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← Air Force Base denies atheist display, allows Menorah and Nativity Scene

Air Force Base denies atheist display, allows Menorah and Nativity Scene - Comments

obijuanmartinez's Avatar Comment 1 by obijuanmartinez

Hello, All:

Long-time reader, 1st-time poster to this forum: Yes, I am an atheist

Would appreciate equal parts patience & candor (sans snark, ideally)

My question is - Do we really want / need a ticket in line to the freak-show? This atheist 'display' - is it really what we're striving for? (An 'equal' place in a line of equally ridiculous displays...)

Yes it's one thing to have an equal philosophical vantage-point as the Nativity / Hanukkah displays, but is a military base (typically a bastion of less-than-liberal sentiment) the venue to pick this fight?

There is furthering your cause, and there is shooting it in the foot - This seems a great way to do the latter. Why give Bill O' Reilly & his ilk (already fighting their manufactured "War Against Christmas") even more ammo? Seems you have to more selectively pick your fights, and not be surprised when the outcome fails to meet your expectations.

Thanks all!

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 17:15:38 UTC | #899888

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 2 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 1 by obijuanmartinez

I do agree that we should not climb down to the level of the delusional. On the other hand, the AF does seem to be a little discriminatory here. The Air Force is known as overtly Christian--they have had the same type of problem at the Academy. So, while I don't think it's particularly wise to put up an atheist display with the others, I do defend this man's right to do so.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 17:22:27 UTC | #899890

chris 116's Avatar Comment 3 by chris 116

Comment 1 by Obijuanmatinez

My question is – do we really want a ticket to the freak show?

I'd much prefer to hear that some Druids, Wiccans or Witches were fighting for a spot. They could show up the ridiculousness of religion better than any atheist display.

Maybe American Atheists could offer some Druids some covert support instead.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 18:21:02 UTC | #899922

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 4 by The Truth, the light

Comment 1 by obijuanmartinez :

My question is - Do we really want / need a ticket in line to the freak-show? This atheist 'display' - is it really what we're striving for? (An 'equal' place in a line of equally ridiculous displays...)

You've missed the point. It really doesn't have anything to do with getting an atheist display in place (that's a secondary factor). It's more about not giving religion a free pass and letting other military members be aware that there are indeed atheists in the military and that is a normal thing.

As with most of the atheist campaigns, it's mostly about breaking down the stereotypes and fear of atheism.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 18:36:15 UTC | #899929

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 5 by drumdaddy

I'd walk my dog by there at least three or four times daily.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 18:41:21 UTC | #899930

epeeist's Avatar Comment 6 by epeeist

Comment 5 by drumdaddy :

I'd walk my dog by there at least three or four times daily.

And allow it, nay encourage it, to cock its leg at the appropriate location.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:02:00 UTC | #899937

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 7 by ZenDruid

Of the five displays that are visible, three are religiously neutral, and one is an obvious nod to inclusion. That's not too bad.

The article neglected to mention SSgt Rawlings' squadron, and what their particular 'Xmas card' portrayed.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:10:17 UTC | #899943

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 8 by Tyler Durden

These decorations were recently expanded to include a Jewish display, clearly an effort to claim ‘all sides would be represented’.

No bowl of pasta in respect of the FSM?! For shame.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:11:03 UTC | #899944

keithapm's Avatar Comment 9 by keithapm

Comment 1 by obijuanmartinez :

Hey there :) Actually, it's been a while since I posted here so hello to everyone.

My question is - Do we really want / need a ticket in line to the freak-show? This atheist 'display' - is it really what we're striving for? (An 'equal' place in a line of equally ridiculous displays...)

I don't think it was as much about having an atheist display as it was about highlighting the hypocrisy of those involved in the original displays and their claim to be inclusive. Their refusal to admit of the atheist display is a clear sign to everyone (including themselves) of the double standards involved.

Keith

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 21:17:24 UTC | #900006

adey5's Avatar Comment 10 by adey5

I'm not that bothered by this. Sgt Rawlings has, I think, made his point, but to get lawyers involved and court cases is a waste of everyone's time and money.

He should make his point (which he has), and I am glad that he did, then shrug his shoulders and move on. Show them we are BIGGER than petty squabbles over this when there are REAL issues that need to be addressed over religion.

