PZ does ‘it’…? By ‘it’ I mean ‘PZ supports the troops’, and not just his son who is an officer in the US Army.
Paul Loebe is a foxhole atheist in the United States Marine Corps. Paul is leading a small group of people toward the front line of a subterranean culture war that the evangelicals have been waging in the US Military for decades. That small group is growing. PZ Myers joined the lineup for Rock Beyond Belief 2 in San Diego, CA – Summer 2013.
I thought that the first festival might also end up being the last one. When I demanded equal treatment to the massive 2010 evangelical festival at Fort Bragg, I fought hard for it but eventually got it 18 months later. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) are no longer doing their awful missionary work on military bases. The problem is the solution – we win!
Then why are we doing a second festival?
We were naive to think BGEA was the only game in town. Paul Loebe gave us a glimpse of the end-times nutters at the organization known as Armor of Light. It’s like Harold Camping has taken over a military base, one unit at a time. Armor of Light sponsored these recent events (and this is a small sample).
“Jane Wayne Day event” 11 May 2012.
HLMA prayer breakfast event on 5 May 2012.
1st Intel Battalion event on 13 April 2012.
Christian concert feat. headliner MercyMe on Edson Range on 26 June 2011.
Christian concert feat. headliner MercyMe on Del Mar Beach on 27 July 2009.
It’s clear that Camp Pendleton has an even bigger problem than Fort Bragg. We feel that no organizations (atheist included) should have festivals and events on this scale. The only thing that keeps them legal is the concept of limited public forum. Basically, if the US Government offers support to one religious preference – they have to support all of them. Nobody else ever asks for massive support. It’s always the evangelicals, and never moderates or minority religious demographics. So they get away with murder by simply promising ‘to support any other group’.
The foxhole atheists have had about enough of this. We’re in this bizarre culture of shame and fear that often has dangerous and absurd consequences that are far above and beyond the average civilian atheist’s experiences (not trivializing that either.) Our place in the greater atheist movement is riddled with jargon and red tape – making it very difficult to even communicate these problems to would-be supporters. Richard Dawkins said it well at our first festival:
Our Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request has not been responded to by USMC personnel, but they are technically still within their 20 working-day processing wait-time. There are legal battles that may need to be fought. Paul is already taking extreme heat from supervisors who were nervously flailing and attempting harsh intimidation tactics. He didn’t flinch. All they really need to do is relax and then call Fort Bragg to ask how this is done. We’re not going away.
Support the troops. PZ does it. So should you. Here is how you can support us in San Diego:
Summer 2013 – free festival – child care provided via Camp Quest – open to the public!
If you can’t make it, spread the word. We are all volunteers on shoestring budgets. We don’t have money for much advertising. Reddit / blogs / facebook / stumbleupon etc. – that’s our outreach.
We get a lot of media attention, some of it good, but more often than not it’s just Fox News stirring up the rednecks. I’ve been threatened with death, the death of my family, violence, and someone even publicly wished rape upon all of us at American Atheists. So please, help spread the word over the next year or so – all you have to do is click on things. You know you love clicking on shit!