Air Force’s Nativity Scene is now joined by the Flying Spaghetti Monster

This sign was finally put up by the atheists at Travis Air Force Base, donated by American Atheists. Click to embiggen

Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings is brave enough to do this without anonymity. The fight has not been easy. This ‘win’ is still bittersweet, as the atheists responsible are still banned from meeting on post. Say for instance, near this sign.

They even had to fight for a light similar to the Nativity Scene, for nocturnal illumination.

The sign has already been vandalized.

Dan Rawlings just let me know that he has already had to set up anti-vandalism watch efforts.

Hey Everybody,

I went and reinforced our sign yesterday after the chaplain expresses his concern about it’s potential vandalism… I noticed driving to work today, that someone had moved my light, so that it lit up the card next to us instead. Can everybody help me keep an eye on it, and if the light gets moved again, just take a minute and reset it?

All it says is “Have a safe holiday season.” The fight against it is absurd.

The whole experience reinforces the American Atheists position that the Nativity Scene needs to be removed altogether. The chaplaincy’s repeated history of non-support for the atheists is illegal and institutional. They got caught with their pants down, and when the media and legal threats came in, they finally caved – and only on the one issue of this little sign.

If they were truly interested in ‘supporting all groups’ they would let Dan Rawlings and the other scores of Air Force atheists meet on post, and provide them the same level of support that they deserve.

Perhaps this baby-step will kickstart a chain reaction over at Travis Air Force Base. It is possible that this incident changed the game, and we hope that they continue to do the right thing even when the media attention fades.

If not, next year’s sign will be much more barbed than “Have a safe holiday season!”

**EDIT update: interestingly, a very large Christian organization is also asking for the Nativity Scene to be removed**

**Edit IMPORTANT UPDATE: The same shit is happening at Fort Campbell, Kentucky! We REALLY need visibility there now, as the chaplaincy seems to be playing hardball.**

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  • VeritasKnight

    How dare we atheists suggest that other people should have a safe holiday season. How DARE WE.

  • Zugswang

    Well, it’s obviously an atheist attack on their right to deep-fry frozen turkeys indoors.

  • ShantiClaire

    While I am in complete support of your efforts, I think that inclusion of the the FSM is unfortunate. You are dealing with buttoned up assholes and I think that they will be really not see the humorous magnificence of the FSM! I would think that a humanistic spin might get them to read it without feeling that they are being ridiculed for their beliefs (yes, i realize that their stand is illegal and it is total bullshit to have to tippy toe around this). A message that said something to the effect of: we celebrate the sweetness of life and thankfulness for all we have. We are humans celebrating humans. No gods needed.

    May I say that I am THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for you and your hard work!


  • manabrau

    while all of this stuff of christians being exclusionary and intolerant is probably against the law and stuff … the thing that disturbs me is how atheists are not pouncing on and utterly destroying this from a *christian* point of view … eg.

    this is a sign – this sign is nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ – this sign is just a *thing* – if things can upset your faith, then you have serious problems with your faith

    if you find a thing to be offensive to your christian beliefs, then your beliefs are not rock-solid because this thing is able to shake those beliefs – so much for that unshakeable, rock solid faith in Jesus that christians often brag about

    so any christians getting upset at one little sign that wishes people well, simply reveal that their own beliefs are lacking because if they truly believed in Christ, they would not find a simple sign to be *able* to contradict their faith in the first place – not to mention that their precious Christ taught them to be tolerant and forgiving so this should not be an issue if people were actually living up to the standards that Christ taught – seems this tolerance and forgiveness is meant for “christian” people only

  • I, J

    Is it me, or was there something on the bottom that was covered up? I see a dark blue rectangle that would be about the size of a website address.

  • Justin Griffith

    @#5, I, J

    yes, that was forcibly censored. read more here.

  • Belial

    I’m glad to see his noodley appendages and thanks to the relevant parties for keeping up the fight (unreal that it was a fight).

  • Heck!The change in the sign lighting might be considered insignificant compared to this 2011 Holiday Season in the DMZ.

    As I understand it the usual Christmas Tree in the DMZ between North & South Korea is not lighted up either.

    Christianity, having purloined the December Pagan Rituals to make the Christ mythology more palatable to enticed converters, I personally am all for Christians celebration on December 25th. but what confers on them any right to co-opt the whole month of December to the exclusion of other religious beliefs or of no religious persuasion at all?

  • Rar rar hells yes! Shame about the censorship and defacement, but they can’t make you disappear entirely!

  • Greetings from a brother in Australia! I admire your efforts, keep it up!

  • Greetings from Australia! I admire your efforts, keep it up!


    Great first sign. Next year I would like to see something a bit punchier. But I understand, you have to tread carefully with these things. And if I was even a remote chance of driving past the sign (I’m in Australia) I would check and move the light if necessary.

    Now onto the letter from the christian group who want the nativity ‘removed’.

    Am I right in thinking that in the first paragraph they say “…we believe government should not promote any faith over another…” but the point of the letter is to have their nativity scene moved to the chapel, because it is a much more important symbol of Christmas than all the others?

