December 4, 2007

Atheists in the Military

U.S. Marine sits in a foxhole and points a mac...
U.S. Marine sits in a foxhole and points a machine gun towards Beirut, Lebanon, in the distance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Atheists living in the U.S. are well aware of the hostile attitudes with which many of our Christian neighbors regard us. Those of us living in the more conservative regions may be reminded of this on a near daily basis. But our plight pales in comparison to the brave men and women serving in our armed forces. They face a system which has long been attractive to civilian Christian extremists looking to expand their influence and undermine the separation of church and state. Moreover, according to what the public regularly hears from the mainstream news media, they belong to a group which does not actually exist: foxhole atheists.

The intent of this post is not to rail against anti-atheist discrimination, the success with which Christian extremists have infiltrated the American military, or even to point out that the regular denial of foxhole atheists is a slap in the face to the brave soldiers and marines who are trying to do their part for America.

I simply want to remind everyone of the simple fact that atheists serve in the U.S. military and that they often need our support. There are many ways we can support them, and the one I often suggest involves supporting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. This organization works to advance the cause of church-state separation in the military.

Regardless of your personal feelings about America's constant state of war, I think you'll agree that foxhole atheists are in an unenviable position. They often find themselves surrounded by evangelical fundamentalist Christians seeking to push their delusional worldview on others without regard to the fact that this violates our secular Constitution.

Finally, I'd like to extend my thanks to Blair Scott, the Alabama State Director of American Atheists for his tireless efforts to promote this important cause.