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!
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?