Why American Atheists?

Accidents happen…

When I first jumped into the fray of activism for the atheist community I had no idea that there was such a broad dynamic. I feel pretty lucky I stumbled into American Atheists. And I do mean stumbled.

This whole ordeal came about for me by meandering into a situation where I had no idea what I was doing. My cousin(in-law?–W/E…not the important part), Britt, came out of the closet (or as some refer to it his “de-baptismal”) near the end of last year and began introducing me to some of his friends he had served with in the Air Force. Almost everyone he introduced me to was an atheist or a freethinker and the next three months were consumed with me debating each and every one of them. I realized for the first time that I wasn’t alone and I had only reached the tip of the iceberg.

Let me just clarify at this point that I had been an atheist for about 3 years. It was pretty exhilarating to say the least to find out there was a community of non-believers and that I wasn’t alone in my conclusion. It was in that time I accidentally stumbled onto Justin Griffith‘s facebook page and took part in some probably useless debate debunking theological claims.

The debate ended with Justin stepping in and stating that everyone needed to chill the fuck out and since the topic had nothing to do with military atheists to take it to another page. He then offhandedly said something about being the military director for American Atheists and I thought to myself, “Self, you’re in the military. You should friend request this guy.”

So I did.

How I got involved

While staying active in my small “militant atheist” community of friends I continued to pay attention to the things Justin had to write about (on here as a matter of fact) and I found it inspiring the difference he was trying to make in the military so I made a calculated move to come out to my unit as an atheist. I waited until my fitness report was completed and sent to Headquarters Marine Corps so that I could be sure the backlash would not affect my immediate career. As soon as I “came out” almost half my platoon followed my lead!

Initially the pushback was pretty much nil until I started planning for RBB2. All shit hit the fan and I was suddenly thrust into the forefront of the activist movement.

Get to the fucking point!

Got it!

So I made the announcement on here on a Saturday morning and spent the afternoon at the Orange County Freethought Alliance where I made the announcement in person. I met a lot of people and ended up meeting most of the people who have jumped on board as part of “Team Awesome” (I dubbed them so) who have helped me with the process of putting this event together.

I learned a lot about different groups within the freethinking community and exactly where I knew I would fit in. Now I’m not knocking the rest of you that play that “Don’t be a dick” card…but that’s my M.O.

American Atheists are the Marines of the Freethought movement and I’m…well I’m a fucking Marine. Who the hell else would I sign up with?! I am a dick and I am more than okay with that. The first speech I heard from Dave Silverman was him stating “I am a dick.” I could work for a guy like that (and I do).

So when people come across me and try to convince me to become a humanist or to play nice I just can’t get down with it. Not that it’s not effective in its own way but I’m the guy that nicknames people “Fuck you”…literally. I nicknamed one of my Marines that. Why would I be nicer to people I don’t like when that’s how I talk to a guy I do like?

-Paul Loebe

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  • Robin

    When you were growing up, I bet your report cards said “Does not play well with others” That’s OK, so did mine. I am not a dick, but I play to my strengths. I am The Queen B. Sometimes, a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do, and playing nice just doesn’t cut it. You hang in there, be respectful when possible, but get right in their face when need be.

  • Paul Loebe

    Thanks! As I said before that is my modus operandi. I try the tactful route first but I usually only go there once. After that I do what gets the job done.

  • Valorie Kappmeyer

    I also found the American Atheist first and glad I did. My first atheism anything was the Reason Rally and AA Convention earlier this year. I like what Dawkins said by calling out on specifics of their beliefs and challenge them. Owwwe, they don’t like that. My facebook “friends” are mainly people from my hometown in God fearing south Texas and I am now the devil. I still can’t believe people actually, really and truly, deep down believe in any of it. When I was growing up, I thought the entire town was crazy and it turns out I was right. I don’t know any other way to be other than militant. I think it’s directly related to God being pushed down my throat my entire life. Some say being nice is the only way to get people to think, but that’s just it. They don’t think-it’s not allowed. So whatever approach one takes is the approach they should take. I will leave the being “nice” to a nice atheist. They offend me and have for years, so I have no problem at dishing it right back.

  • Michael Kingsford Gray

    I would really like to know what caused you to delete all but one of the comments on the previous post without attribution?

    An if I don’t ask, I am left to speculate.

  • Ciaphas

    Michael Kingsford Gray,

    It looks like this blog has more than one author. The previous post was written by Justin Griffith, this one is by Paul Loebe so I don’t know if he can help.

    Paul Loebe,

    When I was in the Air Force someone would almost always come by to proselytize when I was on guard duty. They were very polite of course, but it didn’t occur to me until years later that a senior NCO, in uniform, shouldn’t be doing that to a captive audience. It never even occurred to me to try and do anything but it’s outstanding to see that people on active duty are doing something now.

  • Paul Loebe

    I’m not saying the nice way doesn’t work. I usually approach most situations without being a dick right away. But when that gets rebuffed I just stop pretending and start being me.

