Al Stefanelli Joins the lineup

Al Stefanelli Joins the lineup February 25, 2011

Fort Bragg has signaled that they are all but finalized with their approval of our event. We are eager to stop stringing along so many great guests for a pretty cool opportunity to speak on a military base. The extensive process of being approved necessitated this situation, and now that we seem to have locked in a date, we have lost two of our guests due to scheduling conflicts: Eugenie Scott, and MelodySheep. We sincerely thank each of them for lending us their names and supporting the military’s foxhole atheists, and we wish them the best!

Luckily, we have excellent additions to the lineup that we have been seeking out for a while. Al Stefanelli is one of the first people to champion our cause, and we are proud to have him speak at Rock Beyond Belief. On December 22nd, 2010 I came home from work appalled at the mandatory Spiritual Fitness testing and remedial training that I had just completed. The Soldier Fitness Tracker / Global Assessment Tool said that I failed to be Spiritually Fit, and recommended that I call a mental therapy / suicide hotline, directed me over to several hours of required religious themed Spiritual Fitness modules, and offered the following assessment of me:

Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful…

I posted about my experience that same night, and my server positively exploded. Two days later, we came back online and luckily Al Stefanelli had bore the brunt of the flood, with his first well written article receiving nearly two million views in two days. Ever since, Al has been releasing a plethora of articles about the situation as it develops with an industrial proficiency. The public pressure has already had a noticeable effect, with one or two of the smoking guns now missing from the site. Though hundreds still exist, and new ones seem to be popping up all the time – like the ‘Virtual Spiritual Fitness Center‘ (not a joke!) Al has consistently been on the case, since the beginning.

Al Stefanelli has been a writer and journalist since 1993, starting out as a weekly columnist for a McClatchy Newspaper where he wrote a column called ‘Think About It’ for ten years. His work won a North Carolina Journalism award. Al also produced and hosted the weekly syndicated radio broadcast “Millennium” for three years. Al currently writes for the National Atheism Examiner and Associated Content and his work has appeared in numerous publications, news feeds and has been widely distributed throughout the web. His is the author of “A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World – The Rise Of Atheism On The Planet Earth,” which will be published in April, which hopefully will be available for sale in time for Rock Beyond Belief. He also currently co-hosts the FM broadcast “Reap Sow Radio.

Al has been a widely recognized atheist activist since 2005 when he founded the United Atheist Front, an International civil rights organization that addresses the worldwide discrimination of non-theists. The United Atheist Front, working with other civil rights organizations through political action, peaceful assembly, community organization and public awareness campaigns, has been instrumental in effecting positive change within the public, private and governmental sectors.


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  • eric collier

    Justin (& company)–Enormously excited about this new development & your upcoming event, with which I wish you every success. I am a retired marine officer (69-73), who was (& am) a devout unbeliever. I was in a distinct minority but in those days there was none of the pressure/intimidation Im hearing about now. I’ve been following the story, but have so far not heard anything about officer participation in this wonderful new venture. Is there any?

    best wishes, Eric

    • Justin Griffith

      Yes and no. We have three officers joining the team in the last two months on the planning committee, but all of us are doing this in our off-duty capacity. In fact, I am under standing order not to work on any of this during duty hours, despite it being an official event at Fort Bragg. This is also despite the fact that the offensive ‘rock the fort’ event had 50+ people working on their evangelical Christian Spiritual Fitness event during the duty day, many of whom for well over six months. We have all the email traffic they generated, once again using official email addresses, timestamped etc, ever since the FOIA documents were released. I’m not exactly getting the ‘samey samey’ vibe so far, and I’m just one guy, not 50+! I’m not an officer, but I am an NCO. Other than myself and the three officers, there are no other Soldiers on the all-volunteer crew. Additionally we have a handful of dedicated civilians helping in the effort.