Kate Portrait Cropped

Photo credit: Elisabeth Smolarz.

I am a Washington Post columnist and author of We of Little Faith: How Nonbelievers Can Live Full Lives, Be True to Themselves, and Save America, forthcoming from Godine. 

When I was a child, I had to write essays for my allowance–$1 per page–which suggested a link between writing and money that I have been trying to substantiate ever since.

I wrote my first book, The Neppi Modona Diaries (UPNE), soon after receiving my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. The Neppi Modona Diaries tells the sometimes conflicting stories of a family of Jews who suffered under Fascist racial laws in Italy and went into hiding to survive the Nazi invasion. It also explores my own perspective as a post-Holocaust, non-believing Jew at the end of the twentieth century.  In A Walk Down the Aisle: Notes on a Modern Wedding, I chronicled my wedding to a man with whom I had lived for eight years, carefully examining the American wedding ritual, as hard to resist as it is functionally outdated.

You can find my author page at The Washington Post here. Sign up here to receive an email when a new column comes out. My essays can also be found in Slate, Salon, Fine Cooking, Bustle, Buzzfeed, Brain Child Magazine, and The Forward. You can hear me on 51%, a nationally syndicated public radio show about women, and WAMC’s The Roundtable and Midday Magazine. I am writing a book about raising my children as atheists. I’ve got three of them, one husband, and forty chickens; we all live on a farm in Albany, New York.

Selected Links

Far-Right Folks, Go Ahead and Take the Betsy Ross Flag. I Have My Own, The Washington Post

Pete Buttigieg, Please Don’t Equate Religion With Morality, The Washington Post

Car Ride With Lena, The Washington Post

It’s Bigger Than Kim Davis: What Makes “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs” So Special?, Salon

America’s Problem with Atheists in the White House, The Washington Post

How to Scare People on Halloween, Slate

How an Atheist Answered Her Daughter’s Questions About God, Buzzfeed

7 Things You Don’t Have to Do to Be an Atheist, Bustle

Where Are All the Normal Atheists? Salon

Some Baby, Brainchild Magazine

Grace for an Atheist Thanksgiving, Patheos

11 thoughts on “About

  1. SiverBlack says:

    I was so excited to see your article in my new FFRF newsletter yesterday. I said, “Hey! I know her! I follow her blog.” Thank you for the work you do.


  2. Mimi says:

    I also saw your article in the FFRF newsletter. I am new to your blog and look forward to your book on raising children as atheists. I have looked for books on parenting and atheism and there is almost nothing out there. As a mother of two young girls, I struggle at times to find the community and tools to teach them that being an atheist is an incredibly positive way of viewing the world and our day to day existence.


    • Kate Cohen says:

      Thank you, Mimi! As my children age, we have more political conversations, and fewer of the Big Talks about death and the universe and so on. I would love to know what your conversations with your girls are like, and what you find most difficult about this path. If something comes up, reach me through the Contact page. I’ll get right back to you.


  3. Jessie says:

    I just read your article in the Washington Post about Pete Buttigieg. I am also following his candidacy with interest. The intersection of politics and religion becomes ever more concerning as it is used to justify some many vile actions. I, too, am an atheist. I am frequently frustrated by the belief of many that atheists are immoral. Doing the right thing, living by values thoughtfully decided upon requires harder work than accepting religious tenets wholesale. I so appreciated your article. I raised my daughter without exposure to religion or god talk. She is a kind, thoughtful, open minded and values driven young woman who acts upon her beliefs. Thank you for putting yourself out there.


    • Kate Cohen says:

      Thank you, Jessie. That means a lot to me. I will keep writing–I hope you’ll keep reading. I think “thoughtfully decided upon” is the key. Atheists have the opportunity to start from scratch, so to speak. It’s hard work, but it’s really rewarding. As you know from the way your daughter turned out. Congratulations.


  4. Will Collum says:

    Just read your article in the Washington Post, “What’s so special about religious belief’. Thank you. I couldn’t agree more. At 61, my leaving Christianity in favor of a “secular Buddhist”—that is to say, no beliefs in things that I can’t empirically verify to my satisfaction—view of the world is ten years in the rear view mirror and I couldn’t be happier about it. I finally had realized that, try as I might, even as a kid, I didn’t believe those stories and actually never had. Over the decades, the pattern I’ve seen is that the atheists in my life have been more kind, compassionate and open, less judgmental than their religious counterparts, not to mention more reasonable and sensible. I’d tell you to “keep the faith”, but, uh, I’ll stick with “keep up the good work” instead. Cheers! 🙂


  5. Dan Levy says:

    Good morning, Kate. I enjoyed your piece in The Post this morning, and it got me thinking about how kids are adapting to the quarantine.

    As a pediatrician, my practice has largely been reduced to televisits, and huddling with my accountant and practice administrator to figure out how to stay solvent. So this leaves a lot of time to figure out creative ways to keep kids engaged.

    Cooking and eating are prime topics du jour lately. Your article got me thinking about how you engage in creative use of food, Doing a piece on obesity in American kids for ABC some years ago, it never left me that we don’t shop for,prepare, or eat food together in normal times. Maybe this is a good time to rethink that… but then, there is the larger issue of hunger spreading faster than the Corona virus.

    Thanks for your work. Some of my happiest days are spent kayaking and hiking with my wife in the Adirondacks. We’d be thrilled to meet you some time…

    Dan Levy, MD, FAAP


  6. Tom Martella says:

    Great column in today’s Post! (And tried to link in with you after seeing the Dartmouth connection — our son.) It provided a context and perspective that is very useful these days. And your note about young James Gooch was so intriguing — would love to know more about him and his life.


  7. Hello Kate, I just read your WashPost column, “If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions,” and had to write and say, thank you, thank you, thank you. It is the most sane proposal one can conceive in these fanatical times of distorted religious claims upon American society. Brilliantly laid out. It deserves a far and wide readership, and I hope it goes viral spiral on social media. Thank you so much!!


  8. Jennifer Reid says:

    Dear Ms. Cohen,

    Thank you for your piece in today’s Post on sexist decisions. I like how you started referring to the artist in question as “Affleck” when discussing her work. I got confused for a moment, wondering what on earth Ben Affleck was doing, acting in a music video. After the second iteration I made a confused face, scrolled back, read it again and realized you meant exactly the person you had named, Mrs. Affleck. That was an excellent real-time example of a disappearing bride.

    Your previous pieces are terrific, too. Onward!

    Jennifer Reid, née Reid
    middle-school French teacher


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