The Military Was Right to Take Down ‘No Atheists in Foxholes’ Column

Chaplain Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes, who works at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, wrote an article for his “Chaplain’s Corner” column recently in which he talked about the origin of the phrase “no atheist in foxholes.” While the column has since been removed from the website, the text is still around:

Many have heard the familiar phrase, “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.”

Where did this come from?

Research I verified in an interview with former World War II prisoner of war Roy Bodine (my friend) indicates the phrase has been credited to Father William Cummings.

With the pending surrender of allied forces to the Japanese, Cummings uttered the famous phrase “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.”

Everyone expresses some form of faith every day, whether it is religious or secular.

Some express faith by believing when they get up in the morning they will arrive at work in one piece, thankful they have been given another opportunity to enjoy the majesty of the day; or express relief the doctor’s results were negative.

While I have no issue with Reyes trying to find the origins of that phrase, the fact is: that statement is just untrue. And to perpetuate it by saying everyone has faith in something just reinforces a harmful myth. Of course there are atheists in foxholes, and when they’re under attack in a war, they don’t start looking to God for help. To argue otherwise, or to redefine “faith” to mean faith in yourself or fellow soldiers, is disingenuous.

I don’t think Reyes intentionally set out to denigrate atheists, but that’s what he ended up doing.

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The TAM 2013 Interviews Episode 1: Sanal Edamaruku

I humbly present to you the first in our series of interviews from The Amazing Meeting 2013.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the remarkable Sanal Edamaruku. It became less of an interview and more of me just letting him tell his story (trust me, it was better that way). If you haven’t heard of Sanal, he is the president of both Rationalist International and Indian Rationalist Association and spent years traveling around India busting so-called miracles.

Last year, when he was called in to explain a statue of Jesus that was “miraculously” dripping water, his entire life changed. You can read about it if you click on those links, but I recommend listening to him tell his story instead.

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When Reading This Book, Start at the End

PZ Myers‘ book The Happy Atheist is coming out in a couple of weeks and you should pre-order your copy now if you haven’t already!

You can read the pages and all if you’d like, but I suggest just skipping ahead to the back cover and then working your way backwards:

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Forget Purity; Here’s What You Should Really Teach Your Daughters About Sex

Houston Press blogger Jef With One F is sick of all the modesty/abstinence-only/purity culture stuff he keeps reading about and he’s come up with a fantastic list of ten things he plans to tell his daughter about sex (when she’s old enough to handle it):

I’m not looking forward to it, to tell the truth, but if the alternative is fetishizing chastity while giving Oedipus a handie then by God I’m going in full guns blazing.

10. That sex is beautiful and fun as hell, but so is driving a car and a bunch of other things that come with responsibilities. You need to ask yourself if you can handle those. I knew I couldn’t be trusted with a car at 16, so I didn’t ask for one. Same with sex. I waited until I knew I was with someone that wouldn’t use me wrong and knew what they were doing. You shouldn’t be afraid of it, but you should respect its possible consequences, such a pregnancy, disease, and just the general mess that sometimes come from sleeping with someone you shouldn’t have.

6. You cannot be “ruined,” by an act. You can only be ruined if you let shame and self-loathing consume you, and even then there is always a path back into the light. This goes double for someone trying to convince you sex is evil. That person was either hurt badly or seriously misled.

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Alabama Public School District Plans ‘Prayer Caravan’ to Bless Schools for the Upcoming Year

Here’s how you know your school district is led by an incompetent individual: Instead of doing something to help the students, he makes plans to lead prayers in front of every school.

That’s what Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman decided to do last week:

It will be a time to lift out schools up to God and ask His blessings for the upcoming school year. We hope to see you on August 10th.

In Christ, Billy Coleman

It was apparently the third year of this “Prayer Caravan.”

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