I am tired of being in a meeting or brief which includes a prayer.  I do not lower my head and I stand there frustrated as they beg the support and protection of God and end in Jeebus' name.  This is all too often a feature of any command I report to, and I am getting sick of it. 

Anyone else out there in the same boat?

How do you handle it?

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This used to happen to me all the time in the army; I too ignored all of them, until it got to the point where it became so obvious that I was ignoring them, that something had to be said (from them); I asked them wasn't it true that our forefathers fought and died to protect our constitutional rights, or not? Then I respectfully pointed out that the whole "freedom of religion" thing in the 1st amendment ALSO meant the freedom to have no religion at all? That would have been a bitch for them to explain if they had tried any kind of judicial punishment (I never would have signed any Article 15) on this issue, and my combat skills were too highly trained for them to sit me out on a mission. (I just had to make damned sure I watched my step the rest of the time), but the 193rd Infantry Brigade was so awash in idiots and ass-kissers that not allowing them to trip me up was a breeze
Thanks, its good to not be alone. Its not easy when so many people hold so tightly to something so silly and wonder why you dont act the same foolish way.
Not only do I have the same experience (one of the many reasons why I got off of Active Duty and went into the Guard), but I have one more that goes beyond absurd.

We recently got a new commander from Florida at my unit in NY. He wanted to sit and meet all the guardsmen and AGR's (Active Guardsmen, essentially). So, I had a one-on-one with him, which was actually my second time meeting with him (he had forgotten that we had met and chatted before.) It started out well, as he found that I am a student of Anthropology and he was both a medic and a linguist, but it quickly went downhill.

I mentioned, in passing, mind you, that I worked for Planned Parenthood as a Public Sexual Health Educator for a while before enlisting. He then proceeded, for the next 1.5 hours, to engage in a one-sided diatribe of the wrongs of abortion and of how terrible of PP is as an organization, claiming that people need to rely on their faith to guide them through the rough times when they get themselves in those rough situations.

Long story short, out of respect for my chain of command, I listened intently, offered corrections to certain bold accusations he made, such as referring to Pro-Choicers as Pro-Abortion (I pointed out that the Church was Pro-Abortion for some of its history, especially in relation to Eugenics and controlling blacks, immigrants, and the mentally disabled), and pointed out that I felt some of his assertions weren't based on factual, rational thinking but perhaps influenced by emotions or hearsay. However, I told him that I would consider his viewpoint as I hoped he would consider mine (though I didn't get to say much.)

I guess my point is, to a certain extent, because of the chain of command in the military, we have to deal with some of their bullshit. Yes, it is inappropriate. Yes, it is insulting. But, until the MRFF or some other organization makes some serious waves in the DoD, we'll have to suck it up somewhat.

I was completely taken off guard by his lack of professionalism and insistence on proselytizing to me. I was appalled by his continuous use of "pro-abortion" and "baby-killers" - he even made a point of attacking scientists in general and then specifically regarding stem-cell research, throwing in a personal story of a quadriplegic friend who didn't want to be a "baby-killer" and denied stem-cell treatment.

I applaud you for not bowing your head. I applaud you for your looks of frustration. I do the same thing (although some may describe my look as more of a look of insolence, disgust or even belligerence). I encourage you to join the MRFF and continue to "peacefully resist." You could also consider speaking to your First Sergeant or similar individual about your feelings - not sure what it would do, though.

Another thing I did: I made sure my dog tags say "Atheist" on them.
and sorry for the novel!
Thank you. I used to be a believer, so I have sympathy for their sense of self-entitlement and the way all these irrational beliefs seem so obvious. It is a horridly obtuse point of view that leads to such shallow and unrepentant thinking in any meaningful course of thought that it cripples them into believing that Jesus really wants you to follow whatever BS they are promoting. Its sad to see how many military personnel tie their faith with the military and its customs to such a degree you dont know where one religion ends and the other begins.
There was NO way to put Atheist on one's dog tags when I was in, the best I got was "No Religious Preference", but it seemed to the men in charge at the time that it was kinda cool, as long as one was christian all/any denominations were ok...

