Newsweek has a short article on military atheists and the discrimination they face.
“There are no atheists in foxholes,” the old saw goes. The line, attributed to a WWII chaplain, has since been uttered countless times by grunts, chaplains and news anchors. But an increasingly vocal group of activists and soldiers–atheist soldiers–disagrees. “It’s a denial of our contributions,” says Master Sgt. Kathleen Johnson, who founded the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and who will be deployed to Iraq this fall. “A lot of people manage to serve without having to call on a higher power.”
It has always seemed to me that that old myth is actually an admission: an admission that religion is driven by fear. Just crank up the terror on people, it’s saying, and we can get ’em to believe anything. There might be some truth to that, but if anything, it’s an adage that is damning to religion, saying that faith is an exploitation of human weakness.