Coming out as an atheist at Marine Corps League veteran’s group

The following is sent in by David Z. – A former Marine Corps NCO. He’s sent me some pretty amazing stories that I’ve shared here, including being briefly arrested for not attending an inter-faith event during his training, and his run-in with future-WWE wrestler, Randy Orton – who beats people up for Jesus.

In case you didn’t know, I am the Marine who sent you my story about Randy Orton. I told you about “outing” myself to my Marine Corps League and that I got a “no atheists in foxholes” type response. I also said I would tell you about what happened at the next meeting.

Unfortunately, it is not very story worthy. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I am the youngest active member (31) amidst mostly Vietnam veterans. The one who made the comment had an almost entirely different viewpoint. He works for a funeral home.

I was expecting some kind of confrontation given his prior reaction and profession. Someone mentioned something about religion, and he just jumped at it saying, “If religion is anything like what this guy has been saying, I don’t want any part of it any more.” He was referring to fellow employee who was a new earth creationist, and took the bible far too literally.

I was also very surprised that another member (Nam vet) said that he was agnostic. There are many details that I am sure you don’t care to hear. But I just felt a like there are more of us out there that have been dying to speak out and now feel they can without retribution.

Anyways. I am still planning on coming to RBB. I know you are going to be busy, but if at some point you have the time, I would like to meet you. I’d like to buy you a beer, or at least shake your hand. Thank you for organizing this, and bringing light to something that many of us thought we couldn’t share. There were some people I told my “little secret” to in the Corps, but they were the ones that I knew valued my friendship and respected me enough to not think less of me for not sharing their beliefs.

Knowing that there are more of us out there…and knowing that it is safe to say it, is a very very big thing.

David,

That IS very story worthy. I’m very glad to say that although persecution exists, and massive discrimination on an institutional level occurs, on a face-to-face level… most of us wade through extremely long periods of tolerance and respect, bookended by moments of the opposite.

It’s how we react to the bookend moments that counts, and the goal should be overcome them with head held high. And sometimes, it’s with religious allies in tow… they wont be there on the national / institutional level, but face to face, they are there.

For every violent threat I receive from a religious nut, I get 50 supportive letters from religious nuts. :)

I love beer – let’s do it, brother.

Also, I love the excuse to trot this image back out again:

WWE wrestler Randy Orton is a Marine Corps Deserter and a disgrace

About Justin Griffith
  • http://justdfacsmaam@wordpress.com MarkNS

    Thank god I’m Canadian. I spent 27 years in our Air Force…all of them as an “out of the closet” atheist. There were quite a few of us and only once did I hear of any discrimination on that count…and it was pretty mild. A Major at my first Sqn (way back in the early 80′s) was rumoured to be making note of who was attending catholic services and rewarding them come evaluation time. While I never saw concrete evidence of this myself, the guy was an ass so it could have happened. Other than that, it’s the fundie nut cases who lie low up here. They’re laughed at.

    I hope to things change for the better down there.

    • Justin Griffith

      Other than that, it’s the fundie nut cases who lie low up here. They’re laughed at.

      I hope to things change for the better down there.

      I am of the opinion that humor is one of the main weapons that will change things. Public pressure and legal pressure are the only others I can say that are consistently as effective.

      Humor is free.

      • Aliasalpha

        Wasn’t it mark twain who said something along the lines of “nothing can stand up to the onslaught of laughter?”. Not only is it an effective weapon but a funny one too

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