Really, Fort Bragg…Salvation Army is okay, but not atheists?

When Fort Bragg denied our plan to collect canned food at the recent Rock Beyond Belief festival, the news went viral, and was even front-paged at reddit. If you haven’t read it already, you really should take a look at that article. I broke down the regulations that their lawyers were ‘creatively interpreting’ in their pro-starvation policy.

But look what just popped up in my email box.

That’s right…

Fort Bragg says it’s okay for the controversial and discriminatory Salvation Army to feed homeless people. But when atheists do it, it’s an illegal fundraiser. It’s like they thought we were going to deposit canned food in our bank accounts. That’s not how a ‘food bank’ works.

I’m going to find out more next week. On the surface, this looks bad. In the end, I’d hate for homeless people to go unfed. So I’m not trying to stop them. I’m trying to augment their efforts! Well, not their anti-gay efforts, clearly… I’d love to stomp those out.

The Military Atheists & Secular Humanists: Fort Bragg ended up raising around $5,000 and lots of canned food at the American Atheists after party (and a good chunk at this blog). Today’s MASH Fort Bragg organizational meeting was very fruitful. We’re done with the logistics portion on how to deliver such a large amount of food at once. All of those details will be forthcoming with plenty of photos, naturally.

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  • Steve

    It’s ok because they’re a church. Literally

  • Seriously? WTF Fort Bragg?!

  • Aliasalpha

    You can’t feed the homeless too often or they turn into cheeky little brown monsters that reproduce like mad when they get wet and… I MIGHT be getting that mixed up with a movie I saw once.

    But yeah, fucked up. Any way of finding out when the salvation army thing was booked? If it was before you guys were turned down then thats bad, if its after then its flat out insulting, probably intentionally

  • ursulamajor

    “Community” and “charity” are two of the biggest draws for churches and they’ll be damned if atheists will be allowed to advertise that they have either.

  • James

    I thought it was okay because it’s an army … of salvation. A “salvation army”, if you will.

  • Mandamus

    I just had a thought. It’s about stopping you from making atheists look good. We’re baby eating devil worshipers and to hell with anything that might change that opinion in the public view.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    At this point, I am tempted (as a non-military person from a military family) to write a letter directly to the Commander In Chief. It is clear that the chain of command at Ft. Bragg is hopelessly corrupt and hell-bent (sic) on violating their oaths to defend the Constitution.

    Not that President “That Might Possibly Be Perceived As Somewhat Controversial By Someone” would take any action, mind you.

  • James

    ^^ Yes! Let’s actually eat a baby! I’ll bet long pig, especially long pig “veal”, is delish!

  • Uh-hu, a little G-2 on this uncovers a sneaky little Christian proselytizing scheme masking itself as secular until you get inside and see what it’s about (a sort of cyber Trojan Horse tactic; make it look benign until you open up its cargo) …

    To wit: the website shown on that ad “” ( ) in its links under “Army School” has a link “Best Schools & Boot Camps,” which links to the Christian based Crosscreek operation based out of Utah that has been sued by parents for child abuse; ie:

    “… the Cross Creek Programs’ culture of bullying and harassment, where staff members physically and mentally abuse students, tell rape victims that they are “asking for it” and use gay slurs.

    Cross Creek is just one of a number of programs affiliated with the Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP). Many of these schools have been shut down because of documented abuse”

    And one for Jerry Falwell’s fundamentalist Christian university out of Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University (online) …

    “Liberty University has offered convenient military-friendly education for the courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our great country. Honoring those who serve is at the core of who we are: Christ-centered educators who strive to impact the world and workplace.”

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

    Is it collecting donations (which you wanted to do), or is it dishing up chow at their food line?

    The pictures look like it’s chow-dishing.

  • Robin

    It does look like they might be looking for volunteers to go off base to a kitchen. If I lived in the area I’d get a bunch of my friends, all wearing T-shirts from the Dawkins foundation, and participate!

  • navonjohnson

    i would get a posse together with atheist t-shirts and go volunteer with them.

  • F

    Well, not their anti-gay efforts, clearly… I’d love to stomp those out.

    Please feel free to stomp any of those hand-bells they use when soliciting pocket change in public as well.

  • sundoga

    I hate to say this, but I think you’re going to have to oppose them on this. Or at least fully register your opposition officially.

    The Salvation Army tends to get a pass on many of their actions because of their charitable works. Unfortunately, they use those works as the end of the chisel, first using the charitable aspects to open the way, then pressing on with less positive actions – and if you object then, they bring up the fact that you didn’t before, denigrating your efforts by pointing out “you didn’t object to our religious nature when we were doing things you agreed with.” I’ve seen them use exactly those tactics to establish a presence in organizations and places they would normally be excluded from.

    Of course, if you oppose what’s seen as charitable activity, you’ll get a lot of flack. I suspect that’s nothing new, though.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    This article says the ‘BOSS’ group started monthly volunteering at the Salvation Army soup kitchen in January 2012:

    They’re also volunteering at a nonreligious food bank:

    These activities all fall under the “feed homeless people” category, and it seems like a silly fine line to have between ‘collect food donations’ vs ‘process food donations’ and ‘serve food donations’.

    But if the rules are (or are being interpreted to be) that you can’t collect any money or any physical items that could hypothetically be exchanged for money (because of course atheists are so untrustworthy that they’d sell food donations, right?), then there is technically a difference.

  • iknklast

    ” We’re baby eating devil worshipers”

    Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe they thought we’d feed the homeless with (Christian) babies, thus turning them all into baby eating devil worshipers.

    Seriously, the problem with allowing atheists to feed the homeless is that feeding the homeless is one way the churches make converts. They give that warm fuzzy feeling, hold their hands, and then, zing, they’re hooked. Can’t have the atheists giving a warm, fuzzy feeling to the homeless, because then we might have a contingency of homeless atheists – and we all know what power the homeless have, right? Right? They don’t? Oh, never mind…

  • Is there any way for the fort to turn this into a secular event with the SA helping? Or is it at one of their regular feeding stations?

    Leaving aside the President, who’s busy, who’s the logical commander to enforce actual law-abiding in policy?