You may remember a few months back when SGT Kloberdanz told us about being kicked out of a Dining Facility for wearing a Bad Religion Shirt.
Well, along these same lines comes a story from Navy Atheist CTR2 Michael Wheeler. I’m so proud of all the military atheists shedding the (often justified) fear of coming out of the atheist closet by name. As you are about to see, Michael Wheeler slammed the atheist closet door shut a long time ago. And he’s pretty funny too.
After reading your article on the soldier that was not allowed in the DFAC with a Bad Religion shirt on, I just have to share my case of Bad Religion discrimination.
I used to be a Master At Arms in the Navy(I am now a CTR) and have been an avid fan of Bad Religion for going on two decades now. As a young third class I decided to get a tattoo of the Bad Religion symbol on the outside of my right forearm.
As an MA I used to spend a lot of time at the main gate of the base I was stationed on directing traffic. One day shortly after I got the tattoo, a LCDR from Medical came through the gate. I gave her my usual warm greeting and checked her ID and she noticed the crossbuster on my arm. Then she got a really disgusted look on her face and asked me if I realized that it could be ”highly offensive” to people.
I told her that yes I did and to have a nice day.
The next day I got called into my Security LCPOs office and was told that there had been a complaint about my tattoo from the LCDR. The Chief took pictures of it and asked me some questions and I explained that the crossbuster was a band symbol and directed the Chief to the Band’s website.
The day after that my chief told me that he had investigated the website and other info about the band and that there would be no further problems because it wasn’t racist or sexist or violent. A week went by and the LCDR came back through the gate and once again made comment on my tattoos and I told her that my dept had cleared it.
I guess that wasn’t a good answer to her because she went to the chaplain and to the Commanding Officer. I was then given an ultimatum: Have the tattoo removed or covered up at my own expense or wear my sleeves down all year (which is not uniform with the rest of the dept, singling me out). I decided to have it covered up, and now I have a big black star looking thing on my arm.
The kicker was after I got it covered up, the same chief that gave me the ultimatum, told me that the Navy would have paid to have it removed. Great… just a couple of weeks too late. I’m not really mad at the chiefs involved in this because they got major pressure from the CO to make me do this, I am really mad at the CO, the chaplain and the LCDR that made a big deal about it.
Do any of them ever stop to think that their crosses might be offensive to me? Probably not. Unfortunately I was not as well informed then or of a rank that I was willing to make an issue out of it.
I ended up getting the last laugh though, I got a giant skull and crossbones Bad Religion tattoo on my back with the crossbuster on the forehead.
I also got a binary tattoo just below the big black star that reads ”God Doesn’t Live Here” in ones and zeros that not only well represents my geeky rate and attitude, but my deeply held personal beliefs.
Keep doing what you’re doing,
CTR2(EXW) Michael G Wheeler
Yeah. You just read that.
Wheeler picked the obligatory Bad Religion song, “Come Join Us” from 1996′s The Gray Race
Please leave your attaboys here, I’ll make sure he sees them. Also, spread this for great justice. Click those buttons down there, Wheeler deserves it.