I'm not sure how a conversation with my mother this afternoon got to the topic of Anderson Cooper's recent coming out, but I'm glad it did. She wasn't sure why it was a big deal. I was afraid she was going to go the "they should just keep it to themselves" route I've seen too often directed at gays who are out of the closet and myself for refusing to hide my atheism. Instead, she didn't think it was worthy of attention because whether or not people are gay should be a non-issue. And she's right. It should be a non issue. But it is still an issue, because of the bullies and haters that still exist.
From there, we somehow got to the fact that we disagree on some things. She's a Republican Christian who watches Fox News, and I'm a life-long atheist who recognizes that Fox is not news and doesn't support the Democrats because they've gone too far to the "right".
While we were doing the whole "I respect your right to have an opinion different from mine" thing, she said, "I tried to raise you to be a free thinker". She certainly succeeded in that attempt.
I couldn't help myself & informed her of connection the term "free thinker" has with atheism. She responded saying that she's knows I'm an atheist. This was the first time I've ever heard that term from either of parents in reference to me, but it came attached with no hate, disgust, disappointment, or shame.
The comparison of my parents to the endless stream of Fundamentalists disowning their own children for even asking questions makes me lucky to have been born to the parents I was.
Not all Christians are afraid to let their children think for themselves, but I get why they are. The rational Christians are accidentally raising atheists. Teaching critical thinking & open mindedness fosters atheism. And the Fundamentalists apparently know it.