Brent,  I don't know which branch you served in, but I served in the US Navy from 1954 thru 1974 and my dog tags always read Atheist.   I had my first run in with an old navy chief that told me that I couldn't be an Atheist and I asked him if he believed in his Oath.  And from there it went to the part of defending it against ALL enemies foreign and domestic.  And to the part about freedom from or of religion.  It took all of 5 minutes and they ran my tags through the machine and handed them to me and told me that I would never be issued another pair.  Needless to say, I went on liberty and to the Seafarer (across from the USO on Broadway) in San Diego and had 3 new sets made just to insure that the originals would not disappear.  I still have a set and one of my originals.  The original had my blood type wrong.  Found that out on being admitted to the Naval Hospital after a bad ding on my first tin can...  The corpsman saw that I was an AB Negative and he became afraid to hook me up until they did a type for sure turned out to be A Positive...   They gave me a new set of tags with Atheist on them without any question or static....


I was an Electronics Tech and one of the ones on the fast track for advancement.  No one questioned my religion only my abilities and those were exemplary...  Only had a problem one time with an E-5 who thought that his religion trumped my non belief, I won and he ended up in the brig for assult, battery, and harassment.  Lost his crow and ended up being discharged as a troublemaker.    That was back when the Navy was looking out for those who could do their jobs and shit canning those who were lazy or not cutting it.    We never had prayers before or after anything.  Church call was held on the fantail or the messdecks and those who felt they needed it could attend or not...  I never did nor did I ever visit or need a chaplain.. 


I have no problem with anyone that wants to believe in what ever, as long as they do not try to push those superstitions on me.  Religion should personal and private and shouldn't be a part of the military bearing.


Just this old Chief's 2 cents

its hard to imagine there was a time when character and ability counted... now its all politics
for the past decade and a half. Especially in this current unit. For example: There was an invocation at the boxing smoker this past Saturday where I took a fair amount of head trauma. Why the hell do you need an invocation at a boxing smoker? I have more stories about this nonsense, trust me. If you want some serious nutbaggery, check out the Christian Corner on AKO and pay particular attention tot he posts by Leland Lesher, Roger Hepworth, Pedro Garcia and some other asshole civilian whose name escapes me at the moment. Worse is Herschel the "atheist" asking questions. Read a few of his questions and ask yourself: Why doesn't he hit himself with a brick?

As I was saying, this current unit of mine has invocations for everything. CAB ceremony, mass promotion, unit run, etc. Worse was when they let some damn fool ass staff sergeant say the invocatioon and benediction at a "pre-WLC" graduation and he ended both with "in jesus' name we pray" and was so fucking stupid, it didn't dawn on him why that was inappropriate. The one golden nugget is that our chaplain's assistant is more or less a heathen. He told me some seriously nutty stories about the National Guard brigade we replaced.

To be frank about how I am known as far as faith goes: the irritable E-7 atheist who loves to quote scripture to the faithful when they are fucking it up. I call it "proselytism judo". Amazing how offended the fundies get when you hold up a mirror. I would be more concilliatory to their views if it wasn't for this damn fool PTSD making me very impatient when they insist of witnessing.

Yes this is common and the ones to really watch out for are senior leaders who came up in the late 80s and early 90s because that is when the Family had its hardest push to bring in evangelicals and nurture their careers.
I have found that the most morally corrupt individuals are usually the ones to pull out some sort of discrimination on the basis of non-religion. The irony is they usually have some issue with the immoral heathens, while their moral compass points permenantly south.
I have similar situations where I tend to point out the mistakes people make in misquoting the bible... or the bibble, as I call it. I don't limit my corrective actions to the military, though!

Did you see the results of the latest Pew Forum on Religion $ Public Life survey? They found, not surprisingly, that Atheists and Agnostics have the most knowledge on religion.

You can read it here: http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowl...
Thats no surprise... knowledge leads people away from theism. Its a very special sort of person who learns a great deal but compartmentalizes themselves to such a degree that they continue to believe the unbelievable.




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