I went onto AIT (Advanced Infantry Training) at Ft. Polk, Louisiana; eventually ended up in Nam in April ‘68, as expected; and was assigned as a replacement to the 82nd Airborne as a rifleman “11Bravo”, where I was an “atheist in a foxhole”.

Three things I learned from that early experience:

1) The military expects everyone to be Christian; to be other is to be less.

2) Standing up to the injustice of religious coercion makes you feel more like an American.

3) Christians are hypocrites to whom protecting Freedom and Rights means their Freedom and their Rights, not everyone’s.


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You are 10 for 10 on target here. I haven't been in the military long and that which you wrote has become abundantly clear to me. Even before I joined I realized the sad truth that this military is predominantly christian or some form of it and that they expect that of you. I have heard many say that there are no atheists in fox hole, well I have proved them wrong.
I'll second that "on target" remark.
I can say, and maybe it was because with my MOS there were quite a few freethinkers, that I didn't feel any problems towards the end of my service. I remember I had some issues in basic, but after many assignments around the world the chaplain always left the CEWI company alone.

In Iraq, of course there were lots of prayers before missions, but there was always the preliminary statement "If anyone does not wish to take part in the prayer, Fall Out!" and we Atheists would go have a smoke and get ready to roll out in our own way. As for the blessing of the trucks, after a discussion about that, if all Joes in the truck didn't want it, the Chaplain would leave us be. Fortunately there was a fair amount of Atheists and you never felt outnumbered.

The important part was to stand by our convictions and discuss everything with the CO in a calm logical manner.
I'm glad to say that I haven't had to much of a problem in the AF. I've butted heads a few times with individuals, but no one of any authority has said anything negative to me about being atheist. I guess, at least in my career field, if you do your job, people don't care what you believe. My only complaint would have to be the prayers at Commander's Calls. Although, the good part about it is that when everyone else's heads are down praying, you get to look around for others that are looking around as well. I always see a few faces that aren't praying and it makes me feel good that I'm not alone.
I honestly didn't know that we didn't have to lower our heads when they call for this. It was always an officer that made to order to lower heads in prayer and they made it clear in boot camp that we will all comply. Next time it's called I'm keeping mine up.
Bowing your head is a sign of submission and your leaders can't make you submit to something that is against your "personal beliefs/(un)beliefs". An officer can not legally order you to submit against your will. It would like him/her to ordering you to be "Baptized" or "Confirm" against your will. If he tries then that is an Military Equal Opportunity "action" (Air Force term, substitute your own branch) complaint waiting to happen. It is not offensive to believers (of any religion; look at Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. observances around Kafir/Infidel/Unbelievers), unless they try to force it, that you don't observe this act by not bowing as long as you don't interrupt their freedoms. You may get singled out, or not, but don't let someone’s myth control you.

The quickest way to get a proselytizing person off of you is to get them educated in a "Q" and "A" session on the history of the religion in question by using the "5W+H" approach: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Most believers are at odds with their own history and will try to deny or explain other possible routes that they have arrived to their conclusion. However the best position to be in is the one that is knowledgeable about the thing in question. I myself don't like to waste a whole lot of time on these things but they are necessary. Its like practicing with your Nuclear Biological Chemical gear: you hope to never have to use it unless you are in a situation that requires it.

I’m willing to be that there are a lot more people like us “Atheist in a Foxhole” types that haven’t come out yet. I've met a good many who had the same precepts that I construe about these subjects. Maybe one day, we will no longer be the silent majority…
Dude, what part of the AF are you in? Maybe it's because I am in the Southeast that it seems totally rampant, or maybe all the Zeros (Os, whatever the hell you want to call us) are theitards. Heck, the seeds of that latest AF Academy scandal are still running rampant amongst the junior officers.
United States Air Force Space Command...
I was talking to Stephan personally. But how is it for you Forrest? Are you a worker or a zero?
How are you in the "Alligator State"? Thank you for the clarification. I'm a worker that seems to be rather lucky with the type of people that I come in contact with about my Atheism. At first people reel at the stereotyped concept but as they get to know me they accept it/me for who I am and I hope that I am changing the image of our community.

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