Lake Elsinore, California gives the finger to Foxhole Atheists!



I’m all about freedom of expression and freedom of speech! In fact I wholly support someone disagreeing with my view and giving me the finger if they truly feel that I am in the wrong. However….this goes far beyond freedom of expression.

The City Council at Lake Elsinore have decided that a monument should be erected to honor veterans. This monument has passed with unanimous consent of the council and will be placed on public property. There’s only one problem with this: it’s a Christian monument masquerading under the guise of patriotism.

According to the city legislature of Lake Elsinore there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing. In fact they’re not denigrating the 39% of my platoon that are foxhole atheists. No! They’re honoring us! That’s right. We should be thankful that they’re honoring us with a Christian cross and a Star of David symbol on a Veteran’s Memorial on public property. Oh I feel so privileged….

Not only is this monument to ALL veterans it is being paid for by tax dollars and displayed in front of a baseball field that is owned by the city. I would explain the easy way to get away with this and have them legally put up the sectarian symbol….but then they might start reading my blog and I don’t want to make them feel guilty for helping fund atheist and secular charities (100% of the proceeds of this blog go to charity). So I’ll just stick with my strategy of stopping them instead.

Councilman Brian Tisdale, a retired Marine, had this to say:

It was simply meant to be a historical representation.

I’m guessing he was still in the Marines when the unofficial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that was aimed towards religion was still enforced. Oh wait! I’m living that now…guess I’m just progressive enough to be ahead of the times.

Another member of the city council committee member, JD Vanik, had this to say:

This country has never run away from a fight, and I don’t think the city should because we’re being bullied by a small group of people who have no respect for what has been done (by veterans).

Yeah, it sounds real tough. I can imagine just how bad the bullying must be for you Christians. I mean after all you’ve ONLY had 44 Presidents as your Commander-In-Chief…wait a minute.

Well you do claim over 70% of the nation as part of your religious preference so that vast minority must be electing a whopping amount of non-christians. The thing is….it’s a manufactured crisis. Just like Benghazi, the debt ceiling, and Christians in the military being afraid to profess Christianity.

It’s a losing battle because we have and have always had the Constitution on our side. The fundamentalists know this and they are biting back hard because it’s the only thing they know to do because they’ve always done it.

Well guess what!

[error]Just because it’s been done that way for a long time doesn’t make it right. The Constitution is our King in this country. Liberty is our religion in America. And no matter how loud these fundies protest, “We The People” will always win![/error]

Since this is an obvious error of Constitutional judgment I wrote an email to the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and Council members. This is what it read:

Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and Honored Councilmembers,

As a decorated combat veteran with multiple tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan I am deeply offended and hurt by the fact that you would seek to exclude the efforts and sacrifice that I have made for my country. It is not just myself, or the nearly 21% of the military who claim to be non-religious, but also those of minority faiths who you greatly insult and misrepresent.

You claim that it is historical in context but that in itself is a lie perpetuated by false historians like David Barton. A lie that you need to rid yourself of. The founding of this nation was not based upon the credulous notion that we were a “christian nation” but was in fact guided by the notion of religious liberty.

Liberty! Liberty is a word I live and die by and the fact that you like to associate that with Christianity, and Christianity alone, wounds me deeply. Many of my fellow atheist service members have given their lives while deployed on the same battlefields I have traveled on. Your inclusion of only one (well, now two) religious symbols shows sectarian favoritism and is, despite your protestations of the accusations, in fact quite illegal. It is nothing short of a state endorsement of Christianity and an affront to the foxhole atheists that died to give you the privilege of democracy and freedom.

You may disregard this message if you wish but I assure you it will be made public and my fellow foxhole atheists will be in touch.

Please do reconsider, for the sake of the Constitution of the United States of America for which I have dedicated my life to defending.

Very Respectfully,

Paul Loebe

Military Director

American Atheists, Inc.

Tarry not long

I have yet to receive a response from them. I wrote the email to all five and their addresses are readily available through a public search. I am strongly against publishing personal information so if there’s any consternation throw it aside. If you want to write them yourself here are their email addresses:

Robert Magee, Mayor –>

Natasha Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem –> 

Daryl Hickman, Councilmember –>

Steve Manos, Councilmember –>

Brian Tisdale, Councilmember –>


I plan on contacting the local government there today on the phone. This is NOT an issue that should be taken up in court, wasting even more taxpayer dollars, wasting the resources of the secular community, and wasting the time arguing over a religious symbol when the community could be working together.

You can contact them as well!

The number to reach the city council is  (951) 674-3124. At this time I would urge you to reach out and call them. I know I will be. If they don’t answer at the number listed you can check out the link listed above or here.

When I find out new contact information I will update the blog as I find out.


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  • Toni Weir

    Paul, have you contacted Americans United for Separation of Church and State or Freedom From Religion?

    I think they would be interested in this case.

    Also, not only are these people Christian bigots, they are uneducated as well. The use of the word “whom” on the monument is grammatically incorrect! All in all, wonderful representatives of the people they serve.

    I am so tired of people who willfully don’t get it.

    Keep up the good work.


  • It would be trivial to replace the sectarian cross with a completely nonsectarian rifle-helmet-boot configuration, an instantly recognizable tribute to a fallen soldier.

    • Paul Loebe

      Precisely! They couldn’t put an instantly reconizable veterans symbol that is recognized the world round. Nope! It’s gotta be a cross.

  • xenubarb

    the mayor’s email bounced cuz the link you provided spelled ‘elsinore’ wrong.

    • Paul Loebe

      Sorry, I can’t fix the link. I don have a computer during the day.

  • xenubarb

    “This country has never run away from a fight, and I don’t think the city should because we’re being bullied by a small group of people who have no respect for what has been done (by veterans).”

    Now, this is the kind of doubletalk dubbed “duckspeak” in the book 1984. In this sentence, this jackass somehow manages to portray himself as the hero for veterans and their accomplishments, at the same time calling us a “small group of people who have no respect for what has been done by veterans.


    YOU are the ones disrespecting us! Anyone wanna go up to Elsinore and wave some signs, make some noise?

  • steve84

    The nauseating over-the-top patriotism aside, all they had to was use a battlefield cross (rifle, helmet + boots) or a nondescript headstone (like they have at Arlington now). And no one would have said anything.

  • rikitiki

    Do elected officials have the same kind of oath-of-office as I did when I was in the Marine Corps?

    You know, the one that contains the phrase where you pledge to “defend the Constitution from all

    enemies, foreign and domestic”

    If so (and someone should research this), they are not doing their jobs and should resign

    or have the fact spread publicly far and wide.

  • rikitiki

    Oh, and if so, they are the domestic enemies.

  • tubi

    Not to be that guy, but if the image above includes the actual text of the monument’s message, shouldn’t it be “WHO BY THEIR SERVICE…” and not WHOM?

    They should take it down for that alone, notwithstanding the fact that it is offensive and illegal.

  • culuriel

    At this point people who put religious symbols on public property are just doing to manufacture their own persecution scenario that they can then use for publicity. As reluctant as we should be to give them attention, civil liberties/separation groups should make that attention very expensive for shameless attention wh0res to attain.

  • rikitiki

    Found this for the city of Manteca, CA – if this is the same for ALL California cities,

    then these folks are domestic enemies of the Constitution and are clearly

    violating their oath of office and should be loudly called on it:

    “I ________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”

  • I am not a soldier, but it strikes me that if the helmet+rifle+boots symbol is to be considered genuinely non-sectarian, perhaps there ought to be a better name for it than ‘battlefield cross’?

    Maybe there already is one, and I just haven’t heard of it.