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Atheists In Foxholes

July 27th, 2009 by Ihmhi

note from skippy: As always, opinions expressed by people that are not skippy do not always reflect the views of skippy.

skippy is not afraid to go political, and neither am I. So I’m gonna go there, oh yeah.

I am a member of one of the most-despised, misunderstood, and vilified socio-political groups in the world: Atheists.

For the ill-informed or willfully ignorant, an Atheist does not believe in God. (Atheist is sourced from the Greek atheos, a = without and theos God, hence “without God”.) More on it from infidels.org:

“What is atheism?”

Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings.

Some atheists go beyond a mere absence of belief in gods: they actively believe that particular gods, or all gods, do not exist. Just lacking belief in Gods is often referred to as the “weak atheist” position; whereas believing that gods do not (or cannot) exist is known as “strong atheism.”
Bringing up Atheism nowdays is akin to bringing up equal/civil rights in the 50 – there’s going to be people vying for both sides, a possibility of violence, and a huge shitstorm. I will not apologize for any potential shitstorms that result of what I say or believe (or rather, don’t believe) because I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion – no matter how much it may conflict with mine.

Since this is a military blog, I’m going to bring up a military-centric topic. An old adage states “There are no Atheists in foxholes”. It’s a phrase that’s meant to evoke the fear of soldiers in the battlefield that will drive them to a higher power.

Despite being shot at, blown up, wounded, and K.I.A., there are indeed Atheists in foxholes and there have been for hundreds of years – just as there have been Jews, Buddhists, Christians, and people of all sorts of religious, ethnic, social, and national backgrounds. To say otherwise is to do a disservice to all soldiers, not just the non-believers who have served their countries in battle.

“A Theist’s Nightmare” asks “Why are there so few famous ATHEISTS in the military. The comments range from sarcastic (“And why are there no great atheist inventors? Could it be they’re waiting for stuff to invent itself?”) to straightforward “(Because atheists realize war is stupid?”) to the extremely faithful (“Because athiests are afraid to die…If a religious person dies in battle,normally they go to Heaven…if a athiest dies, they just die…”) and to the unoriginal thinkers (“Because there are no atheists in foxholes.”). This small Yahoo! Answers thread is an example of the kind of discussion that can result.

Anyway, on to the military bit. Military non-believers have been in the news more and more lately, often because of some sort of discrimination from their peers or higher-ups:

TOPEKA, Kan. – Military officials in Iraq are investigating allegations that [Spc. Jeremy Hall] is being harassed for being an atheist but said Saturday that they cannot find an officer the soldier has named in a federal lawsuit.

. . .

In responding to the lawsuit, a Pentagon spokesman said the military does value and respect religious freedoms, but that accommodating religious practices should not interfere with unit cohesion, readiness, standards or discipline.

. . .

In the lawsuit, Hall said that his free speech and religious rights were violated a year ago when he sat down with soldiers to eat a Thanksgiving holiday dinner. When asked to join hands and pray, Hall declined, but sat as the other soldiers prayed over the food. A sergeant asked why he would not pray and Hall told him he was an atheist, meaning he does not believe in God.

The sergeant demanded that Hall move to another table and not sit with the other soldiers. Hall said he stayed and ate without speaking to the others.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20922106/

Another one, featuring Mr. Wayne Atkins:

On July 18th, 2006 Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, lumped atheists and agnostics together with bigots and in a paraphrase of an old untrue negative stereotype declared that there are no atheists in foxholes. It is ironic that such a bigoted remark would come during his speech about diversity to the NAACP. The National Guard received a number of letters complaining about his remarks and several atheist organizations denounced them. But the Army, despite how it defines unlawful discrimination in its own regulations, has decided that the remarks were not discriminatory. I disagree.

. . .

Army Regulation 600-20, section 6-2, paragraph a says “The U.S. Army will provide EO and fair treatment for military personnel and family members without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination and offensive behavior. They have failed miserably at providing an environment free of offensive behavior for atheists. The regulation defines several terms in these sections which make it clear that the public comments of Blum and others constitute “unlawful discrimination”. Disparaging terms are defined as “Terms used to degrade or connote negative statements pertaining to race, color, gender, national origin, or religion”. Claiming that there are no atheists in foxholes implies that they do not serve at all which is patently false or that they all really do believe something other than what they say. It implies that all atheists are liars and cowards. That fits the definition of making negative statements about an entire group of people based solely on their religious identification.

The first response given when atheists complain is that atheism isn’t an organized or acknowledged religion and therefore atheists are not covered by the regulation. But the regulation defines the term “religion” as “A personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, moral or ethical beliefs and practices held with the strength of traditional views, characterized by ardor and faith, and generally evidenced through specific observances”. The regulation’s definition of religion includes “a personal set” of beliefs and does not require organization or outside acknowledgement. The regulation also defines prejudice as “a negative feeling or dislike based upon a faulty or inflexible generalization (that is, prejudging a person or group without knowledge or facts)”. Claiming that there are no atheists in foxholes is both a “faulty” and “inflexible generalization”.

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/17380

That is from 1st Lt. Wayne Adkins, who resigned from the military on grounds of discrimination.

WASHINGTON — A coalition of atheists and agnostics wants the new White House to protect young military members from what they see as rampant religious discrimination in the services.

The Secular Coalition for America held a news conference Monday urging new rules against proselytizing and more training for chaplains on how to handle nonreligious troops.

. . .

The coalition also wants President-elect Obama to develop a new directive for all chaplains and commanders that eliminates public prayers from any mandatory-attendance events for troops and ensures the Defense Department will not endorse any single religion, or even the idea of religion over nonreligion.

Jason Torpy, a retired soldier and president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, said his group isn’t opposed to Christianity or any other organized religion.

“We just recognize that religion and religious people get a lot of support from the military,” he said. “What about the rest of us?”

. . .

About one-fifth of current servicemembers identify themselves as having no religious preference, according to Defense Department statistics.

Only a small percentage of troops identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, but Torpy said that’s because they fear retribution. Without new rules, he said, there isn’t any guarantee they can avoid that kind of treatment.

“We’re as dedicated to the military as our Christian counterparts,” he said. “We just want to serve our country, too.”

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=58763

Related to the above story (and quite possibly my favorite):

A former evangelical Navy chaplain hopes that president-elect Barack Obama will not take actions aimed at completely removing any vestige of Christianity from the United States military.

The Secular Coalition for America recently held a news conference urging president-elect Barack Obama to, among other things, enact new rules against proselytizing and develop a new directive for all chaplains and commanders to eliminate public prayers from any mandatory attendance events for military troops.

Gordon James Klingenschmitt is a former naval chaplain who says, unfortunately, the Secular Coalition for America will eventually get its way. “There is a day coming in the end Gordon James Klingenschmitttimes when the military will be forced to be atheistic because, in order for the eventual man who is the man of sin — the Anti-Christ — as it is describe in the Bible, for him to come to power and to stamp out Christianity around the globe, he’s going to need a good strong atheist military,” he contends. “That is the first step toward Armageddon, and I’m concerned about that. And I pray that President (elect) Obama is not foolish enough to lead us down that road.”

Klingenschmitt notes he intends to watch the Obama administration very closely for the first sign of anti-Christian persecution, and when that time comes, he says he will blow the trumpet and sound the alarm.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Security/Default.aspx?id=326370

But let’s not forget what is probably the most outrageous recorded incident involving an Atheist/agnostic/nonbeliever in the military to date: Pat Tillman.

Pat Tillman was what any layman would call a hero. He left a cushy job in the NFL for a slightly-less-than-cushy job as an Army Ranger.

