Visual representation of atheists fighting for equality and winning

This is a before and after shot documenting the rapid changes the commanders at Travis Air Force Base are implementing. I made Dan Rawlings’ quite legitimate ‘Let there be light…’ complaint public on Wednesday morning. The picture at the bottom represents Wednesday night.

Click to embiggen.

Foxhole atheists

are demanding


at every step.

This year, we

started winning.

(Tuesday night on Top; Wednesday night on Bottom)

American Atheists just donated the sign to Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings last week. It was rejected, and for deceitful reasons. When that failed to silence the media attention, they reversed their decision (the next day!) Since then, the atheist sign has been censored, vandalized twice, and had its bright lights confiscated.

I want to point out that the lit tree is not part of the series of displays, so please spare the obvious comment. And to those who are new to the story, only a week ago there was no atheist sign at all.

We kept fighting and winning. However, the situation continues to worsen at Fort Campbell Kentucky, where atheists are not permitted to wish you a safe holiday season.  Also, you can probably see the Kentucky nativity from outer space.

This is yet another reminder to all the fledgling startup atheist groups on military bases… stick to your guns. Things can change, sometimes very fast.

Festival Reminder: Service Members, veterans, and civilians should start planning their trips to the first atheist festival on a military base. This thing is going to be massive, and it’s coming up soon – March 31st, 2012 @ Fort Bragg, NC.

Richard Dawkins is the keynote speaker, but there are many others including great music and children’s activities from Camp Quest. Dawkins tends to max out the capacity wherever he goes, but the large outdoor venue at Fort Bragg will not have this problem. Did I mention it’s free?

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  • LJ

    Make the next sign out of string lights

  • articulett


  • There’s no larger image under your small one. Please re-upload a big copy of the image and then re-size it for the blog post. Then clicking on it should get us the larger image.

  • Justin Griffith

    @Markita Lynda #3

    Thank you! Right you were… stupid wordpress error messed me up.

    All better.

  • brianwestley

    Justin, just thought you might like to know that beliefnet had a story about this yesterday, but it was way out of date; if you for travis afb, you can still get the defunct link:

    Basically, their story was about the initial MRFF complaint that the religious displays should be by the chapel instead of the main entrance.

    I submitted a comment, with a link to your blog of everything tagged for “Travis AFB”, saying how out-of-date the story already was (and how the original seemed to be blaming atheists), and later the whole story was gone.

  • Ripberger

    Out of curiosity, could a base commander legally get away with banning all religious and non-religious displays on base? That may sound like the “coward’s way out,” but it would bring an end to these sort of issues.

    It amazes me to no end that few people truly understand the First Amendment and common decency. If the Christian display was vandalized, there would be an uproar and cries of discrimination, yet no one speaks out when the atheist display is damaged. Where is the empathy? Atheist U.S. soldiers fight for the right of every U.S. citizen, including Christians, to observe their faith/beliefs. Why deny the fundamental rights of atheists to express their beliefs? Sigh (facepalm)

  • brianwestley

    And now the beliefnet article is mysteriously back — though you might notice the URL doesn’t quite match the headline:

    “Air Force base will keep its nativity scene”

    Also there’s no sign of my comment.

  • Justin Griffith

    They kinda operate like that.

    They switched owners early this year at Beliefnet. I tried to get them to comment on a story that they were actually a part of. They called me back saying “we’ll get back to you.”

    Take a look at the hideous Virtual Spiritual Fitness Center website.

    I’ve done a few articles on it illustrating how controversial it is, and how it doesn’t jive with the Army’s official line about the spiritual fitness testing. They claim it’s not about religion, that spiritual = team spirit or human spirit.

    It’s had stale beliefnet articles since it was born. But now they don’t even update it once a month anymore. I think a script stopped working – or the guy who knew how to work the website got moved to another military base.

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