    I say let them move it to the chapel, IN the chapel! Then none of us will have to look at it, and we can make next year’s sign biggger!

  • articulett

    I rather like the FSM– though I think a jaunty Santa hat would make it more festive.

  • Jim

    Here is some things that Jesus taught us to value… Thought it should be shared since it is his season and “Birthday”, they don’t usually share this in Churches as it would do more damage then our FSM sign: Christians are always claiming, “he’s the lamb”, “our savior”, “the king of peace”, “the embodiment of love”, amongst the many other names they associate with a loving, merciful nature. Jesus a nice guy? Not in my book. Nor in any other person’s who is capable of compassion and rationality. Let’s examine who the hell the Jesus character really is. These verses will show not only is Jesus’ “loving” nature a joke but so are the Christians who worship him. Jesus’ real mission to come to earth:

    Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has “come not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

    Jesus says, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on earth! No, rather a sword lf you love your father, mother, sister, brother, more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. “The real beauty of this verse is that Jesus demands people truly love him more then they love their own family. I ask you how can we love someone that we can not see or interact with? Love is an emotion pertaining to physical existence not to faithful ideologies, yet God threatens you with Death just because your love for your mother maybe stronger than your love for him. Matthew 10:34

    Families will be torn apart because of Jesus. “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” Matthew 10:21

    Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament. Matthew 5:17

    Jesus advocates murder and death:

    Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. Matthew 11:20

    Jesus, whose clothes are dipped in blood, has a sharp sword sticking out of his mouth. Thus attired, he treads the winepress of the wrath of God. (The winepress is the actual press that humans shall be put into so that we may be ground up.) Revelations 19:13-15

    The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into a lake of fire. The rest of us the unchosen will be killed with the sword of Jesus. “An all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelations 19:20-21

    Jesus says he is the only way to salvation yet he purposely disillusions us so that we will go to hell:

    Jesus explains that the reason he speaks in parables is so that no one will understand him, “lest . . . they . . . should understand . . . and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matthew 13:10-15

    Jesus explains why he speaks in parables to confuse people so they will go to hell. Mark 4:11-12

    Jesus advocates child abuse:

    Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Matthew 15:4-7

    Abandon your wife and children for Jesus and he’ll give your a big reward. Jesus asks that his followers abandon their children to follow him. To leave your child is abuse, it’s called neglect, pure and simple. Matthew 19:29

    Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. Mark 7:9

    A few other things about Jesus:

    Jesus says that those who have been less fortunate in this life will have it even worse in the life to come. Mark 4:25

    Jesus sends the devils into 2000 pigs, causing them to jump off a cliff and be drowned in the sea. Clearly Jesus could have simply sent the devils out, yet he chose instead to place them into pigs and kill them. This is called animal abuse. Mark 5:12-13

    Jesus kills a fig tree for not bearing figs, even though it was out of season. Jesus must not be as smart as Christians would have us believe, for he was retarded enough to do something this silly. You’d think the son of god (god incarnate) would know that trees don’t bear fruit in dry season. Mark 11:13

    Luke 12:47 Jesus okays beating slaves.

  • Pogonip

    Jim, do we know that these are the words of Joshua ben Joseph a/k/a Jesus, or the words of Matthew, or of Mark in some cases? We see a lot of contradiction in the gospels, none of which were written by Joshua, but by his followers, some of whom never even met the historical Joshua/Jesus. So many men have written their own notions of what the teachings are, and they just don’t seem to be consistent in any sense.

  • Two words: potassium permanganate. Sprinkle a little of the powder on the light or the edges of the sign and anyone who touches it will have indelible purple stains on their hands. Since the light is presumably moved at night so the vandals can see where they’re aiming it, they won’t notice the powder. I knew one company that sprinkled it on the wall surrounding the cafeteria kitchen so they could catch anyone who climbed in to steal food.

  • William

    Christian Creationists relentlessly pound the boards for an equal voice in science education, arguing we should teach the ‘controversy’. Atheism then should be allowed equal time when it comes to Christmyth exhibitions.

  • I’m glad to hear that a Christian organization wants the nativity removed, but they’re asking for it to be moved to the chapel, which I believe is also illegal.

  • Michael Heath


    Jim, do we know that these are the words of Joshua ben Joseph a/k/a Jesus, or the words of Matthew, or of Mark in some cases? We see a lot of contradiction in the gospels, none of which were written by Joshua, but by his followers, some of whom never even met the historical Joshua/Jesus. So many men have written their own notions of what the teachings are, and they just don’t seem to be consistent in any sense.

    Historically interesting but irrelevant to Jim’s point given that Christians claim the Bible is the inspired word of God. We care about this because some Christians also claim the Bible as the inerrant word of God, where they enjoy significant political influence to the point we all suffer from their beliefs.

  • Tim

    I think it’s more than a bit funny that you **NEED** christianity in order to define your faith (and yes, atheism is a faith). Nothing more than an asterisk on the end of Christianity. What’s the point? I am an agnostic…you’re all dumb. Should have just put a big blank sign up there. But that would have been too witty for the likes of most of you.