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 01:47:03 UTC | #900125

mjs31's Avatar Comment 11 by mjs31

Comment 3 by chris 116

I agree, I mean Christmas has stolen so much from paganism as it is. Shouldn't the pagans get some representation this time of year too?

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 02:46:47 UTC | #900147

obijuanmartinez's Avatar Comment 12 by obijuanmartinez

You've missed the point. It really doesn't have anything to do with getting an atheist display in place (that's a secondary factor). It's more about not giving religion a free pass and letting other military members be aware that there are indeed atheists in the military and that is a normal thing.

As with most of the atheist campaigns, it's mostly about breaking down the stereotypes and fear of atheism.

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 04:00:06 UTC | #900159

obijuanmartinez's Avatar Comment 13 by obijuanmartinez

Oops!

You've missed the point. It really doesn't have anything to do with getting an atheist display in place (that's a secondary factor). It's more about not giving religion a free pass and letting other military members be aware that there are indeed atheists in the military and that is a normal thing.

As with most of the atheist campaigns, it's mostly about breaking down the stereotypes and fear of atheism.

I don't feel I've missed the point. I think atheist folks here in the US need to grasp the larger, current reality - namely, that we are (for the time being) a minority opinion: This is simply not an issue that will be solved in any of our lifetimes; there's not going to be some scientific discovery or thought-bomb that will effectively and permanently deal with the intellectual crutch that is religious faith.

Yes, you want to speak out for what you feel is right, BUT, do so bearing in mind the reality that the military is a conservative microcosm in a country whose population largely identifies itself as 'believers'. It's not really a bastion of creative free-thought & individualism, in fact, it is quite oppositely built on a collective mindset, a rigid code of rules, and assumed (required) obedience to authority.

Bearing in mind the recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", there may be a day coming (hopefully soon) when we godless heathens can step into the ranks and be as comfortable in our skins as our gay comrades in-arms now (ostensibly) can; but consider the recent anti-gay banter in the GOP debates about re-instituting DADT, with one pandering Repug candidate clamoring for a higher closed-mindedness quotient than his competition. It takes time and patience. I would again submit: You need to pick your battles, and quite frankly, this isn't one worth pushing that hard.

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 04:30:49 UTC | #900167

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 14 by Steven Mading

Comment 1 by obijuanmartinez :

Hello, All:

Long-time reader, 1st-time poster to this forum: Yes, I am an atheist

Would appreciate equal parts patience & candor (sans snark, ideally)

My question is - Do we really want / need a ticket in line to the freak-show? This atheist 'display' - is it really what we're striving for? (An 'equal' place in a line of equally ridiculous displays...)

Yes it's one thing to have an equal philosophical vantage-point as the Nativity / Hanukkah displays, but is a military base (typically a bastion of less-than-liberal sentiment) the venue to pick this fight?

There is furthering your cause, and there is shooting it in the foot - This seems a great way to do the latter. Why give Bill O' Reilly & his ilk (already fighting their manufactured "War Against Christmas") even more ammo? Seems you have to more selectively pick your fights, and not be surprised when the outcome fails to meet your expectations.

The goal wasn't really to get an atheist display up. The goal was to prove that the people in charge were lying when they said they'd allow it. And the only way to prove that is to try it. This matters because pretending they're not giving special priviledge to religion is a core pillar of their argument that what they're doing is legal. When they keep claiming they're not giving religion special priviledges the only way to prove they're lying about that is to try something like this and call their bluff on it.

There is a big difference between a private person being religious and the government being religious. If you don't think things like this matter then I direct you to pay attention to how often people make the argument "it's one nation, under god, silly- just like the founding fathers intended", completely ignoring the fact that this phrase was added in the 1950s. And the same is true of "In god we trust" on the money, and pastors giving the oath at Presidential inaugurations pretending that "So help me God" is officially part of the Oath of Office when it's actually just an optional thing Washington added on his own, These seem minor but they matter because they are what fundies USE as ammunition in their argument that we are meant to be a theocracy.

I do think there can be varying degrees of importance, however. A judge putting up the 10 commandments in his office and claiming this is where HE PERSONALLY gets his views on jurisprudence from - not a big deal. That same judge putting them up in the courtroom under a sign proclaiming that these 10 commandments are where the USA gets its laws from, okay that's a big deal. A really big deal.

Mon, 19 Dec 2011 21:02:05 UTC | #901099