Dear John Letters….

dear-john-letter

 Dear John

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.

Justin Griffith

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!!!

Federalist Papers

Anti-Federalist Papers

All of this is leading somewhere….

The Atheist Monument

davestarke

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.

Nope. ——-

silverman

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.

Paul Loebe

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,

Me :-)

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About Paul Loebe
  • Kathleen Duncan Johnson

    I enjoyed the heck out of this..

  • Jason Rooney

    Just came across your blog here and read a few entries. I do find your work interesting. I’m not quite sure what to make of you yet though.

    First impression? You content is witty, humourous, and fairly enjoyable to read. I (personally) appreciate sarcasm as a means of making a point. Earnestly, the actual points you make in your work make me uncomfortable though. I’ll reserve the reasons for which for another time. But, I used to consider myself an atheist not all that long ago… and I do believe I would have enjoyed your blog slightly more back then. (Naturally – as I would have found you to be more of a like mind.)

    I “dig” the aggressive type of humour you employ to make your arguments. But, you do come off as pretty arrogant – and I suppose that can be off-putting to some people. Maybe a lot of people. ;) But, that is (inconsequentially) subjective, no? I have been indicted with ARROGANCE myself – on many occasions! I tend to consider this as an effect of my “A-type” (or however you’d prefer to call it) personality. But, “So what!?” ;) Maybe I’m a little more aggressive and a little more comfortable with confrontation than most people… can that truly be called a character flaw?

    If that is the case… and commonly perceived arrogance in ourselves by others denotes a character flaw… perhaps you have the same flaw? ;)

    In any case, I did want to make a simple observation.

    You said, in this piece, that you were once a “bigoted Christian” when you joined the military. And you directly tied your self-diagnosed bigotry with judging “people based upon some false notion of truth.” As a former Christian, do you not find it interesting how you “demonize” your former self? Surely, if you have come from a “religious” background, you recall hearing many so-called “testimonies”? Stories of how people transformed from evil worldly pagans – to faithful believers in the Resurrected Christ? The similarity is significant, between you proclaiming the superiority of your discovery of atheistic truth to the theist’s tale of how they “got saved.”

    It seems an essential element to the “conversion story” these days however. Though I am not sure that (objectively speaking) it does much to build one’s credibility when they boldly and angrily proclaim how evil and stupid they once were… and how much gooder and smarter they are now. ;)

    After all, if you are still growing in character and acquiring new data to challenge
    your former ignorance(s) – perhaps you will say the same thing 10 years from now about your current self? Unless of course your character has been perfected already – and you are omniscient as well! ;)

    This is just a simple suggestion – but… try not to be so hard on yourself. (Former self or current self… it is, after all, only a matter of the squares on the ever advancing calendar!)

    In closing… as I say to all my friends suffering from what currently ails you…

    “Get well!” :)

    SEMPER FIDELIS

    • Paul Loebe

      This letter is directed at a specific individual.


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