Perceptions of Nonreligious Parents


nonreligious, atheist, humanist, parents, respect, qualitative


Although religious intolerance and marginalization still exist today, research suggests that perhaps one of the most marginalized groups is those who report no religion. Through interviews with 31 nonreligious couples (N = 62 individuals), we investigated what nonreligious parents want religious people to understand about them and their families. Using a team-based approach to qualitative data analysis, we identified three themes related to what our participants wanted religious people to know: (1) we are good people, good parents, and not that different from you; (2) religion does not equate with morality; and (3) do not judge beliefs, actions are what matter. We identified an additional theme regarding how they would like to convey these and other matters to religious people, that we termed as (4) I do/do not want to talk about religion and here is why. Implications include suggestions and recommendations to increase understanding, tolerance, and respect between religious and nonreligious individuals, family members, and groups.

Original Publication Citation

Kelley, H. H., Marks, L. D., & Dollahite, D. C. (2022). Perceptions of nonreligious parents. Journal of Family Issues. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0192513X221079332

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Journal of Family Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor