Meet a juggling member: Robert McClain

Name: Robert McClain.

Where I live: Brunswick, Ohio.

Where and when I was born: Johnstown, Pa., 1959.

Family: Pamela, my wife, and sons, Sean, 19, and Corvus, 16.

Education: Some college; financial services professional (Series 6).

Occupation: Insurance sales, life and annuity.

How I got where I am today: A high school English teacher who molded my writing, and an ability to find solutions to other’s problems

Where I’m headed: Down a path that insists nontheists deserve a place at the table politically.

Person in history I admire: Alan Turing (1912-54), British mathematician and the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

A quotation I like: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” (Thomas Paine, “The American Crisis”) These are a few of my favorite things: Churches converted to useful, practical or humanitarian purposes, Ken Ham’s withering debate defeat by science guy Bill Nye, “Hitchslaps” and cooking for a crowd of friends.

These are not: “Filler” words (like . . . y’know, umm, etc.); bad writing; poor design; the blood and treasure wasted on religion.

My doubts about religion started: At 11 years old, when a couple of door-to-door fundamentalists cornered me on my paper route and harangued me about not being saved. Before I die: There will be an atheist senator or president.

Ways I promote freethought: Fighting fundamentalists in print, in person and in the education system.

I wish you’d have asked me: Can you juggle? Yes.

I also wish you’d have asked me: Do you encourage your children to be freethinkers? My breakfast bar was a place for math. science, logic and discussions of theism. I always told my boys that if they wanted to go to church, I would take them. If they wanted to be Christians, I would understand but expected them to explain why choosing this path made logical sense. They knew about theistic influences in America and how dangerous it is for freedom when the priest and politician join forces.

Sean could go toe to toe with any priest or minister he encountered by age 11 or 12, and by 15 there was not a Christian in his peer group willing to argue with him in class discussions. He knew their book, and he knew Christianity’s horrific history of bloodletting, conquest and genocide. He knew more about their religion than the kids themselves did.

Freedom From Religion Foundation