He definitely considered himself “not religious”:

Shortly after, Ferguson received a phone call from Tillman. The Seahawks general manager hoped it would be regarding his open-ended offer. It was not.

“A company chaplain at Fort Lewis was hoping to get a Seahawks player to come down and speak,” Ferguson said. “And the chaplain had Pat call me.

“He said, ‘(Expletive), I hate calling you like this, Fergie, but this chaplain needs a favor. You know I’m not religious, but he’s a really nice guy, and I want to help him out.”

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2005-04-16-tillman-opportunity_x.htm

Pat Tillman did what many non-religious people have done over the years and enlisted. He was a poster boy for the military and the talk of the town – nay, the nation – when he enlisted. And for all that work, he gets shot to death by his own comrades.

Initially the Army lied out of their ass and said that he was killed by enemy fire. With recruitment dipping faster than tech stocks in 2001, one’s given to believe that they absolutely fucking loved the idea of a Real American Hero (TM) being K.I.A.

Except he wasn’t. Pat Tillman was apparently killed by friendly fire.

The government ruled it an accident. But since they bullshitted about how he died, and (according to the previously linked article) “No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene – no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck,” I’m inclined to believe that a guy who wouldn’t tow the company line got fragged and the military is glossing it over.

Pat was a student of many religious books (as many Atheists surprisingly are, including myself) and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. After details such as this were released via The San Francisco Chronicle, Ann Coulter “seethed”. The All-American football star who supported the war apparently didn’t support the war or the President at all. And to top it off, his evil liberal agenda included a distinct lack of belief in God:

Just when we thought we had a pure and simple hero, a millionaire athlete who gave up wealth and fame to become the ideal patriot, to make the ultimate sacrifice, his friends and family complicated everything. They turned Pat Tillman into a human being Monday, showing us what was really lost during that ambush in Afghanistan, insisting that we question every assumption we’ve made since he died an icon on April 22.

Yes, there were uplifting tales, moments when tears and pride swelled in everyone watching Tillman’s memorial service at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. There were jarring moments, too, and they carried the message of the afternoon — “challenge yourself” — more powerfully than those laden with conventional inspiration.

Tillman’s youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn’t written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.

“Pat isn’t with God,” he said. “He’s f — ing dead. He wasn’t religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he’s f — ing dead.”

What? This didn’t happen for God, as well as country? A professional athlete turned soldier, and we’re supposed to believe that he’d have no use for piety? Robbed of a cliche, where does that leave us?

Challenge yourself.

His brother-in-law and close friend, Alex Garwood, described how Tillman handled his duties when he became godfather to Garwood’s son. He came to the ceremony dressed as a woman. Not as a religious commentary. He was doing a balancing act.

“We had two godfathers, no godmother,” Garwood explained. And what NFL player turned Army Ranger wouldn’t don drag to make that math work?

Who on earth was this guy?

He was the same person who often talked late into the night with his linebackers coach at ASU, prying apart stereotypes about college football players and future soldiers.

“He talked about gays,” Lyle Setencich, the former ASU assistant said. “He asked me, ‘Could you coach gays?’ ” Setencich told Tillman yes. He could, and he had. He repeated that at the memorial service, televised on ESPN, in front of the sports world, showing another side of a coach, another side of an American hero.

Challenge yourself.

Tillman talked about everything, with everyone. According to the speakers, he had read the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and he underlined passages constantly. Garwood recalled how he’d mail articles to friends, highlighting certain parts and writing in the margins: “Let’s discuss.” A quotation from Emerson, found underlined in Tillman’s readings, adorned the program.

It concluded with this: “But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/05/04/SPG5K6FD091.DTL

Pat Tillman was loved by his team and comrades, and he will be sorely missed by his family. While we can all take guesses as to what happened, the Military will shitcan anything that could make them potentially look bad and we will never really know what happened to him.

Aside from the fourth and fifth of the five articles, let me go on with the one bit that pisses me off the most from the first three:

In responding to the lawsuit, a Pentagon spokesman said the military does value and respect religious freedoms, but that accommodating religious practices should not interfere with unit cohesion, readiness, standards or discipline.

“Unit cohesion” and “discipline” are the same reason that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) people are discriminated against in the military via the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I’ve never served and I don’t intend to unless an invading force marches into America proper, but there are people with my personal philosophies who do.

As anyone who has served can tell you, the military is all about falling in line. The old Japanese adage “The nail that stands up gets hammered down” applies like a rock-solid rule to the military. If you don’t want to go to a foreign country and blow shit up, you’re un-American. If you don’t want to pray before meals with your fellow soldiers, you’re un-American. If you don’t make fun of the funny people with the camels and silly beards, you’re un-American.

According to the Pentagon’s statement, they say that “the military does value and respect religious freedoms”. Most Atheists just want to step out of the prayer circle, eat their food in peace, and generally be left the Hell alone, yet they are continually harassed and discriminated against by their fellow soldiers.

Thankfully, our non-believing boys and girls in the milly are not alone. The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers fights for their rights to not believe. American Atheists, America’s foremost Atheist activism organization, has a Military Director who focuses on this particular prong of Atheist civil rights.

The most puzzling thing of all, though, is the statements of our former Navy Chaplain, Gordon James Klingenschmitt. Quoting again:

Gordon James Klingenschmitt is a former naval chaplain who says, unfortunately, the Secular Coalition for America will eventually get its way. “There is a day coming in the end Gordon James Klingenschmitttimes when the military will be forced to be atheistic because, in order for the eventual man who is the man of sin — the Anti-Christ — as it is describe in the Bible, for him to come to power and to stamp out Christianity around the globe, he’s going to need a good strong atheist military,” he contends. “That is the first step toward Armageddon, and I’m concerned about that. And I pray that President (elect) Obama is not foolish enough to lead us down that road.”

Regardless of what you believe, I can not fathom how someone could interpret these words as anything other than preposterous. The military will never “be forced to be atheistic”, nor will it become an army that will “stamp out Christianity around the globe”.

This all comes down to the crux of my beliefs about Atheism and government that’s seated in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A common argument against Atheist rights in relation to the first amendment is that it states “freedom of religion”, meaning that you have to have a religion to be granted these rights. That is specious, ludicrous, and insulting reasoning and so very against the spirit of the Constitution. It’s not something that can be taken 100% literally; otherwise the second amendment would let us keep howitzers in our backyards (a discussion for another time).

So what do we want? Why do we fight so hard, and why do so many of us live in fear?

Why can’t we just shut up and leave the believers alone?

America is not a Christian nation. It’s not a Muslim nation, or a Zoroastrian nation, or a Satanist nation (despite what some of those people way out East say). We’re a nation of many cultures and religions, and our core principles are respecting all of those equally.

To many Atheists (and to myself), “In God We Trust” on our money is an affront to every agnostic, atheist, polytheist, and believer of non-monotheistic faiths. “Under God” in the Pledge of Alliegiance is the same, as is swearing on a Bible in court and the continual attempts to advance religious platforms in politics.

E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “From Many, One”, our original national motto) is way more uplifting than an affirmation of trust in a God that almost nobody can agree on how to believe in.

We want to be free of harassment. We want to be free to say that we don’t believe. We want to serve our country just as anyone else does without discrimination. We want our country to respect the principles it was founded on. And we definitely do not want to do it at the exclusion of any other belief system – we just want to be on equal ground.

Right now, we aren’t, and I truly hope that in my lifetime I will be able to see the day when we’ll get the respect we deserve as people – not because of the color of our skin, our nationality, our sexual orientation, or our belief system – but because it’s the right and fair thing to do.


