25 Years Ago in Free Inquiry

“Honest conversation with children, telling them that as parents (or teachers) we don’t have all the answers, but that we are willing to check facts and draw logical conclusions, is important. Standing firm on certain issues, such as the necessity for separation of church and state, or evolution as a fact, a disbelief in a literal heaven and hell, or refusal to have faith in any one of the mythical figures whom people call God should give children a firm foundation as secular humanists.”

—Edythe McGovern, “Children Don’t Need Religion,”
Free Inquiry, Volume 14, No. 3 (Summer 1994)

Editor’s Note: Edythe McGovern was a secular humanist activist and a founder of Secular Humanists of Los Angeles, a distant forerunner of today’s Center for Inquiry West. This article appeared as part of a cover feature, “Do Children Need Religion?” For a time, Edythe McGovern led the Secular Parenting Network, a Free Inquiry project to support parents raising children without religion. She wrote several books on children’s literature and on the playwright Neil Simon. She died in 2008.


“Honest conversation with children, telling them that as parents (or teachers) we don’t have all the answers, but that we are willing to check facts and draw logical conclusions, is important. Standing firm on certain issues, such as the necessity for separation of church and state, or evolution as a fact, a disbelief in a …

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