You remember when the atheist community was up in arms about Fort Bragg holding an evangelical festival designed to convert soldiers and civilians alike? You remember the active duty U.S. Army Sergeant who stood up and demanded equal opportunity for the atheistic point of view to be heard and scheduled “Rock Beyond Belief”, a festival to be headlined by leading atheist figures including Richard Dawkins, which the military approved but then tried to undermine with inadequate support? The sergeant who led that fight is Justin Griffith and I’m very proud that he is now yet another amazing colleague here at Freethought Blogs. His blog is Rock Beyond Belief:
I’m a foxhole atheist. Though I do not speak on behalf of the DoD in any way, I am an active duty Sergeant in the U.S. Army, currently deployed.
We are the last untapped demographic in the Out Campaign. The negative stereotypes, myths, and misunderstandings that are universally applied to atheists in America are even more intense in the military. It’s because many of us have been too afraid of retribution, and jeopardizing our careers to even come out and say “I am an atheist.” This silence has lead to an unchecked growth of fundamentalism for decades. Enough is enough and it’s time to come out, and come out swinging if we have to.
I receive regular threats of violence. Our children are even on the receiving end of expensive proselytizing efforts. Hundreds of millions of your dollars are being spent on attempting to convert people to Christianity. Just a few days ago I leaned about a Marine getting arrested (albeit briefly) for not going to Church. Within an hour of posting three more Marines contacted me saying the same thing had happened to them.
The Army has even started testing us for Spiritual Fitness on annual basis. I failed, so they provided me with a 1-800 number for a suicide hotline, and pointed me to the mandatory remedial training modules. That’s where I found this:
Click through to see what the military recommended Justin do to increase his spiritual fitness and to learn more about what he is about and how you can support him and his fellow foxhole atheists.
And if you are not already reading Assassin Actual and This Week in Christian Nationalism, Freethought Blogs’ existing blogs about the military and atheism, then, well, you’ve been missing out. Read them, they’re eye-opening.