Sure You Can Go Get Married. Right After You Finish This…

Obviously, I can’t verify this, but at Not Always Working (where readers submit stories from work), there’s a story of a sailor who wanted to get married on a Friday afternoon

Asst. Division Officer: *to sailor* “The Div officer said that you are getting married this afternoon. Congratulations! Which church?”

Sailor: “Thanks, but no church. We are doing it at City Hall with the Justice of the Peace. The Div Officer said that I could leave right after morning training, so I could get to there before the ceremony at thirteen hundred hours.”

Asst. Division Officer: “Well, see me before you go.”

Take a wild guess where this is going…

Asst. Division Officer: “YOU ARE NOT GETTING MARRIED! IF YOU WERE, YOU WOULD BE DOING IT IN A CHURCH! A CHRISTIAN CHURCH! SINCE YOU AREN’T, ALL YOU ARE GOING TO BE DOING IS F******, AND THAT IS A SIN! I have been married for seven years now, and I won’t have you defiling the sanctity of my marriage by claiming to be married outside of a church!”

Check out the rest of the story here — and stick around for the ending :)

(Thanks to Jon for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • randomfactor

    Hopefully with the Ass-DO leaving the service with the thanks of a grateful nation, don’t let the hatch hit you in the ass as you leave?

  • Gunner Miller

    It is funny how their own views of the world is mirrored back to them by their own ‘god’.

    • Pseudonym

      Kind of like how our own views of the world are mirrored by this story?

      Nothing else can explain how it got posted given its dubious provenance.

      • Gunner Miller

        True. Very true. I just find that people who already have certain biases find it reinforced by their god, but people with biases against religion, like me, also find stories to reinforce their views of believers.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I find this story highly dubious. The ending where the officer’s wife finds out about his own hypocritical infidelity is just too pat.

    We’re surrounded, awash, drowning in unverified and unverifiable stories about people being jerks, and it’s very tempting to automatically believe the ones that make our opponents look bad. Hearing stories and believing them without question, and then repeating them as if they are fact is what religionists are trained to do from early childhood on. It’s why we have to constantly deal with the ugly and idiotic stereotypes about atheists.

    Let’s not indulge in the same thing. Let’s go by a higher standard.

    • Jacqui H

      Agreed. I’d like this to be confirmed before posting

    • Mario Strada

      Yes, very dubious, but not outside the realm of possibilities in some circles. What I find dubious here is that someone had to snitch at the end of the story when a much more likely outcome would have been a lawsuit of biblical proportions.

    • Nate Frein

      A lot of the stories on that website are just a bit too “pat”. I suspect they get embellished if not fabricated.

      • allein

        Yeah, I read a couple of those sites, but I tend to take the stories with a grain of salt.

      • Renshia

        You don’t mean like penthouse letters do you? LOL

        • Len

          Really? I only get that mag for the articles.

          • Oranje

            That’s why I get Girls of Penthouse. Oh.

        • busterggi

          THOSE ARE REAL!!!!

          Not from readers, but they are written by someone.

    • Ibis3

      I think the implication was that he was ratted out in revenge for his asshole behaviour.

    • ToonForever

      Yup – sounds like an urban legend to me…

    • SeekerLancer

      Not Always Right/Working is full of stuff like this and I agree that we shouldn’t be acknowledging it. It’s all just hearsay and makes it hypocritical when we complain about unconfirmed Christian anecdotes.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        flame away, but i’m going to defend both religious myth and this story for the same reason- some times, the point is not that it’s “true.” or not. the point is that it helps you engage in a thinking exercise. for me, at least, this was one that reminded me of how messed our military is today, in large part due to the xtians in it, esp in the leadership eNKA.

        Thinking and learning can happen in all sorts of ways. something can be non-factual and still useful.

        • Randay

          Yes. We might also suspect that the story would have a similar ending if the guy said that he was getting married in a Hindu Temple(or the non-Xian temple of your choice) because his fiancé was from India, or wherever.

        • SeekerLancer

          My problem isn’t with the story per se, it’s presenting it as a truth.

          If we’re going to talk about problems with religion in the military then we should stick with the confirmed horror stories instead of saying how awful something that may not have happened is.