Ihmhi is a developer for Fortress Forever, a free, fast paced Team Fortress mod for Half-Life 2.

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101 Responses to “Atheists In Foxholes”

  1. grench_victe Says:

    Hell yeah. I’m not religious, nor am I atheist or agnostic, I try not to be willfully ignorant, just accidentally ignorant. I’m open to the possibilities, and everything’s possible. And I’m not big on ideals, but the one i do hold is always being shit on, Freedom of Choice. Every person should have the right to make their own choices, not to make choices for other people.

    Reply

  2. Sean Says:

    I’d say “Preach on!”, but, well….you know.

    Reply

  3. mew_at_heart Says:

    rAmen!

    I’ve been an atheist (of the weak variety) since before I even knew there was a word for it, and there were all kinds of subtle little slights I had to endure growing up. No one thing was ever truly objectionable, but taken all together…

    I was really, really happy when President Obama acknowledged non-believers in his inauguration speech. I just hope things continue to improve.

    Reply

  4. Lokim8 Says:

    Im a christian, in my social circles it is not athiests that are discriminated against but theists. This did not bother me greatly, after a time we meerly agreed not to discuss religon. I am a keen believer in egalatarianism, particularly when the topic of religous difference is raised. Each and every person has the right to believe what they want to believe and to practice said beliefs to a point. That point being where in doing so they obsturct another persons rights.

    Reply

  5. LT Ronald Says:

    *Right Wing Asshat coming out*

    I have a general problem with someone who does not believe crying foul over being discriminated against. There are some things I can understand taking offense to.

    I can understand the one scenario with the soldier being yelled at about the not holding hands and praying. That is where my understanding ends.

    The “No athiests in a foxhole” line is a metaphore for the adrenaline that one feels when entering into a firefight.

    Do you know what that feels like?

    I will tell you since I’ve been there.

    It feels the same as when you are saved!

    It is detachment/fear/hope/euphoria all mixed together. It is searching for strength from both within and without.

    In God We Trust: This country was founded by Christians with a belief and trust in God. Freedoms abound to choose how to speak, believe, worship, or not do so, but to become offended or consider your rights to have been violated because of “Under God” is to directly deny your citizenship and patronage of America’s history and constructs.

    You don’t have to believe in it, but you will deal with it! If it really burns your ass that much though, you can send all of your discriminatory currency to me. If the biggest thing that you have to complain about is that your athiests rights are being violated by a quote on your currency than I’d say you are part of the reason why America is so hated.

    Reply

    skippy reply on July 28th, 2009 7:10 am:

    “In God We Trust: This country was founded by Christians with a belief and trust in God.”
    1)Not all of them. Most were Deists, which are not Christian. There were a few agnostics. Of and they created the treaty of Tripoli.
    ” passed by the U.S. Senate in 1797, read in part: “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”"
    2) The founding fathers were slave holders. Our country has since eliminated slavery as unjust. Did we as a nation deny our citizenship and patronage of America’s history and constructs by doing so?

    “In God We Trust” wasn’t added to money until around the Civil War, and “Under God” wasn’t added to the pledge of allegiance until the 50′s. I don’t think the founding fathers had anything to do with their inclusion.

    And your “Atheists in Foxholes” comment, you may be right, but many people in the service do use that phrase the way Ihmhi described, and I’ve even seen it used as an argument against non-Christian religions. (Not saying it was a good argument or anything, just that it was made)

    Reply

    Sequoia reply on July 28th, 2009 7:34 am:

    1) What I think Ronald (YEAH Right Wing Asshats!)was that America was founded by a group of people with Judeo-Christian ideals who wished to acknowledge a Divine Providence which is why they went with God, a general term for a Divine Providence instead of going with Allah, Yahweh, Christ, Ra etc.
    2) At that point in time, slave-holding wasn’t considered a detestable thing. In fact, we shouldn’t even judge them for holding slaves because of the differences in ideals and thought between our generation and theirs.

    Reply

    skippy reply on July 28th, 2009 8:11 am:

    1) I have to politely call BS here. LT Ron is smart and articulate enough to have expressed that opinion if that’s what he wanted to do. It’s why I let him write stuff here. There is a world of difference between “believe in a supreme being” and “Christian”.
    Also, Allah and Yahweh just mean God in other languages.
    2)I’m not detesting them for having owned slaves. I’m suggesting that “the founding fathers did it” is an insufficient argument.

    Sequoia reply on July 28th, 2009 8:27 am:

    1) You know him better than I do. Allah and Yahweh are actually the word for God in other languages, but they represent a different being.
    2)Misread this.

    skippy reply on July 28th, 2009 9:20 am:

    1) This is a common, and somewhat scary misconception.

    Allah is Arabic for God. It is the same God that Christians worship. Yaweh is from the Torah. It is the same God that Christian worship.

    Minty reply on July 28th, 2009 10:55 am:

    Agreeing with Skippy here RE #1–God, Yahweh and Allah are all the same deity. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism, and Islam was “inspired” by Christianity (many Muslim sects consider Jesus to be a prophet that Christians mistakenly regard as the Messiah). The fact that the Big Three claim to worship their own personal god that is different from the others is their problem.

    Billy reply on July 28th, 2009 11:14 am:

    All I have to say about this is don’t forget the reasons behind the witch burnings of so long ago…

    Sequoia reply on July 28th, 2009 2:14 pm:

    Uh, Skippy I don’t know where the HELL that came from. Allah, Yahweh and the God of the Christians (of whom I am one) ARE not the same. Yahweh is the God of Judaism, the God of Abraham, Isaac (remember this one), Jacob etc. For Christianity, God is the three in one Trinity, God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Allah is not the same as the Trinity because they don’t regard Christ as God. Allah is also not Yahweh for Muslims (Muslims, If I’m wrong with this next bit, feel free to correct me) are the descendent’s of Ishmael one of the two sons of Abraham the other being Isaac. So Allah is the god of Ishmael, and Yahweh as I have already said is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and the rest.

    Yahweh, the Holy Trinity and Allah are *definitely* not the same.

    Sequoia reply on July 28th, 2009 2:18 pm:

    Actually Minty, Christianity isn’t an offshoot of Judaism, it is the completion of it. You know, the coming of the Messiah and all that.

    And in my previous post, when it came to Yahweh and the Trinity, Yahweh is God the Father, so not the complete God of the Christians.

    skippy reply on July 28th, 2009 5:52 pm:

    “Actually Minty, Christianity isn’t an offshoot of Judaism, it is the completion of it. You know, the coming of the Messiah and all that.”
    Most of the Jews I know would loudly disagree with that statement. What you say is completion, they would say is misunderstanding, or even perversion. Offshoot seems like a polite way to describe the situation.

    The God referred to in all three “religions of the book” is the same being, there is just some debates about the particulars of his desires and how to worship him properly.

    Muslim faith teaches that they are following the God of Abraham. Specifically. That’s Yawyeh right there.

    And even though most modern Christians are Trinitarian, belief in the trinity is not a universal amongst all Christians. Heck until the Council Of Nicaea they weren’t even the dominant Christian belief. (Look it up)

    Basically if you have a Ford pickup and I have a Chevy pickup, then we each have a pickup truck. The fact that you prefer a Ford, and that it has a few extra options doesn’t mean that the Chevy is any less of a pickup truck.

    For more information, please consult any Rabbi, Catholic Priest, Islamic Scholar, or the Theology Department of any accredited university.

