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"No, of course not," I said. "This has nothing to do with you. I respect your beliefs and the fact that you want to raise your kid within the confines of a religion that helps you to teach her the basic rules of morality. I don't care if you go to church, and I'm not saying you should. I'm just saying that I don't want to be directly involved in any of this God crap. I won't contradict you in front of your kids, but if they ever ask me for my opinion, I'm going to give it honestly, and I hope that you can understand and respect my position the way I understand and respect yours." This seemed to please Jane, as she smiled and nodded and served me seconds of the spicy Thai chicken salad we'd been eating.

Hundreds of years ago, godparents agreed to serve as guardians in the unfortunate event of the real parents' deaths. Today, being a godparent is like being an honorary confidante, something I plan to be to all of my sisters' children. If something happened to any of my sisters, and their children were left unattended, I would not hesitate to step up to the plate, to feed them, to clothe them, to shower them with love. But I refuse to sit in the pew.

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