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Alternative to "Christening" and "Godparents"

Activism Discussion archive for 2000.
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Alternative to "Christening" and "Godparents"

Post by Copernic » Mon Dec 25, 2000 6:11 pm

In light of the social, familial, and personal comforts that are brought forth through these traditions, my wife and I are talking about doing something similar for our (now 7 month old) child.

She still has strong tugs to her family's strong Christian background and doesn't want to lose some of the traditions and social ties just because we don't practice.
I, on the other hand, am not beholden to any family traditions in this matter but I do see a great benefit to identifying a guardian who holds similar philosophical beliefs and who will challenge and instruct my child if the grim circumstances of our departing ever call for that. As "god-parents", similarly to the Christian tradition, their role would be to assist in bringing up our child according to certain philosophical tenents.

Likewise, we are interested in performing some sort of ceremony among family and friends celebrating my son's entrance into our world. Something similar to a Christening but more secular in nature.

I am interested to know what other parents in this forum have done or whether this is even an issue to them.

Thanks in advance for your insight.

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Post by Deleted » Thu Dec 28, 2000 11:55 am

Copernic -

I do not know if this helps at all, but in Australia we have legally sanctioned civil celebrants who can perform weddings and funerals and child naming celebrations in lieu of traditional church ceremonies.

The parent(s) can use a pre determined secular format for the celebration or prepare their own text which the celebrant will then follow. The celebration can be held anywhere (often a public park followed by a BBQ and a few drinks, or at home, or in a hired hall or wherever. All the usual suspects are invited along and generally a grand time is had by all.

As far as surrogate parents should a tragedy befall you, I do not know what the situation in the States is, but certainly in Australia, the naming of "god parents" is not legally binding in any way, shape or form so I do not know (again) if this would help, but you could perhaps name your potential guardians as part of your celebration and enter into a separate legal contract with them at a later time.

Of course, Australia generally being far more casual about religion than (my understanding of) the situation you find yourself in, so few eyebrows are raised over this sort of thing.

If you do not have secular celebrants available to you, why not simply prepare your own celebration, invite a friend to "perform" the "service" and generally make a day of it.