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 9:58 am:

    Sequoia: For the first few centuries of its existence, both Christians and Jews considered Christianity to be a Jewish sect. It wasn’t until the Christian leaders acknowledged that the world wasn’t going to end (the reason the Messiah is supposed to have showed up in the first place) that they started to hammer out a real theology. 2000 years later, Christianity is now a religion distinct from Judaism.

    And, theologically speaking, if Yahweh and God aren’t the same deity, why do Christians regard the god of the Old Testament and the god of the New Testament as the same being? The OT is nothing more than a heavily-edited version of Hebrew religious texts, and it does include the story of Abraham.

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:14 pm:

    Regrettably, LT Ron is partially correct. A large number of the original immigrants to America where devoutly religious. What they don’t teach you is that they were in no way seeking religious freedom when they came here. They fled persecution by the dominant religion in their homelands and came to America in order to practice their chosen religion and persecute anybody who didn’t practice the now dominant faith. They didn’t want freedom, they wanted to be top dog. Besides, those of the faith should be pleased. Look at how many laws and customs exist in the United States that serve absolutely no fucking purpose but were made into law and custom by the successful coercion of the Government and People.

    Now, as to the rush of battle feeling like being “saved”, maybe for LT Ron and whoop de fucking do. Some of the Faithful suffer semi-epileptic seizures and babble in a fashion that normally indicates brain damage and it is held to be the presence of God. However, if an old lady babbles incoherently she’s a Witch and burned at the stake. Go figure.

    Reply

    Michiel reply on July 28th, 2009 8:17 pm:

    Ron, you fucking idiot.

    You said, “to become offended or consider your rights to have been violated because of “Under God” is to directly deny your citizenship and patronage of America’s history and constructs.”

    The fact that an American can say something like the above is offensive. That our own citizens are so ignorant of the reasons this country was founded and of the people that founded it disgusts me, and I would argue that your ignorance and intellectual dishonesty on this and many other issues is “why America is hated.”

    And NO, I will not “deal with it.” and fuck you for saying that anyone should.

    America is NOT a theocracy, and we will not let idiots like you try to turn it into some sort of dictatorship for Jesus or any other imaginary character. Keep your superstitions to yourself and quit trying to make the rest of us live in accordance with your particular brand of hang ups.

    Right wing Xian nutjobs, such as yourself are the biggest danger to this country because you are determined to force your values and beliefs on the rest of us. Well, fuck you… we don’t want them.

    “Mind Your Business.” By the way, that was the motto on our money long before “In God We Trust.” Don’t believe me? Look it up, douche nozzle.

    And for the record, I am not an atheist. I’m a former pagan turned agnostic, who thinks that religion is the most ridiculous and dangerous thing that mankind has ever invented and we would be better off without it.

    Sorry, about the language and name calling, but this sort of bullshit pisses me off in a big way, (as you can tell), but you will deal with it.

    Reply

    SFC TC reply on July 30th, 2009 6:30 am:

    Actually the fact he can say that should make you exceedingly proud, but that’s just my opinion. Wait, no it isn’t someone else said something similar about not agreeing with what you say but defending your right to say it. You may find his/her words offensive, but the fact he can say them is something I am distinctly proud of.

    By the way, lets say for the moment that Ron and them do somehow get to force their morality onto the rest of us. Guess what, that is how society works, sometimes you like the morality society dictates and sometimes you don’t. When you do like it you’ll love it, when you don’t you have two choices:
    1) Deal with it
    2) Suffer the consequences of refusing to comply with societal norms.

    You can yell, scream and pout about those two basic facts as much as you like, but they are facts. If you refuse to comply with society, society will react to protect itself from the disturbing influence, in this case it would be you.

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 30th, 2009 9:21 am:

    Or Lt. Ronald, depending which way society blows.

    That being said, as irritating as LT Ronald’s opinions may or may not be, he has a right to voice them. And I have the right to pretend to ignore him, but keep an eye on him to make sure the wacko Fundies don’t talk him into burning me at the stake.

    Michiel reply on July 30th, 2009 3:51 pm:

    It is not his right to say what he is saying that I find offensive. It is his lack of understanding of what this country was designed to be and how it was supposed to function. It was NOT created to be a Xian country and anyone that thinks so is an idiot and got a crappy education. That is what I find offensive.

    It is also the willingness to subject others to ones own horseshit beliefs and telling them they “will deal with it”, that I find offensive.

    The government and its laws are meant to be secular so that anyone can have the freedom follow whatever horse shit they want to believe or not, without being harassed by other people and their horse shit.

    But, his first amendment right to say these stupid, uneducated things… I have no issue with.

    Minty reply on August 3rd, 2009 1:20 pm:

    Both arguments regarding the Founding Fathers’ intentions when writing the Constitution are a bit deceptive. Yes, they did not intend for us to be a Christian Nation, but in 1787, we were a nation of Christians. So, one has to wonder what, exactly, was their intention when they stated that we have a right to practice religion as we see fit. Were they being myopic by only taking the various Christian sects into account, or did they truly envision a time when there would be a religious free-for-all, like what we have now?

    One can also argue that it’s pointless to speculate, as we have changed so much socially and culturally that the only thing that links us with the Founding Fathers is our ironclad belief in the Constitution. Ergo, to say that we are a Christian Nation because that’s what the Founding Fathers intended (or were) is to ignore who we are now. And what we are is not one nation under God, but one nation under many gods and none, all at the same time.

  6. M578Jockey Says:

    I am a confirmed agnostic. During my first tour in Germany back in the early 80′s, my two best friends were born again Christians, one of whom was very evangelical. Early on we came to an agreement. the evangelical one said that he couldn’t get into heaven until everyone was converted. I told him to move me to the bottom of the list and that if he managed to convert everyone else in the world, he wouldn’t have any problems with me. None of us changed our opinions and we had some interesting discussions, especially after a few litres of good German beer, but we were friends for a long time. Actually outside of those two, most of the people I knew in the Army were non-religious.

    Reply

  7. Stitch Says:

    I had an easy time of it. I’m a confirmed atheist but I have a spiritual side and I frequently use meditation to connect with my spirit being. When I was enlisted I used to meditate at the foot of my bed each morning before 0600. My roommates would ask stupid questions for the first couple of days but after that they became cool with it. Nobody batted an eyelid when I didn’t show up for church on Sunday because there was an understanding that I have no god and therefore no need for prayer.

    That said, the UK seems to be ahead of the US in this regard. Also (thankfully) we don’t have that ludicrous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. I mean seriously, what the hell does that achieve?

    Reply

    SFC TC reply on July 30th, 2009 6:42 am:

    It allows those who are not inclined to have unisex showers that those who may be sexually attracted to them are viewing their naughty bits.

    Put it this way. If I told women they must shower with men many women would cry foul over the issue. Are they just being heterophobic about the issue? After all in battle no one is going to be thinking about having sex right? Immediately after is another story by the way.

    That is what the argument really boils down to. Men in the US military tend to not want to shower with other men who they believe may be checking them out. It isn’t homophobic its sexual harassment. Don’t ask, don’t tell allows everyone to pretend that since the default position for human sexuality seems to be hetero (as the species does seem to keep going up in numbers) then everyone in such an environment is hetero, hence less tension/apprehension.

    So the day women in the military are told fuck off we’re going unisex for everything from bunks to showers is the day I’ll fully 100% support homosexuals being allowed to serve openly. Until then they can keep their mouths shut for the good of the team if they desire to be a part of that team.

