When you pray…

I’m defending the Constitution

Something that is always entertaining to me is when I am forced to partake in prayer for a military ceremony or during a family day even right before they let you start eating.

I have found it amusing how other atheists and freethinkers have turned this event into an opportunity to find other like minded people. I honestly wasn’t even aware that this was an opportunity to be taken advantage of until someone from a Facebook group pointed this out to me.

Here’s how it works

So when everyone gets together and they utter the useless phrase “Let us pray” all you have to do is pretend to be a heathen. Keep your head up and just look around until you find someone staring back at you.

The first time I attempted this after learning about it was at a family day sometime last summer. There was a guy, Mike, who had just recently gotten out of the Marine Corps who happened to be waving his hands at me, making moronic faces, a few obscene gestures, and generally being sacrilegious during their little prayer time. I felt honored!

After the prayer I walked over to him and shook his hand and we exchanged some blasphemous jokes and had some fun at the expense of everyone else.  The both of us are generally well-liked among everyone we work with (yes, even the Christians) and they all took it in stride. It’s enjoyable to work in an environment where I am not required to censor myself. And even if I were I would probably buck the system.

What was that about the Constitution?

Oh yeah! So here’s the thing everyone talks about patriotism as being proud of your country and blah blah blah. Let me tell you that I have firsthand seen people who have devoted their entire lives to the military, civil service, and their country who were disgusting pieces of crap that were quite the opposite of patriots. Slapping a “support the troops” sticker on your car does not make you a patriot. Being proud to be an American does not make you a patriot. In fact none of the useless bullshit that is paraded around as patriotism is anywhere close to what true patriotism is.

What is patriotism?

Patriotism has nothing to do with pride and all to do with action. Not the action of serving your country. Any mindless dolt can do that for four years. It has nothing to do with exercising your free speech. Any mindless dolt can do that. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Know WHY you are doing those things. Read the Constitution and understand what it means to be free. Where did these values come from? It IS a godless constitution despite what the conservative rhetoric debates about these days. The man that penned it was a Deist who was abhorred by the Christian religion. In 1787 there was specifically made NO MENTION of a god for a reason in that document!

Where did these founders get the idea for a godless constitution? Many people can go back to John Locke or Montesquieu. You could even look at Roger Williams who was the founder of Rhode Island. He was a priest who was run out of other states in New England by the Puritans because he thought the worst possible form of government was a theocratic one. He founded the first state to have the separation of church and state…or so you would be led to believe.

The American Indians actually had the first democratic form of government that was not inhibitive towards an individual based on their religion. Ben Franklin even looked up to them and stated that we should strive to be like them. So the next time you are happy you live in a free country; a representative democracy; a place of religious freedom…go to your nearest Native American tribe and thank them. Oh wait! They all live on reservations because they were hunted down, raped, and murdered by the Anglo-saxon Christians. Nevermind!

-Paul Loebe

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  • CT

    Love that image! Great article.

  • James

    This has been my MO for 24 years. Sometimes the people who have “outted” themselves in this way have surprised me.

    “Slapping a “support the troops” sticker on your car does not make you a patriot.” No. No, it doesn’t. But Zeus help you here in Kensucky if you don’t have something on your car proclaiming a) your love of Jésus, b) your support of “our” troops, c) your 2nd amendment rights and d) your hubris as it pertains to ‘Merica.

  • dogeared, spotted and foxed

    That’s how I met my best friend at summer camp! During the dinner prayer, we caught each other looking around. We were kids, not brave enough to pull faces but there was the same thrill of silently communicating “You too? Cool!”

    When we could get away from other people, we’d have these meandering talks about how we believed in God but maybe not all the way. A year later, I was a full-on, baptized, born again Christian.* I’ve always wondered if going back to being alone in lack of faith contributed to my very public conversion. (Which didn’t last into adulthood.)

    We’re social animals and not everyone is a rebel. Creating a space for non-believers is so important and I have tremendous respect for the work you do.

  • iariese

    “It IS a godless constitution despite what the conservative rhetoric debates about these days. The man that penned it was a Deist who was abhorred by the Christian religion.”

    The Declaration of Independence was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson (a Deist), but was edited and “improved” by a small committee that included Ben Franklin (also a Deist). TJ was NOT pleased by many of the the changes.

    The Constitution was written by the members of the Constitutional Convention held in Philly, PA.- Jefferson was not among them as he was in Paris at this time. The members who attended the Convention ran the gamut of political and religious thought. Madison (who distrusted/disliked organized religion)gives us our best view of the proceedings, but it was specifically requested that detailed Minutes not be kept.

    George Manson of Virginia (Declaration of Rights of Virginia)was influential in getting the Bill of Rights added to the Constitution. As a delegate to the Convention, he did not sign the Constitution since the document did not sufficiently oppose slavery or safeguard individual rights – hence the first 10 Amendments to correct the second issue.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    I remember when the Chaplain would come by as my platoon would prepare to go out on patrol. I had no problem with it, but I made sure it was during times when my Soldiers had the option to do other stuff. You can go pray, but you can also run to the chow hall and grab some energy drinks or something for the road. Or you could do what I did and check the map, verify my radios got loaded right, or go into the TOC for a final check on route conditions or other stuff.

    It’s way to easy a thing to do really.

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    *too. Damn autocorrect.

  • hkdharmon

    Maybe while they are all praying, all the military atheists could take lookout positions near the doors.

    Full Disclosure: I know nothing about military life.

  • Paul Loebe

    @iariese Thank you! I learned something from that that I didn’t know. Good shit!

    @hkdharmon You’re damn right! If some fool ever started praying once he got shot at I’d slap the shit outta him. Never seen that because I don’t think anyone is that outright stupid.

    by the by….almost half my platoon is atheist. 8 out of the 11 combat vets are atheists. I found that startlingly funny.

    No atheists in foxholes my ass!

  • James

    Good one, hkdharmon.

    Full disclosure: we could tell by the way you said “lookout positions”. :)

  • Tx Skeptic

    The funnest place to do Atheist spotting in a crowd at prayer time, is in a church. When I’ve attended my former church with my still believing wife, I have spotted several others looking around. Undoubtedly they’re there for the same reason I am.

    Weddings and funerals are especially fertile ground. And it’s a bonus round if they serve communion, cause then the ones left behind in the pews are the ones that don’t give a damn if everyone else knows your a heathen.

  • beerijuana

    This blog post reminds me of…

    http://farleftside.com/2010/7-12-2010.jpg

  • julian

    Haven’t prayed during a formation yet. Only got snatched up once by a Sgt who went on to threaten me with article 134. Called his bluff and nothing ever came of it.

    Ben Franklin even looked up to them and stated that we should strive to be like them.

    From what little I remember of history class this was actually a backhanded compliment he was paying. Franklin was more annoyed with his fellow white men than he was complimenting the local savages.

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    You may be surprised who you meet this way.

    I am a conservative evangelical, and I never bow my head during prayer at sporting events, university functions, etc. I have no interest (nor see any applicable biblical mandate) in participating in public collective prayer–even if I admired the person offering it, which often I do not. And I know other Christians who feel the same way.


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