Childrearing

Atheist Mom From Wolf Blitzer Interview Is My New Hero

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Atheist MomLike most of America I have been horror-struck, watching the news footage of the terrifying events that took place in Moore, Oklahoma.  I’ve seen dozens of interviews in the past few days, but one in particular stuck out yesterday. Wolf Blitzer was interviewing Rebecca Vitsmun, a young mom who narrowly survived by fleeing her home moments before the tornado struck with her 19-month-old son in tow. It was a typical survivor interview right up until Blitzer asked the magic question:

“You’ve gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?”

After an short silence Vitsmun laughed awkwardly and said:

“I — I’m actually an atheist,”

Now, Wolf Blitzer has gotten a bit of flack for asking the question, which I think is unfortunate because he seemed to have good intentions. To his credit, Blitzer was only fazed for a moment before bouncing back and commending her for making the right call. Vitsmun was also nonplussed after that and quickly added, respectfully, that she didn’t blame anyone one for thanking the lord.

As an atheist and a mom, I think what Vitsmun said was pretty damn brave, especially while on national television holding her her baby for the world to see. Too often, when asked, I will demure about my religious leanings, or lack thereof. Partly because it’s no one’s business but partly because I don’t want to have the conversation. To most people, it’s a non-issue, but for a few it’s a serous problem that makes them question my parenting and my morality.

Every once in a while someone will say, “What will your children believe? It’s wrong to not have them believe in something.” Or the ever-popular “What stops you from killing people if you don’t believe in god”? I think the problem is that not enough people are willing to have the conversation so people can get past these misconceptions and truly understand each other. Which is why I think what Rebecca Vitsmun did was so awesome. I will definitely think of her the next time I am put on the spot about my religion. I hope I can be as open (and classy) as she was.

(Photo: Youtube)