This morning’s article about a Marine recruit who got NO-REL-PREF against her will got a bit of attention. Much of it was from people who had almost the exact same experience. I’ve seen hundreds of comments to that effect in the few posts I’ve made that dealt with this topic.
For instance, shortly after I shared the story, this happened on Facebook:
This is undeniably a very pervasive trend, and one that leads to disenfranchisement of our community. Not to mention an under representation, and a stamp of fear imprinted on all new recruits who feel that their atheism is something to be hidden at all costs.
But luckily, the Marine from this morning is going to attempt to be the exception to the trend.
She wrote me:
I’m very touched that you wrote back to me so quickly, and for your offer to help me get this fixed. I don’t anticipate this getting ugly – the Marines I’ve been working with are all good men, and I sincerely believe they just don’t understand why the difference between No Rel Pref and Atheist means so much to me.
I won’t be scared, not with people like you who have my back. I just wanted to know whether this is where I make my stand, or if I should wait until after boot camp. In retrospect, I see that the answer is ‘of course now!’ but I just wanted a little bit of reassurance that I wasn’t making a mountain out of a molehill. I have to go into my RS this week anyway, so I’ll see if I can pin down the recruiter I was working with on my package and get him to change the package. If he won’t, I think the SSgt in charge of the RS will. If for whatever reason he won’t, I’ll just work my way up the chain of command until someone fixes it, all the way to the Commandant if I have to. I’ve got plenty of time, so I’m not worried.
When I first stuck out my neck, I slowly realized something. I looked around and there was no axe arcing down at it. Rather, I caught a glimpse of people who were doing the wrong thing quickly fleeing, and trying to erase evidence of their deeds. For instance, the Rock the Fort website is so thoroughly scrubbed now that the vast majority of it now seems to only reside on lawyers hard drives (they were prepared for these efforts).
You are joining the fresh crop of out and proud foxhole atheists, and every time I hear from one of you it makes me very happy.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Is it too early to say ‘the New foxhole atheists’?