Back in 2013, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas gave non-religious recruits permission to organise secular gatherings in lieu of attending church services.
Given that the previous alternative to going to church was to stay back and clean the dorms, this was a welcome third option.
There were only five attendees when the alternative programme was launched, but now the group, according to Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta, hit a new record at the weekend with an astonishing 270 trainees and airmen attending a meeting. Said Mehta:
Far from being a group for just a handful of people, the program is accommodating the growing number of Nones within the Air Force, who want a place to discuss ethics and morality without having to waste their time paying homage to a supernatural deity.
The 270 attendees include trainees, graduates, and their families.
• The picture used to illustrate this report appeared on the Facebook page of the San Antonio Military Atheists and Secular Humanists.