Harsh and Necessary

1st Lt. Wayne Adkins (196th MPAD) has resigned from the Ohio Army National Guard.

His reason is not that he refuses to fight. It’s because he’s tired of the discrimination he has to face as an atheist.

You can read his open resignation letter here.

Some excerpts follow:

On July 18th, 2006 Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, lumped atheists and agnostics together with bigots and in a paraphrase of an old untrue negative stereotype declared that there are no atheists in foxholes… But the Army, despite how it defines unlawful discrimination in its own regulations, has decided that the remarks were not discriminatory. I disagree.

Some [military personnel] have gone as far as claiming that atheists are lesser soldiers than their religious counterparts.

Claiming that there are no atheists in foxholes implies that they do not serve at all which is patently false or that they all really do believe something other than what they say. It implies that all atheists are liars and cowards. That fits the definition of making negative statements about an entire group of people based solely on their religious identification.

I can no longer be a part of an organization that denies my service in combat, ignores discrimination complaints by soldiers, violates its own regulations and protects bigots. This will serve as written notification that I am resigning my commission as an officer in the Ohio Army National Guard effective as soon as possible.

That’s depressing. We just lost another good soldier.

For those who don’t know already, there is an organization for non-religious people in the military. It’s called the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).

I still can’t understand how anyone could make such ignorant remarks like “There are no atheists in foxholes” when they can be proven wrong so easily…


[tags]Wayne Adkins, Ohio Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers[/tags]

  • txatheist

    I still can’t understand how anyone could make such ignorant remarks like “There are no atheists in foxholes” when they can be proven wrong so easily…

    I will be the first to say there is a very barbaric mentality in the military. This is why gays have it so hard, they are seen as wimps. I’m sure many Jews would also say they face discrimination. I would guess some people didn’t care for Pat Tillman when he said he wasn’t religious. It comes down to one thing and one thing only INSECURITY.

    I’ve thought about joining my local VFW but right now in my life I have a bigger obligation, my son. I hope to one day join a VFW and there will be no mistake about my willingness to say I’m an atheist. I don’t know if you are aware but it’s only been about a year or two that the VFW changed it’s requirements. 2 years ago you had to sign the application that states you believe in God to join the VFW.

  • http://dubitoergo.blogspot.com Tom Foss

    I like the assertion that “atheists are lesser soldiers than their religious counterparts.” Right, you’re much braver, what with going into battle believing that an omnipotent being has your back, and if you die, well, at least you get an eternity of hedonistic pleasure, or something.

    When an atheist goes into battle, it’s just him or her, and death’s the end. Tell me, which belief system requires more bravery?

    I’m not saying that theist soldiers are any less brave, really. I think when it comes down to it, the only thing most people are thinking about in the foxholes is getting the hell out. But to suggest that atheist soldiers are “less”…well, that’s just nonsensical.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X