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(Post 17 of 33 in my 16-hour shift for the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon.)

4:00 pm EDT

There’s a Post-It that’s been stuck to my desk for years, one of many such lost thoughts. It says “Blog E-C Obama Muslim 9/11 (in car from NC)”. Weirdly, I think I remember what that means….

Harp music and waaaavy lines…

ERIN (then 10): [Cousin Bill] said Obama is a Muslim. What’s a Muslim?

MOM: That’s another religion, same as Islamic. He isn’t, though.

ERIN: What’s so bad about being a Muslim?

CONNOR (then 13): Well it was Muslims who flew the planes into…

DAD and MOM, simultaneously: AAAAAAHHHH!! AAAAAHHH! WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!

CONNOR, miffed: What??

DAD: Well…when somebody’s first learning about a big group of people, you don’t start with the worst things.

CONNOR: But she asked what was wrong with being a Muslim.

DAD: That’s not the same as, “What are some bad things some Muslims have done?”

CONNOR: Yes it is!

DAD: Okay then. Hey, you know what’s wrong with teenagers? It was teenagers who shot up Columbine High School. THAT’s what’s wrong with teenagers.

The crystal fades right about there, but I’ll bet he rushed to grant me the point.

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.