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I dont even have a creative title for this one, yet I feel compelled to blog about it. You see, I have a weird relationship with Easter… in that I’m not a fan at all. Despite my own feelings about the holiday, as The Rock Father™, I have to make it fun for my daughter (and, starting next year – daughters) as a ‘Springtime Celebration’ devoid of any religious implications. Judging by the vast array of Easter decor and fun that’s readily available at just about any retailer, I have to believe that a huge portion of the population feels the same way, yet I never hear anyone actually talking about it.

jesusreturnsThough I’m not particularly fond of having to be labeled, I’m what most of you would consider an Atheist. While it goes much further than simple finger-pointing in my direction with a scoff of “He doesn’t believe,” for the purpose of this entry, we’ll just simplify by saying that in my world, “Jesus Christ” and his adventures are a work of fiction, therefore I will not be forcing my children into a lifetime of religious following.

Having been raised “Christian,” my personal “testimony” is that the experience was incredibly damaging, and one that I would not wish upon anyone – particularly my own offspring. This was in no way my parents’ fault, but my wife and I long ago made a decision that we would raise our little ones religion-free, and when they’re old enough to make informed decisions on their own, only then would they be allowed to explore the religions of the world if they so desire. I find religion to be fascinating, but utterly fictional – this coming after my personal upbringing, and later studies of “World Religions” as an adult. That said, Easter is awkward.

I always feel uncomfortable on Easter, and in the period of “Lent” that precedes it. Oddly, I really enjoy the Christmas (“Holiday”) Season, but Easter always rubs me the wrong way. Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday… they all mean nothing to me, yet they bother me terribly, as if they’re plopped in front of me constantly…

Q: “What are you giving up for Lent?” 
A: “Nothing, I’m not a Christian.”

When McDonald’s rolls out the commercials for their Filet-O-Fish sandwiches,  it’s a reminder to me that “Red Meat Fridays” are back in effect (a tradition dating back to my high school years).

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For years, I have worn a “Jesus Did It For the Chicks” t-shirt every single Easter. This year, I went back to T-Shirt Hell and purchased a “Jesus Returns!” t-shirt, with a Grindhouse-style poster depicting the fabled “savior” attacking a city Godzilla-style. “He’s Come Again To Judge the Living AND THE DEAD!” it proclaims. My wife hates it. In fact, she thinks it’s childish. When we attended a gathering on her Mom’s side of the family yesterday, she demanded that I not wear it since they’re all Catholic. I wore the old “for the chicks” shirt again, since that one had been seen many times over the years. Today, we went to my Mom’s house, and I wore the new shirt. Indeed, I am 100% Anti-Easter, and yes – it’s my teen angst-at-35 version of a retort.

But then I see my sweet, beautiful little daughter in her Easter dress, and why I take part in these shenanigans all makes sense…

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For her, it’s about Springtime. The bright colors, the beautiful flowers, and a visit from a six-foot anthropomorphic bunny. It makes her happy, and that makes me happy. We visited the floppy-eared one at the mall last week, and thus he somehow managed to circumvent our security system last night, because he left a basket here in the house. Inside, there were some eggs, a copy of THE MUPPETS on Blu-Ray (complete with finger puppets), a CARS 2 Lightning McQueen vehicle, a “Peep,” and some Goldfish crackers.  

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We also made a trip to a big public “Spring Egg” hunt on Friday, that featured an appearance by Ronald McDonald and the “Spring Bunny.” The “Spring” terminology is that of the park district – not mine, which also backs up my thinking that there’s a lot of people out there that are doing this just for their kids, with no religious affiliation whatsoever – and that they’re afraid to talk about it, likely due to being scorned by anyone that might label them a “heathen” or something. This blog entry is for all of those people… who are left out of Easter coverage everywhere else, year after year after year.

Me? I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I have a beautiful family, and have been raising my daughter with “family values,” “honesty” and “morals,” something that is easily done with no religious finger-pointing whatsoever. For me to gloss over my own feelings when religious holidays present themselves would be dishonest to myself, my family, and my readers. I know a lot of “closet Atheists” that pretend to believe, just to appease those close to them, and that’s just not right.

Not believing is perfectly normal. And if you do believe? That’s fine, too. Just don’t force it upon those that don’t – or those that are too young to understand.

Now where did that last Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg wind up? 

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