous

    I tried to post the link to our group in Raleigh, but the comment isn’t showing up. We have a well established group here in Raleigh that has been around for over four years now. We are on meetup. Search Parenting Beyond Belief in the vicinity of Raleigh and you should find us!

  • BC

    If you’re in the St. Louis area, the Ethical Society of St. Louis has a
    Sunday program for kids: http://www.ethicalstl.org/edu_sundayschool.php

    And if you’re in St. Charles, MO (northwest of St. Louis), Ethical
    Society Mid Rivers has a program as well:
    http://ethicallife.org/raising_children.html

    Mid Rivers seems to be a pretty small group (from the one meeting I’ve
    been to), but there are a few kids from maybe 5 years old up to a couple
    of young teens.  I haven’t been to the St. Louis group at all, but the
    website claims 60 kids in their program.

  • Jennifer Tweeton

    Hi!  Thank you so much for promoting our group!  I need to give credit to Christian J Brooks, who actually founded the group, and promoted it via Everyblock, where I learned about it. 


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