  • Michael Heath

    Tim writes:

    I think it’s more than a bit funny that you **NEED** christianity in order to define your faith (and yes, atheism is a faith).

    To whom are you addressing your post? Why all caps and scare quotes for the word need? Please explain exactly how atheism is a faith; does it apply to all forms of atheism or just a few; if a few, which ones and why? If I conclude there are no unicorns orbiting Saturn, is that faith as well?

    Tim writes:

    I am an agnostic…you’re all dumb.

    I thought that sentence deserved to stand-out a little more rather than being hidden within a paragraph.

  • articulett

    Applause to Michael Heath @ 23

    (You said what I was thinking only much, much better.)

    One wonders how the atheists before Christianity practiced their “faith”. Is non-belief in Scientology a faith too? Is Tim agnostic in regards to Scientology?

    He’s left us with so many questions!

  • justin!… way to go!

    next time a simple sign: right next to the creche a sign pointing to it saying, “I’M NOT WITH STUPID” ….LOL

  • Aquaria

    I think it’s more than a bit funny that you **NEED** christianity in order to define your faith (and yes, atheism is a faith).

    You have to do better than this. You’re just being impossibly stupid now.

    Atheists don’t have faith, moron. Get that through your stupid tiny head. The very definition of atheist is lack of belief in imaginary scumbags in the sky.

    That means we don’t have holy books or silly rituals or delusion palaces or child-raping scumbags in fabulous dresses and silly hats telling us what to do or primitive moral codes. You believe or you don’t.

    Do fucking keep up.

    Nothing more than an asterisk on the end of Christianity.

    How old are you, child? 10? 12? Maybe you need to wait until you’re old enough to check books out of the adult section before you go vomiting stupid all over the place.

    Run along now. The adults are talking.

    What’s the point?

    The First Amendment, you ignorant sack of dog vomit.

    I am an agnostic…you’re all dumb.

    Says the guy who’s too fucking stupid to know what an agnostic is or what an atheist is.

    Should have just put a big blank sign up there.

    Fuck you, you traitorous piece of shit. The First Amendment says that free exercise of religion can’t be prohibited. If the atheists want to exercise their freedom by putting up a picture of Jesus wearing a green robe with yellow polka dots, then they fucking well can, and the christers will just have to like it. They’re the ones demanding the right to exercise their religiosity for all to see with their stupid kitschy crap creches, because the part even before the free exercise part of the First Amendment says government can’t establish religion. Since you’re a fucking moron, that means that if the government lets one religion use government property to exercise their religion, then they have to let everyone else do it, too.

    Sucks to be an anti-American piece of shit like you.

    But that would have been too witty for the likes of most of you.

    Being a half-wit doesn’t make you witty, dear.

    Do fucking keep up.

  • Aquaria

    Jim, do we know that these are the words of Joshua ben Joseph a/k/a Jesus, or the words of Matthew, or of Mark in some cases? We see a lot of contradiction in the gospels, none of which were written by Joshua, but by his followers, some of whom never even met the historical Joshua/Jesus.

    Who knows if any of it was spoken by that idiot? And who knows if there was even an emo slacker deity in the first place? Strange how someone supposedly so momentous escaped the attention of the notoriously meticulous Romans, but there’s nothing in any of their records to mention the idiot. Not one historian of the time. None of the letters that have survived–nothing. Strange how it took years after the scumbag floating into the clouds for people who didn’t even know the supposed historical figure to write about him.

    So it’s not just the bad things that christers can make go away because it makes those nitwits uncomfortable, but the few good bits in that trash heap of a book have to go, too.

    All of it is questionable.

  • pyrobryan

    @ #22 Tim

    Atheism is not a faith. It’s a lack of faith (a better description might be something like “a rejection of claims of a deity or deities”). I really don’t understand why theists are so dead-set on calling atheism a religion. If it is, then there can be no question that atheists are guaranteed the same rights as theists under the Constitution (in America). Yet, they fight against atheist rights all the time.

    Also, it’s kind of misleading to label yourself as simply “agnostic”. Gnosticism and agnosticism speak to knowledge. Theism and atheism speak to belief. The difference being “I believe there is a god” vs. “I know there is a god”. Saying you are agnostic merely says that you do not know whether or not a god or gods exist (in truth, we are all agnostics because no one truly knows). It doesn’t tell us what you believe. One thing agnosticism is not, is a hiding place somewhere in between; A place where you can put yourself to avoid answering the question “Do you believe in god?”

    So you can call yourself one of the following:

    Gnostic theist (you know there is a god)

    Agnostic theist (don’t know, but do believe)

    Gnostic atheist (you know there is no god)

    Agnostic atheist (don’t know, don’t believe)

    Of course, this is just an exercise of semantics. Different words have different meanings to different people. Arguing semantics really pretty pointless.

  • pyrobryan

    RE my last post: I think a better term than rejection would non-acceptance.

  • la martina al por mayor

    Extremely well written, well thought out article.