Travis Air Force Base now ensures uniformed lighting for holiday displays

American Atheists donated the twice-vandalized holiday sign to Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings and the atheists at Travis MASH. The sign simply says “Have a safe holiday season – from the atheists at Travis MASH”.

Rawlings remained in constant contact with me and described each step of his wildly successful efforts for equality. As we mentioned earlier, one of the remaining disparities was the lighting for the different displays.

The Nativity Scene was permitted much more lighting than anyone else.

This short (eight second) video describes how many lights the Nativity was provided, versus everyone else’s one (or zero).

http://www.youtube.com/embed/EAdGhMRBbzY?

Additionally, Staff Sergeant Rawlings’ light was confiscated (after at first being vandalized), and replaced with a much dimmer light. Dan called to let me know the situation changed shortly after our post came out.

The lighting is now uniformly applied.

Although it is extremely promising to see such rapid progress from commanders at Travis AFB, it’s bittersweet…We can’t help but agree with Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) president Mikey Weinstein that this needs to be moved at the very least. Frankly, removing all the displays is the best course of action when minority groups have to fight tooth and nail for equality.

We hope that commanders at Travis continue to learn how to provide equal support to Staff Sergeant Rawlings and his enthusiastic local group. Keep in mind that they are still banned from meeting on post, mirroring the nationwide crisis that atheist groups face when the chaplaincy refuses to support them.

Travis AFB is actually a good lesson for all other startup military atheist communities. You can demand equality. And a situation can get fixed quite rapidly. American Atheists and many other organizations will help. All you have to do is contact us.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky…

The nativity scene at Fort Campbell, Kentucky is ridiculous. You really need to see it to believe it. It’s so well lit that you can probably see it from space.

They seem to be ‘lawyering up’, which is very unfortunate. More to come, as that story develops.

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  • FormerlyNavy

    Is it just me, or do they have lights attached to that half-ass Menorah pointing towards the nativity?

  • Chuck C

    And it looks more like a crucifix than a Menorah.

  • Robert

    I was an Air Force brat for 17 years, and when we lived on base at Vance AFB during the 70′s, this controversy would not have taken place. It would have been a nativity scene and nothing else.

    My, how things have changed! I remember going to midnight Mass as a sixth-grade altar boy, riding my bike through the fog with my best buddy Mike. Totally cool to be that age and out on your own; of course, being out that late on base meant little in terms of our safety. We were in no danger, and we knew it. Our biggest concern was finishing off the sacramental wine after Mass! :)

    Now that I’ve read the Bible…well, I’m no longer religious. G’bye Catholicism, it was certainly interesting! You helped make me a homophobe, a bigot, a racist, an elitist, and a snotty-nosed caucasian asshole! Thanks for nothin’!

    My, how things have changed!

    Good on yer, Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings et al! You would not have been invited to my home when I was religious. You are now.

    -Peace!

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda, happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

    You’re right; when I was growing up it was God Save the Queen, the Lord’s Prayer, and the pledge of allegiance to flag, queen, and country every morning.

    But we are much more diverse now and need to back off from making assuming that everyone’s Christian.

    Congratulations to Staff Sergeant Rawlings for making the point and sticking to it.

    Yes, that sketchy menorah is a convenient place to attach a floodlight for the nativity scene.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda, happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

    Isn’t it against military regulations to deny the atheists on base a chance to use the chapel as a quiet room against or a chance to use another location for club meetings?

  • articulett

    Bravo!

    Thanks for keeping us posted!

  • Tim

    As for the lights and the “twice desecrated sign” — I am not an athiest (i tend to be a bit agnostic), but it has been noted by MANY people around that the athiest sign was the ONLY display that mocked all the others (your flying spaghetti monster mocks all faith). This is against EO regulations…frankly I think you made a mockery of your cause by putting that on your sign. I am surprised it hasn’t already come down.

    As for SSgt Rawlings – he probably would have gotten the same response had he spoken with leadership. You guys haven’t really done much to help the situation at all.

  • Se Habla Espol

    Tim says:

    it has been noted by MANY people around that the athiest sign was the ONLY display that mocked all the others (your flying spaghetti monster mocks all faith).

    By considering the arrogance of faith, one can see how the faithies might see FSM as mocking. But it’s also the arrogance of faith that prevents the same faithies from understanding how their nativity-myth idol is a mockery of reality.

  • Aquaria

    As for the lights and the “twice desecrated sign” — I am not an athiest (i tend to be a bit agnostic), but it has been noted by MANY people around that the athiest sign was the ONLY display that mocked all the others (your flying spaghetti monster mocks all faith). This is against EO regulations…frankly I think you made a mockery of your cause by putting that on your sign. I am surprised it hasn’t already come down.

    As for SSgt Rawlings – he probably would have gotten the same response had he spoken with leadership. You guys haven’t really done much to help the situation at all.

    Fuck you, and your sniveling concern.

  • Aquaria

    I am not an athiest (i tend to be a bit agnostic)

    Anyone who is stupid enough to say this doesn’t know what an atheist is, or what an agnostic is.

    Agnosticism is not some middle ground between atheism and theism, much as moronic douchebags like you think. The words tell you what they’re about:

    A-gnostic = without knowledge. You’re saying you don’t know if gods exist.

    A-theist= without belief. You’re saying that you lack belief in deities.

    That’s it.

    Nothing else.

    Either you know they exist or you don’t, but that is completely different from whether you believe they do or don’t, and vice versa.

    So atheists are usually agnostics as well, and only the people stupid enough to say things like “I’m a bit too agnostic to be an atheist”–when the terms aren’t part of a spectrum, but of knowledge v belief–are too dumb to know that.

  • articulett

    Tim @7

    Perhaps next time the theists will put baby Jesus on church grounds where it belongs; this way it doesn’t have to share space with flying spaghetti monsters or others symbols that make Christians uncomfortable.

    What a grand idea!

    Now why didn’t the Christians think of that?!

  • http://cincinatheist.blogspot.com Cincinatheist

    “(your flying spaghetti monster mocks all faith).”

    **GASP** I am a devout Pastafarian and your mocking of the venerated, central tenet of my faith by saying its purpose is just to mock other religions offends me.

    Happy Noodlemas.

  • FormerlyNavy

    @ Cincinatheist #12

    Priceless. Love it.

    @ Aquaria #9/10

    Thank you for the lesson. More people need to understand that.


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