          In my opinion the only thing stuff like this story is useful for is propaganda. This is how urban legend and misinformation spreads.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          If a fictitious story is written for the purpose of a thought experiment, or a hypothetical exercise like, “What would you do in this situation?” or to illustrate some moral, that might be a legitimate purpose for it, but it would need to be preceded and followed by large, loud, clear, unmistakable disclaimers saying “THIS IS FICTION!” Skeptics should be very meticulous about this. The purveyors of religious myths are not.

          Without credible substantiation this story should be treated with deep suspicion, as SeekerLancer says, as likely being nothing but propaganda. Without verification, it’s not worth the electrons it’s printed on.

          We have plenty of well verified stories of religious bigotry in the military that are useful for illustrative purposes and for stimulating thought about the issue. We don’t need to make stuff up.

    • litesp33d

      I think this story should actually be prefaced with Richard Wades comment above. There are sufficient real stories about religionists biased, bigoted unfair and unconstitutional behaviour every day without the need to use dubious stories of doubtful provenance,

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    Lol, you got to be kidding me. What’s his problem?

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    I also find this a little dubious and wanted to toss in a positive military atheist marriage story.

    When I got married my chain of command knew that I’m an atheist and worked to ensure that not only did I get enough time off for travel, the ceremony and the honeymoon but they also arranged for our CO at the time to remain somewhat unaware as to the true duration of events.

    My point in mentioning this is that a situation like the one described in the post is not a military problem, it’s an asshole problem.

  • L.Long

    Although I know this kinda BS does happen with certain power-crazed Aholes, I too was an open, in your face atheist in the AirForce and had no problems. In fact during the really dull 12hr shifts we could get into some really good debates.

  • Daniel Rutter

    And in any case, true or false, the right ending would not be more underhanded action, but prosecution of the officer in question based on his blatant religious harassment of this inferior and likely many others. Followed by his abrupt exploration of all the exciting rewards and privileges of his new E-1 rating.

  • JJ

    Well, as a retired Navy CMC, I won’t say it didn’t happen; but we did instruct our sailors on what to do if it did happen (not just religion, but race, creed, color, gender, etc.). Given that, if that sailor reads this reply, please go see your CMC. If your CMC is even remotely like my peer group was, that JO is certainly not going to like the results of the encounter (and that is with the understanding that the vast majority of my C.O.’s were of some religious domination).

    OK, the above was based on a fair, skeptical reading of the text. A gut instinct impression of the story, “C’mon, make it an Air Force story, that is much more believable.”

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Adultery, an imprisonable crime in the military, and with the daughter of a rear admiral? With no other consequences related to his unlawful and implicitly witnessed treatment of his subordinate? I’m not buying it based on what we’ve been given.

  • Brad dayag

    Sorry but that story is so full of sterotypes that it smells like BS.

    1. an unpopular assistant DivO who is a jerk
    2. unpopular jerky assistant DivO is also a fundamentalist Christian
    3. unpopular jerky assistant DivO is hates non Christians
    4. unpopular jerky assistant DivO is a hypocrite who is carrying on an affair.

    This sounds like a Hollywood caricature, not a real person.

    • ZenDruid

      But all the plot lines fall together if he moonlights as a preacher.

  • Tom

    As a non-military person, I’m curious – regardless of the authenticity of this story – is there actually any mechanism in place to deal with officers who would abuse their authority like this? I’m not just talking about rules, but actual enforcement thereof. I’ve got the impression that everything’s supposed to go through one’s immediate superior in the military, and going directly to their own superior is generally a big no-no, so what do you do when your immediate superior is way out of line?

  • Gregory Marshall

    Doesn’t pass the smell test.

  • Major Nav

    I was a military brat and then spent 27 years in the military and as a defense contractor travelling to over 44 countries.
    With all that experience, I have no problem believing every single word of this story happening just as described. Frankly, it is not even close to the worst of stories I could tell.
    I have met too many officers that bide their time and literally dream of one day being in a position of command to inflict their beliefs (religious or otherwise) on those under them. Unfortunately, they don’t always get weeded out or prosecuted.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Dude, seriously? What sort of bullshit is this? Are there not enough real stories for you to talk about that you must now write about unverified, unattested childlike scribblings that are impossible to verify in any way? Have we really sunk this low? Shouldn’t we at least try to maintain the high moral ground from the Christians who make shit up and then claim, “But I feel it in my heart.”?


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