what do you all think of atheists being members of the military? I've met quite a few people that have had problems with it. All comments are welcome, good and bad. Just don't be stupid about it.

Views: 18

Comment by Denise W on February 27, 2011 at 9:53pm
Personally, I believe it's preferable... The military is supposed to be a place of *collective conformity* ~ where personal religious and political beliefs ARE personal, but as a part of the collective, you're under orders to complete a mission, despite what those beliefs might be (hence, once you've signed & sworn, it's too late to be a conscientious objector).
Comment by brett dishler on February 27, 2011 at 10:06pm
I agree. I believe it gives some of the religious soldiers something to fight for and believe in. But as for us atheist ones it helps me complete our mission without having something to complicate it.
Comment by Alex Myren on February 27, 2011 at 10:24pm
Well, I'm in Army ROTC, will graduate and commission in 2-3 years.  I'm an agnostic.  If the topic isn't brought up, it's not a problem.  Why would anyone else have a problem with it?  The people who are bitching about it are people who aren't willing to risk joining.  Those who conflict in the military don't care because of the camaraderie.
Comment by brett dishler on February 27, 2011 at 11:04pm
People have this delusion that the military should be a Christian group of people. My commander foind out I was atheist, and gave me the dirtiest look I have ever received. And hes actually a really great guy. So it seems all around whether your in the military or not, you still get shit for being an atheist.
Comment by Denise W on February 27, 2011 at 11:08pm
Alex, not to put too fine a point on it, but I spent 4 years in Jr Army ROTC -and earned an Academy nomination (that I walked away from -- though not for reasons related to this topic :)). The differences between ROTC and AD/AGR/NG are enormous...especially since in ROTC you're not dealing with chaplains. (And I say this with a slightly acrimonious laugh, because in my early 20s, I almost enlisted - and would have gone in as a chaplain's assistant [!!!]).

The camaraderie of the military is not something generally understood outside of the military, except in other high-risk, life-challenging careers. I bitch about it...but I was not only willing, but ready to join. So careful how you frame your assertion, there. I staunchly and adamantly support the military. What I take issue is the politicians who treat our brothers & sisters who bear the uniform so honorably as numbers...or as part of a repeat of the Crusades.
Comment by Tony Midmore on February 27, 2011 at 11:49pm

I don't think it should even be something to consider.  Same as at your job - everyone come to work, do your damn job and respect others ONLY for the work they do.  Don't press your views on others and expect the same from them.  Keep your frikkin personal stuff personal.

As an aside, the Air Force just started a new annual training on religious tolerance (there never has been one, amazingly).  It's an online course, simple and only about 15 minutes.  It does emphasize that everyone needs to accept that others have their beliefs and that all need to keep them to themselves.  The part I dislike/disagree with is that the military has to give a religious person all the leeway possible to practice the things called for in their religion - i.e. change shifts, meals, clothing, and anything else that is reasonable.  Not absolute, if not possible, but pretty vast.  Acceptance for all.

Comment by brett dishler on February 28, 2011 at 12:12am
Denise, I wholeheartedly agree, and thank you :) people like you make my job completely worthwhile. There shouldn't have to be a class on religious tolerance. You can't force people to be tolerant of others religions. Tony, that is completely true, its unacceptable how we must make acceptions for the religious soldiers to complete their religious rituals. Example, the Mormons required special underwear during basic training because of their views on decency. It's absurd how they can ask for that based on their religious views but when I asked for those due to comfort reasons I was denied and punished for asking stupid questions.
Comment by Denise W on February 28, 2011 at 12:23am
*nod* I cringed when I learned about particular MREs and "stress cards" -- GAH! Like the enemy is gonna bend based upon *your* religious preferences or your *stress level*!! Yikes! *shakes head* Do I understand religious tolerance? Yes, of course...but in a fighting military -- that is NOT the time or place. Every denomination has its preferences, regardless of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism....or the polytheistic religions...or atheists & agnostics (though we don't really care). Bottom line, it's about conformity. Whatever is the mission -- THAT is the mission. If you sign the oath, live up to the oath. Period. How hard is that to understand? For those of us who *do not* bear the uniform...it is on us (as ill-informed as most are...but some of us DO know)--it is on us to hold the government accountable for keeping their promises to be true to those who defend our freedoms. No matter how they define them in battles that y'all have no choice in. *hugs & love*
Comment by brett dishler on February 28, 2011 at 12:34am
Oh the stress card. Yeah that made me laugh. That came in after I was out and I still laugh every time I hear about it.
Comment by Denise W on February 28, 2011 at 12:40am
I was *furious*....and I'm atheist, come from a reborn Christian household. *chuckle* I was bred my old-school military mindset. It just pissed me RIGHT off. Funny this: I'm a feminist of the first order without apology; I'm by and large anti-militant (with the classic meaning, mind - anti initiation of force), and I am highly tolerant of and patient with (respect of rights to) ALL perspectives. That pissed me off QUICK.

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