Thanks for the comment. I think that, once the time comes, her and I will be able to negotiate a reasonable education for our daughter. She's not hardcore Catholic, but just a fan of private education. So, we'll see. We've clashed a few times on religion before, but it's a topic that simply doesn't find its way to the surface for our relationship's sake.
"Coming to atheism" is something that doesn't happen overnight, you're right. I spent my entire childhood in an Episcopal church, which is about as liberal as it gets as far as traditional Christian churches go, so it honestly wasn't that bad. My father has always been a closet atheist, but a vocal supporter of evolution. I grew up with great influence from him, but forced into "the faith" by the church. I ended up meeting a girl in college and began attending her family's Baptist church. I think I always knew, from the time I could think critically, that god was a myth and the bullshit that has surrounded and perpetuated that single concept had gotten so maliciously complicated over the years was sinister and nothing of which I need to be a part.
Attending the Baptist church is what solidified for me that, not even for social graces or a loved one was I willing to put myself through it anymore. I stopped going and stayed quiet about the whole thing. Not until about 2 years ago did I really start to become outspoken and involved in freethinking and secular groups. Life is better now. Supremely better.
I know how you feel about your family. Although my parents are Episcopalian, they're liberal and easy to get along with. Even if religion comes up, we listen to each other and part amicably. No ill will. However, I have aunts, uncles, cousins and even my sister who attend hardcore, Baptist churches. Some are loosely conservative (my sister, luckily), but others are vehemently anti-gay,anti-choice and masters of proselytizing.
Yes!! I skated with Bella. I'll bet she's gotten quite good by now...she's got that small and wily factor going for her. :) My derby name was Draconi Ann. I have Fibromyalgia and it was in check for the months before I was training for my first bout but that first bout was against an undefeated (at the time) Furious Truckstop Waitresses and I got so stressed out that my FM knocked me on my ass. I realized then that it was going to be an unacceptable ongoing issue.
Arizona is an odd place. There is still a lingering wild-west independence streak but Phoenix is mostly Repubs and Tucson leans Demo and Indie. All in all it's a pretty open-minded place but we also have a heavy Catholic influence being so close to the border.