When my nephew C was born nearly 5 years ago, my sister told me I would be his godmother.
Me: You know I’m an atheist, right?
Sis: We don’t care. It’s just a symbolic thing.
Me: So, no church ceremony?
Sis: No, we’re having him baptized in a church. But it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not.
Me: Really? Are you sure you don’t want someone who believes in all that stuff? I’d be okay with that.
Me: You realize that I’ll have to lie to the pastor during the baptism, right? You’re okay with that?
Sis: All you have to do is say “yes” and “I will” to a few questions.
Me: But I’ll still be lying… to a pastor… in a church.
Sis: So, will you do it?
Me: As long as I don’t have to wear a dress.
Nothing came of it at the time. My sister and brother-in-law are not religious people. Believers, yes, but not church-goers or the type to put their kids through religion classes. So, I guess it wasn’t much of a priority. I thought I had dodged a bullet all these years, but on the eve of my nephew’s fifth birthday, my sister announced that she plans to have C baptized soon. And I’m still on deck for godmother duty. Once again, I gave her an out to pick someone who wouldn’t have to tell big bad lies in a place of worship, but she wouldn’t hear it.
I’m a terrible liar, so I hope the pastor doesn’t ask me anything other than yes/no questions, or want to hear my credentials. I do have some: I was baptized Catholic and I participated in a few other sacraments (part of the tradition in my family), but I’m pretty sure those were nullified almost immediately since I didn’t actually believe in any of it. I have not stepped foot in a church – save for a handful of funerals – in 16 years. And then there’s the whole atheist thing. I’m pretty sure he would overlook church absences, but certainly he would frown upon the fact that I don’t believe one iota in god or all things related.
So, we’ll see how it goes. My sister wants me to be the godmother, and she knows the score, so I’m willing to go along with it. I don’t know exactly when this is supposed to happen. Maybe I’ll get lucky again and they’ll procrastinate again.