    Captcha:
    buckley theater (couldn’t have made that up if I tried)

    Reply

    Stitch reply on July 30th, 2009 7:30 am:

    I’ve showered with men before. Never had a problem with it, even when I damn-well knew that at least one of ‘em had to be checking me out. So long as they keep their hands to themselves I couldn’t give a fuck one way or the other. Meanwhile the women I’ve served with were quite happy to keep their showers women-only despite not only knowing that the army has a higher concentration of dykes than civvy street but also knowing exactly who the dykes in the platoon were.

    The issue is not one of sexual harrassment, it’s one of confidence amid the potential for sexual assault. Women aren’t as strong as men, we know that some men have trouble with the word no, therefore those of us who don’t start the day by benching our own weight tend to avoid being naked around any man who they do not intend to fuck.

    Captcha: Brooklyn pilchard. Couldn’t make that up either.

    Reply

    SFC TC reply on July 30th, 2009 11:22 am:

    Stitch, four things, and they are actually pretty quick –
    First, your post seems to say rape is about sex. The vast majority of rapes occur over displays of dominance and power, not sex. Its okay if you disagree with me about that. Although the fact is you’re also disagreeing with almost the entire volume of research on the subject which concludes it is about power not sex. So the reasons for separate shower is not rape, or sexual assault, but sexual harassment.

    Second – The fact that YOU are okay with something doesn’t give YOU the right to impose your views on me unless in very specific circumstances. That is the entire point of sexual harrasment protection (it also seems to be an underlying theme to the whole atheist/theist argument). You don’t get to force me into a situaation with KNOWN sexual tension as a condition of employment unless it is strictly job related, like say a stripper. Sorry you seem to disagree with that.

    The fact that your opinion differs from the one that many US Males has may be commendatory. It may also be that you like the attention. Neither of those change the fact that others don’t wish for such attention and forcing it upon them would be sexual harassment.

    Third – In the US there is no “right” to serve in the military. Because of that, and the shall we say unique, aspect of military service the US military is legally allowed to engage in all kinds of discriminatory actions. Which, sexual orientation is not a protected status at the federal level, so such discrimination is completely legal.

    Fourth – Statutory law, not policy, is what bans homosexuals from serving. The LAW says homosexual can’t serve. Teh “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy is a way to let homosexuals serve, not keep them out. (Title 10 U.S. Code, section 654).

    By the way, lets try it this way. Some men would also complain if told they must shower with women as we are going unisex. Do you think their objection is based on fear of raping women or of being raped by women?

    It’s is a sexual harassment claim, and the best part is that claim isn’t based on a religion in any way shape or form, its based on law. Your ignoring the sexual harassment aspect doesn’t make it go away.

  8. Maj Mac Says:

    Not too long ago I was a team leader while attending an Army school. One of our group was an atheist. He would sneeze, someone would say “Bless you” and his reply would be “No thank you”. We had loads of fun at his expense. We were assigned a large passenger van for team transportation. As we went about our business we’d have to have some sort of commentary when we saw the religious signs, bumper stickers andthe like. We would have lively discussions on the various pros and cons of the worlds different religions / forms of worship and try to find the one that was best for him. I don’t recall wht had happened but whatever it was it cause him to exclaim “Jesus Christ!” We never let him live that one down. He was a good sport.

    Reply

  9. sirjimmyjohnjohnsonjrIIIesq Says:

    I am a Christian, and I grew up in california, In a seaside town called santa cruz. From my personal experience there was a lot more harrassment and dsicrimination against christians then there were against athiests. You might think that you and others have been harrassed, but try going to school in santa cruz and wear a christian tshirt, try walking around handing out flyers for your youth group there, then come back and tell me what harrassment is. Now as a ps I do not believe that all athiests are bad people, i’m actually friends with several, in my opinion it is the militants on each side that need to grow up and stop trying to force their beliefs, whether it be for a god or that there is no god, onto other people.

    captcha rowley 29, good god 29 more harry potter books?

    Reply

    Timbo reply on July 28th, 2009 8:32 am:

    “try walking around handing out flyers”

    Just who is harassing who? I have never been handed a flyer or been woken up on a Saturday morning or harassed in any way by an atheist.

    Reply

    TeratoMarty reply on July 28th, 2009 9:06 am:

    I concur. Pamphleteers are exercising their freedom of speech and freedom of religion, they shouldn’t act so surprised when other people do the same and tell them to get stuffed.

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 28th, 2009 10:05 am:

    What’s so special about Santa Cruz that Christians are harassed there? Not trying to be antagonistic, just curious.

    Reply

    TheShadowCat reply on July 28th, 2009 5:29 pm:

    Santa Cruz is an entirely different universe where the general mentality hasn’t escaped the 60s and the 70s. Yes, I know I’m generalizing and since I grew up in San Jose which is on the other side of the Santa Cruz mountains my experience has only been when I’ve visited there. But in my experience, Santa Cruz is a laid back/love fest/hippy/surfer town and if you try to force your ideas on other people, you should be prepared to be told where to stick it.

    CAPTCHA – carlos in- In what?

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 10:27 am:

    Note to self: Do not move to Santa Cruz. Dirty Hippies are spawned in Santa Cruz.

    StoneWolf reply on August 3rd, 2009 7:47 am:

    Any chance we can airlift the Hippies out of Vermont and back to Santa Cruz then? Seriously, they’re as pushy and intolerant as Priests when it comes to ideology.

    SPC Hyle reply on July 28th, 2009 3:07 pm:

    “Try handing out flyers”? Yeah, see that’s where you’re the one doing the harassment. Hate to break it to you, but you’re in the wrong on that one. No one likes flyers handed to them. No one. You’re invading their personal space, giving them trash to throw away for you, all with the audacity to tell a total stranger that you know how to run his affairs better than he does because you’re “saved” and you presume that they aren’t.

    That’s being a jackass. Being surprised that people tell you to piss off and not bother them is, again, further jackassery. I mean, how dare they tell you not to invade their lives with a smug feeling of superiority and interrupt their routine? The nerve of some people! It’s no different than telemarketers.

    Not recognizing that people have a very, very, very good reason to not want to hear that when they’re off running errands is the height of arrogance. You want to see persecution? How about mailed and emailed death threats? Beatings? Constant harassment, as in following and constantly yelling about going to hell? You want to be persecuted? Here’s real persecution: go proselytize in China. See how that works out for you. That is persecution (and, by the way, it isn’t because they’re atheistic, it’s because converts have this nasty habit of disagreeing with the government. It’s dissident prevention) lite. You want to see major persecution? Look up “pogrom” on Wikipedia sometime. Yeah. THAT is persecution. The laws against Jews in Europe from 500 AD until 1935 is persecution. The Holocaust is the culmination of persecution.

    Drop the bullshit martyr complex. You aren’t persecuted, you persecute.

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:27 pm:

    Yup. SPC Hayle is dead right. I lived with a guy (no longer) who recently “found God” and had the unmitigated temerity to try and convert me. Now, keep in mind, we grew up together in the same town and until very recently he viewed religion about the same way I do. Also, sirjimmyjohnjohnsonjrIIIesq, have you ever been physically assaulted for refusing to pray and denying God? Have you had the persons supposedly responsible for watching over you as a child (after school day care) punish you for refusing to say grace before snack? Have you ever been told that, because you deny God and the existence of Absolute Morality, you are a patently immoral person despite having a strong personal moral code? By an instructor under the employ of the United States Government? Yeah, that happened to me last week. So before you go “Woe is me!” about getting the cold shoulder when trying to convert folk, consider what “persecution” actually is. If you have ever been caused to involuntarily bleed for your beliefs, then maybe you have been persecuted against. If you have only received the cold shoulder, man up, find some bigger balls, and stop crying.

