The New Foxhole Atheists are starting strong! Just hours ago I posted about an Air Force NCO who refuses to bow her head for Jesus. Shortly thereafter, that post generated a reply from a brand new foxhole atheist – fresh out of boot camp (congrats!)
In Army Boot Camp at Ft. Jackson this spring, the chaplain would come around periodically and have a prayer with the company. I would never bow my head or close my eyes. Strangely, the only others that I saw when looking around that didn’t have their heads bowed or eyes closed either were the Drill Sergeants. I don’t know if that was because they were keeping a watch out for shenanigans or that we had a bunch of non-religious Drill Sergeant’s.
Nothing was ever said even though they obviously did notice me doing this.
The prayers didn’t make me angry. What did make me angry was at the first chaplain’s brief the following was said (verbatim – I wrote it down): “If you don’t fear God you will live your life in a terrible way.”
You’re awesome, soldier! I give you +1 ARPANET.
I think the only minor difference for me is that eventually, the incessant and unconstitutional prayers started to make me angry… no matter what the chaplain says. Even chaplains that I like. Illegal is illegal. I look around and I see others, but I no longer take comfort. I’m now looking around wondering why the fuck the 4 or 5 of us don’t file complaints / lawsuits etc. And I wonder when others at every other military unit may finally take this stand. For years though, I expressed a similar attitude as you.
Just like when school prayer was still unchallenged in the public school system, there were plenty of quiet students refusing to pray – looking around the room. It was still illegal. It still needed someone to stand up and stop it. It’s going to take the right case to get the ball rolling for the US Military, but there are legal teams ready and waiting. Not everyone can do this, for various reasons. Eventually though, we will have this battle. Again and again if we have to.