    @Michael Klingsford Gray

    I co-blog with Justin Griffith, who started this blog, and is in the Army. I didn’t get a chance to read his last entry but from his last comment that closed out all the others it appears that people were using that blog entry to post comments that were inflammatory and used as a staging point for verbal assault towards other prominent atheist bloggers in the blogosphere and thus he tired of the situation and rectified it by closing it to further debate.

    It sounds appropriate to me.

  • Za-zen

    Comment dump bad………..

  • Random
  • Michael Kingsford Gray

    I stand corrected, sir.

    I was merely attempting to garner some insight as to whether Justin had started taking commands from the mealy-mouthed puffy weak-kneed cowardly civilians such as Myers, PZ, and acting on them unilaterally.

    It certainly seems like it, given Justin’s unattributed deletion of comments (bar one) following an assumed email bollocking from the phony Oberstleutnant Myers, PZ.


  • Paul Loebe

    I, for one, have never met nor spoken to PZ Myers so I’m not even going to address those claims. I do know Justin and I can tell you he doesn’t take orders to cowardly bow out of anything. I have t asked but I’d bet he did it of his own accord.

    I could verify that but I feel it’s not worth my time.

  • julian

    Kingsford, if you’ve got the mouth to talk shit, you’d damn well be willing to put your ass on the line. Nasty little shits like you don’t seem to learn until they get their fucking teeth kicked in.

  • Ze Madmax

    “unattributed deletion of comments”?

    Like when Justin Griffith said:

    It’s also shameful to turn this into a chance to shit all over my peers, when you KNOW it bothers them. I asked for calm. I don’t want to have to learn how to ban etc. When I get driveby comments lobbed against me, I usually make them into a post and leave them up. You guys are spamming here at mindboggling pace. I can’t keep up, and it looks like I’m just giving you a platform to speak to my peers in ways you know I don’t like, and they don’t like. Keep that shit on ERV or whatever ‘new leaf’ you’ve got going from now on. I appreciate that you support me on other stuff, and I think you can continue to do so. I’ve got other issues to post about.

    (emphasis mine)

    Yeah, no explanation whatsoever. Justin Griffith must have been following orders from “Oberstleutnant* Myers.” It couldn’t have been because Justin realized his post had become a host for assholes who (like all assholes) do nothing but spew shit. Nope, must have been PZ Myers.

    *Even though Myers is American, so he’d be “Lt. Colonel Myers”… OH WAIT, German rank = Nazi hahaha you’re clever.

  • Paul Loebe

    Haha. I’m always amused at people leveling threats on the Internet. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Za-zen


    Julian is a hero…… He wishes all kinds a kinky stuff happens to you, involving muzzles asses and mouths, would love to linky ya to it but justin nuked the fucker.

  • julian

    You’re welcome. Hope you choke on it.

  • julian

    You really should reconsider my suggestion, Za-zen. Think of all the good you and your friends would do.

  • Za-zen

    I shall redirect you to PZ’s groin…. Go suckle lil boy.

    As for your wish that ” i and my friends” Die violently, i find that quite entertaining thankyou very much, whether as you assert it would make the world a better place is a very subjective complex question, in all likelihood, my departure would have zero impact upon any subjective good…… Complex reasoning that i don’t expect you to understand…… Furthermore i am fully aware of the beautiful insignificance of my life…..

    The fact that you wish suicide upon others demonstrates an over valuation of your own worth and existence. You shall die, and sooner than you think, thus it was thus it is thus it will be. Adieu.

  • Paul Loebe

    Yes, this is all very conducive towards intellectual discourse. Not that I’m always a nice guy but at least my dickishness has a point.

  • julian

    Furthermore i am fully aware of the beautiful insignificance of my life.

    You are a little snowflake. When you’re gone, the world will keep on turning.

    Yes, this is all very conducive towards intellectual discourse.


    Because that’s been the concern the whole time.

  • Paul Loebe

    I can’t stand cherry picking. I don’t even understand why you’re rambling.

    Do you have a point to anything you’re saying?

  • julian

    That any pretense of discussion at this point is a warped joke. A sick parody of what should be.

    Among other things as well.

    Anyway, I’d said I’d flounce in The Pit thread, so I should get on that.

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

    @5 – someone would almost always come by to proselytize when I was on guard duty

    Shouldn’t you have been guarding, not listening to some guy talking?

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

    @20 … It’s kinda like you walked in 5 minutes from the end of some action flick.

    The big KABOOMs and flames would take too long to explain.

  • Paul Loebe

    I’m slowly learning. I’m new to the game and people are filling me in.

  • quentinlong

    I love it when trolls make the case against themselves…

    MKG: How come you deleted a whole lot of comments?

    PL: [reads the post in question] Seems pretty clear to me… flaming assholes were using that comment thread as an excuse to be flaming assholes.


    How’s that foot-gun workin’ out for you, Mr. Gray?