To whomever you are. There may be some confusion on what it’s like to be an atheist in the military. Don’t worry! That is okay. I understand. I was a bigoted Christian when I joined the military, too. Fortunately, I’ve learned what it’s like to not judge people based upon some false notion of truth. I’m willing to extend an invitation to you in helping understand that bigotry is wrong. So is lying and intentionally misleading people. Although, I understand mistakes can be made.
These series of letters will not be the typical “Dear John” letters that have become infamous as part of the military culture. Most “Dear John” letters result in a soldier, Marine, or sailor finding out that a serious romantic relationship has been severed. I promise not to severe our relationship, whomever you may be. You could be in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, or the Coast Guard. You could be active duty, reserve, retired, or a veteran. You could be a wireman, an infantryman, a jet mechanic, a fighter pilot, or a brig guard.
I know you’re confused that atheists choose to serve our country. I know you’re confused that we openly serve. I also know you are confused because you feel like we foxhole atheists not believing is an insult to your belief. That’s okay. You’re entitled to your feelings.
I’m going to address some issues that have been running through the minds of some believers. I’ll be as smooth as I can because I know your intellectual capacity is dwarfed by that of a raccoon.
Recently there have been some questions at to what happened to Justin Griffith. His rather ambiguous departure was due in large part to…doing his damn job! Sometimes, when we don this uniform we are required to make sacrifices. So he had to sacrifice the amount of time he was able to put in to blogging and activism because he enjoys being a soldier. Part of that sacrifice was to go on a recruiting tour. A tour which requires him to work 7 days a week, and almost 365 days a year. There! Mystery solved. Don’t you feel a little more well-informed?
I would sure hope so. Whew! I’m a great detective.
The Separation of Church and State
Next, I suppose I should address something that should have been explained to you in elementary school. It’s called the Constitution of the United States of America. Sadly, we see how much the public education system has degraded since your having been born. I even hyperlinked it so you can look into it for yourself. It asserts the separation of church and state. Here this quote might do good to inform you how far to the right religious extremism has come in the last 60 years.
I Believe in an America Where the Separation of Church and State is Absolute
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
September 12, 1960
A Catholic President said that. Let’s compare that to a current-day Catholic Rick Santorum’s reaction to the Kennedy speech
Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up
Ah yes…the degradation of society as led by the religious right….
Perhaps if you’d like to stay a little more well-informed you could invest some time into reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers (they were written by proponents and opponents of the Constitution back in the late 1780’s – I think they’d know more about the vision of the US Constitution than both you and I)
Here are some links to free or $0.99 downloadable Kindle versions! I have them on my Kindle and have read them cover to metaphorical digital cover!!!
All of this is leading somewhere….
I’ve heard there’s been some whiney diatribes running rampant through the internet about how it’s so unfair and stupid to have an atheist monument. Well, John, there’s a reason for it. American Atheists is not merely an organization that promotes atheism. No! They are actually an atheist organization concerned about the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. I do believe that’s in their “about” section, part of their mission statement, and pretty much what every single lawsuit they put forward is about. Maybe you honestly didn’t know.
The reason for the Atheist Monument was, in fact, to ensure that having the 10 Commandments on public property did not appear as a state-sponsorship of one particular religion. In fact we’d be delighted if the Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Pastafarians, Bahai, Hindu, Jains, Zoroastrians, Confucians, Shinto, Scientologists, Jedi, and the Sith would put up their own monuments! That would be TRUE equality — something you are more than likely against.
When Dave got mad at Hovind for jumping up on our monument, it wasn’t due to the fact that it was just him getting on top of it. In fact Dave would probably get a kick out of it. It’s just a granite slab after all. Nope, that wasn’t why. Mr Hovind decided to do this during the celebration of unveiling the monument. That’s just disrespectful and rude. It would be like me taking a piss on the parade deck during a promotion ceremony because I don’t like the person being promoted.
Dave Silverman jumped up here, not during the unveiling of the 10 commandment monument, but after the unveiling of our own. Yes, he waited, and respected, the Christians by not interrupting their own coronation of their big stone holding 4 moral codes (none of which include prohibiting rape or protecting kids) and 6 about how god wants you to stroke his ego.
Common decency is not a common virtue.
Yep! That’s me. I’m the Military Director at American Atheists (now). I’m in cahoots with some of the most reviled people in America. I’m okay with that. At least they know how to interpret the Constitution properly. Why do you think we nasty atheists celebrated the win of the Supreme Court case against DOMA?
I’m hoping we can continue this dialogue in the future, John.
With That Unconditional Love You So Often Preach About,