    Reply

    simple-minded reply on July 28th, 2009 6:50 pm:

    agreed

    johnny reply on August 1st, 2009 6:21 pm:

    well stated

    AzureLunatic reply on July 28th, 2009 4:02 pm:

    Thank you, sir or madam.

    Reply

  10. Jim C Says:

    I am at best an Agnostic, but I find the behavior of most other agnostics and atheists to be inexcusable. They are forever demanding that all religious symbols, public prayers, in fact anything remotely related to religion to be completely removed from public life. Their intolerance and bigotry is simply unbelievable. I may not believe in your religion, but I will defend your right to believe it. Just as free speech includes speech we may not agree with, freedom of religion include the right to worship, even in public.

    Have there been abuses, yes and there are systems in place to deal with them. I refuse to accept that “abolishing” religion is solution.

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 28th, 2009 10:49 am:

    As a polytheistic pagan (yes, there are monotheistic pagans), I have problems with some public religious stuff. Specifically, the things that Ihmhi mentions in his post–the “In God We Trust” on the money, and “one Nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In my mind, those are government-related things, and our government is supposed to be secular. Not atheist (like a lot of people claim), mind you, but non-religious (academically, Atheism is a religion).

    Now, you can quibble that the “God” referred to in those examples is supposed to be generic, but the reality is it does refer to the Judeo-Christian god. That god is not my god. So, every time I say “one nation under God,” I am automatically disqualifying myself as being part of this nation, because I am not under the God referred to in that statement. In other words, if I want to be a real American, I need to accept the Judeo-Christian god. I must conform to a government-approved deity. That really, really pisses me off.

    Now, having said that, what also pisses me off are people who rail against public worship–candlelight vigils, prayer groups in school. That sort of thing. As far as I’m concerned, that falls under the First Amendment. It may be government-sanctioned, but it’s not government-endorsed, and those are two very, very different things.

    Captcha: “bleeder tona.” Not only am I a bleeding-heart liberal, but I do it in yellow, cerulean and magenta!

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:35 pm:

    Jim, I gotta disagree partially with you here. While you can find bigots anywhere, public religious practice is a problem. “In God we Trust” on US Currency is direct Government endorsement of religious. Being punished for omitting the line “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the rest of which I say happily, is Government endorsement of religion. Prayer sessions organized by Public Officials on Government Property, State or Federal, is the same. Now, if a Private Citizen chooses to pray in public, even of Government property, that is acceptable and defended under the 1st Amendment, even if I don’t like it myself. There should be no Governmental support of any religion, direct or implied. Public religious practices of any kind are only acceptable when practiced by private citizens or when it is clear the Official is acting in their capacity as a private citizen and not a Government Official.

    Reply

    VonZorch reply on July 29th, 2012 5:11 pm:

    I fully agree with the no support of religion, but must add no opposition to religion, and I am one of those “evil godless atheists”.
    And late but Lt Ronald, yes you are very much a rightwing asshat, I amprobably much more conservative than you.

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Reply

  11. Sicarius Says:

    For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Atheists and Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindus/Buddhists need to shut the flying eff up. Believe what you want to, and let’s all join hands and hate on the Scientologists. Because seriously now.

    Reply

    Michiel reply on July 28th, 2009 8:32 pm:

    AMEN!

    Reply

  12. kat Says:

    Pagans get that shit in the army too. You wouldn’t believe how many times I had to listen to the “You’re going straight to hell, blah blah blah, jesus loves you, blah blah, I just want to help you, yakkity yak” I’ve still never been able to figure how people think that threatening me with a hell I don’t believe in will sway my opinions at all. I’ve been forced to go to church, pray, all that crap in the name of “unit cohesion” and “just go with it” It’s freaking ridiculous.

    Reply

    kat reply on July 28th, 2009 8:40 am:

    Just to clarify, I don’t care if you believe in God, Buddha, Allah, Shiva, Satan, the Great Spaghetti Monster, the Force or Aliens, as long as you don’t shove it down my throat we won’t have any problems.

    Reply

    Random reply on July 28th, 2009 2:02 pm:

    That’s one of the things that sold me on Discordianism: It actually has a specific answer to that sort of evangelism.

    “The Hell Law says that Hell is reserved exclusively for them that believe in it. Further, the lowest Rung in Hell is reserved for them that believe in
    it on the supposition that they’ll go there if they don’t.” — The Honest Book of Truth, the Gospel According To Fred 3:1.

    (I must admit, I also really liked the idea of a religion whose primary underlying principle was “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” We could use a much bigger dose of that sort of thiking in mainstream religion, in my opinion.)

    Reply

    Michiel reply on July 28th, 2009 8:34 pm:

    Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 10:57 am:

    Fnord.

    Reply

    TheShadowCat reply on July 28th, 2009 8:59 pm:

    I saw the perfect bumper sticker once:

    It’s your book, they’re your rules, YOU burn in Hell!

    CAPTCHA – hutt Minnesota – is this were hutts go on vacation?

    Reply

    johnny reply on August 1st, 2009 6:33 pm:

    i had a pagan for a squad leader and when he found out i was athiest he seemed to change his attitude toward me toward the negative.

    Personally whenever this topic of conversation comes up I point out that while i dont believe I have read the bible I have been to christian, catholic, mormon, and jewish services. I havent attended any buddhist,pagan, muslim or other services however i hold no prejudice toward or against another religion. the whole “in god we trust thing” and “under god” thing are people who wish to force their ideals on other people. the idea of god is just that an idea it helps people cope with what they cannot understand or dont wish to. everyone needs a coping mechanism it is their right to cope in whatever way they see fit.
    that being said I hope everyone greets you for who you are and not what you believe.

    Reply

  13. TeratoMarty Says:

    Oh, gods exist all right, but going around BELIEVING in them just encourages the psychotic supernatural bastards. Screw ‘em, I’ll put my faith in people.

    Reply

    Stitch reply on July 28th, 2009 9:02 am:

    I just giggled so hard that a little bit of wee came out…

    Reply

    Sicarius reply on July 28th, 2009 9:22 am:

    Are we subscribing to the Discworld system of belief now?

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 28th, 2009 10:08 am:

    I’m a proud alumna of Granny Weatherwax All-Girls’ Witchcraft Preparatory.

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:38 pm:

    Ah, she is great old broad. Damn my swinging cod or I’d be an alumnus too!

    Sicarius reply on July 28th, 2009 5:35 pm:

    Pfft. I’m still a student at the Unseen University. Damn witches.

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 9:04 am:

    So you enjoy being 300+ lbs, eat six ten-course meals a day, and mess with the Space-Time Continuinuinuinuum?

    Sicarius reply on July 29th, 2009 6:12 pm:

    Counter example: Ponder Stibbons. Well, the fat part. Also: Rincewind.

    Minty reply on July 30th, 2009 8:58 am:

    Ponder Stibbons isn’t fat yet, but has ambitions to be so. Rincewind doesn’t get regular meals, is constantly running from something, and is a nervous wreck.

    Ihmhi reply on July 28th, 2009 2:05 pm:

    You are my new favorite person.

