This is a guest post by Catherine Dunphy. Dunphy is the Executive Director of the Clergy Project.
I’ve thought quite a bit over the past two years about the concept of shunning in religious families. It’s been in the back of my mind for a long time, a consequence that I knew I’d eventually have to face when my mother discovered the Clergy Project. I knew that the stakes would be high and that my mother’s religious beliefs would ultimately be an obstacle to our relationship.
On many occasions over the past decade, I have spoken briefly with her about my lack of faith. Though I never lied to her, I admit that I attempted to downplay my atheist activism. My efforts were to ensure transparency, but also to limit the details and frequency of these conversations so that we could carve out space where our relationship could thrive. It was, I had thought, a happy but uncomfortable truce.
Unfortunately, this strategy came crashing down a few short weeks ago, just before my birthday.