Foxhole Atheists get Intra Military Coverage

Most Americans will gladly say “we support our troops,” free drinks in airport bars are common, as is the occasional random “thank you for your service.” The American military is unique compared to other, perhaps more laudable, government jobs such as teaching, being that the massive majority respects the military institutions. American Soldiers are considered to be representatives of American society where the common core moral values of the nation are put to the test under the most adverse and cruel conditions imaginable. And you bet your ass we are, we are the mirror that America looks in, a constant reflection of change.

                Social groups have learned from the African-American military story, post WWII, that even the most strident bigot may change his tune when his life is on the line. The ties of a common enemy, a common language, and a common society; not to mention just having another trigger puller in a pinch are strong motivators for cooperation.  Soldiers learn to be friends, regardless of creed, orientation, or color and once those Soldiers ETS from the military; they take those life lessons back home. It was hard for my grandfather who served in the Pacific to return to the small Texas town where he witnessed lynchings as a kid. He was disgusted when faced with the old racism of Hicksville, USA and soon moved to the city.

                Today, the struggle for acceptance is fought by atheists and homosexuals who, by striving for lasting recognition in the military, sow the seeds of a concrete place in the accepted American zeitgeist. So, as I got mortared during breakfast, I was pleasantly surprised to see not one but, two articles on Atheism in my Stars and Stripes. The 4 page spread was enough to send my favorite Mormon FUN-damentalist into a 5 minute rant about how the godless are evil and that how we are the servants of President Obama and his socialist plans. Which was stupid on so many levels, I was unable to respond.

Go Team Godless.


  1. Patricia, OM says

    My husband was an atheist during Viet Nam, my dad was an atheist during Korea.

    I’m an atheist volunteer at the local VSO trying to help with widows, and womens issues. You might be suprised how many WW II atheists I meet. Shocked the hell out of me.

  2. Non-Biblical Paul says

    Yeah. You know, the thought never crossed my mind, to try to get atheist chaplains, when I served (I was a Marine in the Clinton years). But, then again, I never visited the chaplain’s office other than to check in, and I always thought it was BS that if you were religious, you could get out of anything you wanted, just by making an appointment with the chaplain. No questions asked, either, didn’t have to tell anyone what it was about. And I, being a taxpayer, paid for everyone else to have that advantage over me. What an absolute crock.

    I’m pulling for you guys to get those humanist chaplains. Not just so you’re treated equally, but also because there are times when you might want to talk to a neutral party off-the-record. Getting those chaplains is also going to be huge for all American atheists.

  3. badjim says

    I have to wonder if there aren’t any Unitarian-Universalist chaplains. They might not necessarily be atheists themselves, but atheists are a rather substantial part of their flock, so they ought to know how to minister to them. Moreover, since social justice is a big part of their “faith”, as it were, they ought to be supportive of anyone who’s getting a raw deal.

    They may be a second-best alternative, but better than nothing.

  4. psychodiva says

    Why should atheists have to settle for just another religious group like Universal Unitarians? That is after all all they are- it would then again be a case of atheists having to give up their own moral codes and beliefs in order to get what is freely given to anyone in the military who professes a religious belief.

    I’m pretty sure scientologists, satanists and other such crap gets more recognition merely because they are considered religions- so no- don’t ever settle.

  5. tac says

    Why should atheists have to settle for just another religious group like Universal Unitarians?

    Especially when you could ask for a FSM chaplain, and have good pasta once a week as part of “religious observations”


  6. says

    A surprising amount of military atheists put their religion as “Jedi” since the default dog tag is “NRP” or no religious preference but on an Episode of Baghdad ER there was a young Soldier who had massive internal bleeding and was a NRP, his parents later confirmed he was an atheist, yet the Chaplin still made a big deal about praying over the dying man on camera. Which pissed a lot of people off so with “Jedi” dogtag only a Jedi Chaplin can pray over you if you are unable to give consent, fuck having someone do a rain dance over my dying ass, move out of the way and call a doctor to save me.

    @ Security Ops, Yes I know OPSEC and all, thats why I don’t post operational stuff. Loose Tweets sink Fleets. Your spooky ass profiles are nice and all but drop me something on SIPR if I actually break army policy…assholess.

    • F says

      I was wondering about those… assholes. They apparently can’t build a website that doesn’t kill browser performance, either. Among other things.

      Thanks for permission to “WTF?”.

      • says

        Yeesh, you should watch out for that site and the malware it tried to upload. I assume its a security exploitation phishing type thing and am deleting that stuff. Thanks for the props by the way. This blog, skype with my girl, and writing a book are THE ONLY things to do here besides relentless masterbation and the gym.

  7. F says

    I’m impressed that Stars and Stripes ran these articles, which were pretty good (from my limited perspective, anyway). Some of the comments from baffled offices show just what their assumptions are in regards to things like an atheist chaplaincy. Whose fault is it that the motto is “For God and Country”, and how would that really affect SOP for an atheist chaplain? Whose fault is it that the position title is “chaplain”? It’s fine that religious sorts fulfill the duties of chaplain for the religious, but these really are a subset of `assisting soldiers with morale, well-being, etc. Non-religious folks want non-religious assistance, regardless of the fact that they can talk with a chaplain who can supposedly keep his or her counseling secular (or even understand how to provide truly secular counseling).

    By the way, Assassin Actual, I’m so glad I found your blog here. Here’s to your fine work on the internets and in-theater.

  8. Anthony says

    Way back (20 years, or so) when I was in the Reserve Artillery (Canadian), when I told them that I was an atheist, The recruiter’s next question was “So is that Catholic Atheist, or Protestant Atheist?” We only had 2 choices.

    Kudos to MASH and ATOM and all the work you guys do. I sincerely hope that secular chaplains come about. because what is a chaplain, really, except an ear when you need one.

    By the way, Assassin Actual, I’m so glad I found your blog here. Here’s to your fine work on the internets and in-theater.

    Hear, hear! This is by far my favorite of the FTB’s

  9. badjim says

    It turns out that there are only 15 Unitarian Universalist chaplains in all, so they are not a particularly available alternative. Although UU’s aren’t necessarily pacifist, they tend to be anti-war, and there also seems to be a sense that the armed forces ought not to employ chaplains at all, a sentiment James Madison expressed back at the beginning.

    Worse yet, the military considers Unitarians to be Protestant Christians, so they’re identified with a cross. It’s questionable whether that was appropriate even a hundred years ago, but it certainly isn’t now. The core of Unitarianism is the lack of a shared belief. There is no creed. Anyone can play. In practice, you’re expected to be liberal, and that’s about it.

    Let’s leave them out of it. Sorry I brought it up.

    Atheist is a better label anyway. The old saying “There are no atheists in foxholes” actually implies that all soldiers are cowards. You don’t have to be an atheist to find it offensive.

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