    Reply

    TheShadowCat reply on July 28th, 2009 9:00 pm:

    My new best friend. ;-)

    CAPTCHA – dung revenue-sharing – pretty much says it all

    Reply

  14. ExRedScarf83 Says:

    You make a legitimate argument. Seriously. Can you believe a Christian is using their brain? SCANDAL! Anyway, I’m perfectly cool with other religions or not religions. Whatever. I’m fine until they start telling me I’m stupid for believing what I believe. It’s a personal insult, and it seems… like a last ditch effort to an argument or discussion. So hey kudos to you. At least you know what you believe. Some people don’t even know that. (and yes, I say believe because you believe there are no high beings ^_~ )

    In some cases, I prefer the company of atheists or agnostics or what have you over that of a Christian because there are some that are so radical they make me want to choke them. For example, the ones that believe that ALL people with AIDS deserve to have it. ALL. As in those born with it and those that got it from a blood transfusion, in addition to those that acquired it through less than savory means.

    Captcha: texaco Champion “You can trust your car to the man with a star…”

    Reply

    TheShadowCat reply on July 28th, 2009 9:10 pm:

    Shortly after Ryan White’s case hit the news (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_White), my dad said that “any one who gets AIDS deserves to die from it.” The silly man said it where I could hear him. I proceeded to ask him if that included Ryan White or other people who got it from blood transfusions or nurses and doctors that accidentally got stuck with a contaminated needle or rape victims. I did this as nicely as a 15 year old girl could…which is to say, dear old Dad’s ears were ringing when I was done. To this day, Dad has never said another derogatory comment about AIDS victims when I’ve been around.

    Reply

  15. Kitty Says:

    Friend of mine is ex-military who beleived in God, right up until he went into some of the nastiest little wars of the 20th century. Now he is seriously atheist. But he doesn’t shove it down peoples throats, as i don’t shove my belief in a higher being down his. We each have our standpoint, and aside from the occasional piss taking, thats it.

    What bugs me is anyone, of any belief, who goes around preaching and threatening others. Now those, ooh I’d happily throttle them all.

    And Grany Weatherwax is right, why should we believe in God any more than we believe in a postman? And to be honest I’m more inclined to the former as I rarely set eyes on a posty.

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:42 pm:

    Its good you respected each others beliefs. I have a friend myself who is Mormon. We have a game where he calls me the worst pagan insult he can think of and I call him the worst religious insults. Its quite fun, especially when onlookers don’t get it and think its a serious fight. He’s never tried to convert me and I’ve never tried to convince him. Not taking our beliefs too seriously and making light of them is a great solution, at least for us.

    Reply

  16. Axiluvia Says:

    I’m agonostic myself, and when I hear “In God we trust” I think “That’s nice, I wish I did.”

    Because, while I hope there’s something out there, and something to look forward to after death besides total oblivion, I’m not sure. I admit, I have no clue, no proof one way or the other.

    It must feel nice to be sure of such things. However, I’m not willing to do it on faith alone. I’ve read many different versions of the bible, the book of Mormon (because they bothered to give me one…), and pretty much any other religious book I’ve managed to get my hands on (It’s actually somewhat hard to find a copy of the Torah/Koran in a public library…)

    That being said, I feel the extremists on both sides should be forced to sit down and talk with each other until they either can’t say anything anymore, or just beat each other to death. Then the people who feel that everyone should just try to get along wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore.

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:44 pm:

    Oh Sweet Mamma Llama yes! I volunteer to help orchestrate this plan.

    Reply

  17. random person Says:

    I’m cool with whatever anyone believes and won’t say shit as long as they don’t get self righteous and all ‘this is the only way’ about it. Then I will tear you a new one with bible passages. Tends to shut people up and piss of the vocal ignorant.
    Except Scientology, you fall for that load of bullshit and I at least get to call you a moron.

    Captcha: Save geneses – the anti-everything-else-including-spell-check rallying cry?

    Reply

    johnny reply on August 1st, 2009 6:39 pm:

    amen to the scientology.
    creative way to make money although Ive read somewhere that the guy worshipped satan but i could be wrong and please dont quote me on it.

    Reply

    Billy reply on August 1st, 2009 9:05 pm:

    To quote Mark Twain, “You go to heaven for the atmosphere, but you go to hell for the company.”

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on August 3rd, 2009 7:43 am:

    How do people go around believe a religeion created by a Science Fiction author widley known to have said the best way to make money is to create a religion? I’ve found when you point this out to them they tend to sputter and walk away fluster and angry.

    Reply

    Minty reply on August 3rd, 2009 1:33 pm:

    There was a religion back in the 19060s called “The Church of All-Worlds,” and embraced the teachings of Robert Heinlein as espoused in Stranger in a Strange Land. It disappeared for awhile, and now it seems to be back.

    I’ve never been quite sure whether TCOAW members simply took Heinlein’s idea and ran with it, or truly believed he was a prophet. Either way, I still think it’s silly.

    Reply

    Stonewolf reply on August 3rd, 2009 5:25 pm:

    My only question is was this actually a religion or a philosophy? ‘Cause if they actually turned it into a religion, yeah, that’s goofy.

    Minty reply on August 4th, 2009 9:23 am:

    It was a real church, and for the longest time, the most well-organized one. It’s gotten a reboot since then.

    StoneWolf reply on August 5th, 2009 9:51 am:

    Thanks for the link. I admit I only skimmed the “About” section, but I had to retain the laughter. It seems every time somebody gets a nice idea about trying to not be ravening dicks to eachother, somebody else goes and makes it a relgion. Why can it never stay as a nice simple philosophy, why must it be mystified?

    Jesus basically says “Be nice to eachother and love one another” right? And what do people do? They kill each other because their neighbors aren’t nice in the same way they are.

    So now there’s a goofy church with fancy titles and formal greetings required that basically violates the libertarian principals held by the author of the very story from which this religion is derived. Sweet mamma llama.

    The best part, every time I read CAW I can’t help but think of the seven ravens that live in my woods and argue with my brother. Seriously, when he’s home they would wake him up in the morning with cawing and he would go outside in his underwear and yell back.

  18. Ihmhi Says:

    Holy shit on a stick.

    I think this article of mine has gotten more comments than all of my Voodoo Farmings combined. Religious topics are a friggin’ goldmine!

    Check out this week, when I review a classic SNES game called Zombies Ate My Savior.

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 3:45 pm:

    Duh. Regardless of what you do or don’t believe, religion is basically a universal hot button. Nobody ever started a war over Zombies. Yet.

    Reply

    TeratoMarty reply on July 28th, 2009 8:31 pm:

    Bet you a dollar that when the zed-heads do show, some idjit declares they’re holy and we can’t lay a finger on ‘em. No idea which loonies from what religion, just that it will be one of ‘em.

    Captcha: Creole Scotch. Sounds like a good time, but I bet it sends ya blind.

    Reply

    SFC TC reply on July 30th, 2009 6:57 am:

    Dead rising from their graves to inherent the Earth.

    Duh,

    It will be the born-again evangelicals saying the manner he chose to do it in this manner as a punishment for our wickedness and inequities of the flesh.

    LoC978 reply on July 31st, 2009 1:02 pm:

    oh great. even more targets when it all goes down. glad I’ve got my group all picked out and armed already.

    StoneWolf reply on August 3rd, 2009 7:41 am:

    Let the bodies hit the floor. Again.

    Minty reply on August 3rd, 2009 1:35 pm:

    The horrible thing about that? Having to listen to the Evangelicals.

    The great thing about that? The Evangelicals will be so busy preaching, the zombies will get them. And then we (finally!) get to shoot them.

  19. SPC Hyle Says:

    Personal experience regarding being an atheist in the military:

    I was in a combat arms MOS (13B), and was in a unit of stone-cold fighting men (82nd Airborne, legs can suck a dick). I was in a section where 4 out of 6 men were atheists. My chief became an atheist because of Afghanistan. During my time on Bragg, I had a couple of run-ins with evangelists, but never from a combat arms unit. Didn’t see too many of them trying to convert others or spew the whole “you’re going to hell” line. Not to me, not to the other atheists, and not to the Wiccans and other pagans in my battery. That’s because my commanders, who were all fairly religious men as far as I could tell, would not have tolerated anything that brought conflict and disrupted cohesion. And the bullshit that I’ve heard other atheists being put through is ruinous to cohesion. Absolutely ruinous.

    That is what being professional is about. And the evangelicals in the greater Army don’t seem to get it.

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  20. zebrin Says:

    Well, your commanders actually knew what they were doing.
    I like that.

    During the whole unit dinner things, where they start with the prayer and stuff, I keep my head up and look at the chaplain giving the sermon. I have only been told to put my head down once, and I told her “No Sargent” We had about an hour long discussion during the dinner about it, ended up pretty well actually.

    A basic understanding of military law is useful.

    Captcha: sanchez breading – I don’t think this really needs anything to make it funny.

    Reply

  21. Billy Says:

    Everybody remember that saying “The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.”? That gives me perspective here. Let me explain before everybody pounces on me like debate dogs. Now, this is Skippyslist, a site most well known for comedy ect., yet, every once in a while we get political/religous/whatever debates going here. It does make me miss the stuff about zombies and real-life superheros. What I am saying is that the debate stuff is the sour, making the random stuff all the more sweet. And my two cents in for the subject: despite what they have here, I have never felt procecuted when I was athiest going on to agnostic, going on to neo-fatalism, and now going on to neo-fatalism/wierd theory that if true, would prove the existance of some sort of great being… possibly. If Skippy wants, I can explain my new “faith” in some sort of thing sometime. But no matter what I belived in, only once I was looked down upon for what I belived in, and that was when I got a white rope (air force tech school religous guide thingy) for my neo-fatalism and a Jewish airman (ironic, no?) said that my belife was completely made up. Of course, my argument, which I chose not to waste on him, was that, all religouns (I cant spell that word right) were made up at one point or another to explain the unexplainable. Just because my belife was recent, did not detract from the fact that it counted as a religeoun, I felt. Now that I have gotten that out, feel free to pounce on my comment like rabid debate dogs. In the end, you may tear apart my comment, but you may never tear apart my belife!!!

    Reply

    StoneWolf reply on July 28th, 2009 7:13 pm:

    You Sir, understand one of the greatest Truths of religion. They are all made up. By Man. May your God/Goddess/Spaghetti Monster bless you for your wisdom.

    Captcha: One Spoiler-Jesus dies.

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    Billy reply on July 29th, 2009 10:31 am:

    I actually “worship” the two opposing forces who’s balance is the reason for all existance. I don’t have names for them or anything, but after thinking about it, it makes a lot of things make sense.

    Reply

  22. TheShadowCat Says:

    Will I get chased off of Skippy’s List if I say you’re preaching to the choir? ;-P

    At any rate, a number of years ago my dad (yea, him again) said that “This is a Christian country and people should just get used to it.” Silly man. I sweetly pointed out that “The freedom of religion means all religions, including the ones you don’t agree with.” I’ve never seen a 60+ year old man sulk before then.

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 9:11 am:

    Isn’t it fun to ding your father? I have to be careful with my approach, because he’s got something of a temper, but I’ve gotten quite good at it. :D

    Reply

    TheShadowCat reply on July 29th, 2009 9:18 am:

    Sometimes I wonder how the hell the two of us are related. He’s so narrow minded and since he and Mom rediscovered the church, he’s only gotten worse. Oh well, at least I don’t have to live with him any more.

    Reply

    Minty reply on July 29th, 2009 11:00 am:

    Right after I graduated college, my father became a Born Again Republican. Scary.

    Now, having said that, my greatest triumph thus far was getting him to admit that GW Bush was “not the best president we’ve ever had.” It’s a small victory, but one nonetheless.

    Ziggy reply on August 4th, 2009 3:37 am:

    Sounds like my in-laws. I can’t fathom how they were still Bush fans, even at the end.

    I always told them Bush says a prayer of thanks for Buchanan every morning, because unless he somehow actually caused the country to fragment into separate nations as well, he’d only be our SECOND worst President, ever.

    It’s funny how religous and political open-mindedness seem to go together.

    My wife’s family are much more rigid in their thoughts than my wife and I. And we live in a ‘small town’ of only a third of a million people. They live in an actually small town of five thousand.

    I tell people that my wife came from a town so little that people there still approve of Bush.

    It usually gets a chuckle.

  23. Matt Says:

    So, I’m certainly not the religious type, but I did end up speaking with a Chaplain last summer about some head stuff i was dealing with. He asked me if I wanted to say a prayer after we’d gotten done discussing things. I told him I wasn’t really religious and explained why, and he actually agree with my line of thinking. I think that that particular Chaplain definitely understands how to act and help all troops under his ‘watch’ and not just hose who believe in one type of god or religion. The whole experience made me respect the man quite a bit. My insight for the month…

    Reply

    Kitty reply on July 29th, 2009 10:48 am:

    Matt, what you have there is a good honest military padre. Their goal is to care for the troops by being there and listening to them and bringing comfort, in whatever form they can. Whether that be by being the one ear that can take time to listen, or a simple prayer, or the drumhead service. The Padre takes care of his flock, whether they have the shepherds mark on their fleece or not. You are still one of his boys/girls, and that is all that matters to them.

    Havign said that, all military padres tend to form the same sarcasm levels as the squaddies anyway, so they understand.

    I forgot to say my personal belief: I beleive in ‘God’ (good a title as any) but I don’t really beleive in religion. Whats the old saying: the copse is my chapel, the wood my church and the forest my cathedral? something like that anyway. But have to admit I am starting to take an interest in some aspects of paganism/wicca. I seriously like this Wishing Tree thing going on.

    Reply

  24. sandy Says:

    hmmm, my understanding is that way back when Christianity started, to become a Christian you first had to convert to Judaism, then you could become Christian which was considered a sect.

    Reply

  25. LoC978 Says:

    When I was stationed in Germany, for a time I was in a battalion whose chaplain wore the crescent moon of islam on his beret. In my few in-depth conversations with him, I became convinced that his belief system closely mirrored my own, which is odd because the closest definition I can find to my own system is a quote from a movie: “I resist all beliefs.”

    As for atheists and foxholes… I’ve known many more soldiers who came back from a deployment depressed and with their former “faith” broken by the apparent meaninglessness of what they endured than vice-versa.
    Then again, I never conformed enough to make E-5, so my experience tended to be as a senior among the junior enlisted.

    Reply

  26. MarkHB Says:

    Ihmhi,

    You rock, and you’re right. We don’t want special treatment – we just want to be left alone, unharassed in our unbelief. Sing it.

    Reply

  27. Maj Mac Says:

    During my first combat tour we had a battalion chaplain who was one of those fire and brimstone preachers. Before we moved across the berm into Iraq, he gathered us together for a prayer. I had never heard him before. He started out slow and calm and built up into a red faced Halleluiah type prayer. He carried a staff everywhere he went. When we finally halted our advance, he brought us together for a thank you prayer. It was a cloudy day. As he built up into his fiery orratory, he lifted his staff into the air and a lone ray of sunshine pierced the clouds and shone on him. It was awesome.

    Later as things calmed down and he held regular services, I would go just to listen to his sermon. It was art.

    I consider myself a Christian, but I have some grave misgivings with the church I grew up in. I also have some views that many (not Skippites) would consider blaspheme. There has to be something much bigger than ourselves. Maybe it is our collective selves but there has to be something bigger.

    Reply

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